Hello everyone! This is a friendly reminder that any of these fun places we may visit, we are a guest at. Please treat both businesses and trails with the utmost respect. We here at Hidden San Diego follow the 'Leave no Trace' mantra, meaning whatever you bring with you comes back with you. If you see trash on a trail, please do your part to help remove it. Remember, we are not picking up trash from another person but instead cleaning up for Mother Nature. Happy adventures!

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2811 Jackson St.
San Diego, CA 92110

Phone: (619) 692-4918
32.758272, -117.196134

Hike: There are many different trails to hike    Level: Easy to moderate

Dog-friendly: Yes    Kid-Friendly: Kind of.  This area is known for a lot of homeless so come in a group


About Presidio Park

Presidio Park has a lot of ground to cover around here so bring your hiking shoes! Explore the mission, canyon, hiking trails, ruins, statues and more! This is a very interesting area with a lot of San Diego history. Soak it up!  The prettiest time to come is in the spring when everything is green and in bloom!

Please be mindful of the hiking trails though and do safety in numbers as the homeless population can sometimes get out of control. There are definitely scary accounts that have happened out here.

Kumeyaay History

The Old Town that we know today has a long history dating back far beyond the colonial days. Before the wooden structures we see presently were ever constructed, Old Town was a Kumeyaay Village known as Cosoy (Kosa’aay) since as early as 10,000 B.C. The village consisted of around 40 families.

While you’re in the area, make sure to check out Harper’s Topiary Garden nearby!

In 1769, Spanish explorers landed in San Diego and were welcomed by the Kumeyaay. It is said that the Spaniards came with many gifts for trade, reserving important space for such trade over food and other necessary items. The Kumeyaay provided the weakened men food, medicine and refuge. Only 8 shipmates had survived the journey, most dying of scurvy or malnourishment.

It wasn’t long before the Spaniards had regained their health and began claiming their own territories, “less than a musket shot”, from the village. The Spaniards erected a hospital camp and fortress on Presidio Hill and occupied the water source of the village.

The camp gradually was fortified and became the San Diego Presidio and the first San Diego Mission. It was from this base at Kosa’aay that Spain’s colonization of California and the California Mission Chain were launched.

Explore San Diego's birth place Presidio Park, filled with old monuments and rumored to be haunted!

Cosoy St.

Once the mission and presidio were established, the Spaniards began sending more of their people across seas to begin colonizing the area. The Kumeyaay people were not equipped to handle the diseases the Europeans brought over and slowly their health and numbers began to decline.

Kosa’aay officially became for the west coast what Jamestown and Plymouth were for the east. Beginning right here in San Diego, from that one village site, the colony that is now known as California was born. Also of importance is that on August 15th, 1769 Kosa’aay was the location of the Kumey’aay nation’s first organized resistance to the cultural tyranny of the conquistadors.

Presidio Park Historical Spots

Eventually the fort and mission were abandoned as settlers continued to move further inland. George Marston a San Diego businessman purchased Presidio Hill, and built a private park and Serra mission museum in 1907. Ultimately Marston donated all of the property to the City of San Diego. No original historic buildings still exist.


Given the history of Presidio Park, it should come as no surprise that this is believed to be one of the most haunted areas in San Diego.  Have you had an experience out here?  If so, please leave a comment and share it with us!

Witches Tower

This small building located in a parking lot in Presidio Park is known as the ‘Pattie Memorial’.  It was once used as a Spanish guardhouse and a jail cell to hold an American named Sylvester Pattie.  Pattie died here and is commemorated as the “First American buried in California soil.”

The top of the roof has a mysterious pentagram built into it with candle wax and dark stains in the center giving strong evidence of occult practices.

One of my readers found a dead body up there one night and has the video to prove it.  The poor woman was found in an unnatural position inside the pentagram with blood coming out of her mouth and a goat pendant laying near here.

Another one of my readers wrote me this: “About a year ago, things were uncomfortable at my home, so I ended up sleeping in my van in the parking lot next to the Witches Tower. I knew nothing about the history then. At night, I could hear whispering and giggling coming from the tower. Every time I went up to investigate, it would stop and no one was there. When I returned to my vehicle, it would start again. Creepy place!”

Explore San Diego's birth place Presidio Park, filled with old monuments and rumored to be haunted!

The White Deer, Lucy

Some say that Lucy’s spirit continues to roam the grassy area of Presidio Park. Some see her white tail disappear into the bushes, or they find their garden flowers eaten. Motorists sometimes are startled by a fleeting image – that similar of a deer. Joggers will regularly glimpse the sight of a white deer scampering away into the bushes.

If you want to see Lucy, go for a jog in the early hours or take a stroll in the twilight hours. That is the time when Lucy can be found, in life and in death.

The memorial for Lucy, the white deer, sits atop one of the hillsides:


The Serra museum

The exterior is reported to be haunted as well. Cloaked hooded shadows are claimed to walk the perimeter of the museum. A young child spirit has also been supposedly spotted atop the museum tower. B. Weston relates, one of the more interesting claims involves a possible dark entity threat resides in the back-trails behind the museum.

Another reader said this about his experience near the mission “I was there with a few other investigators one foggy night. We made our rounds to all the usual spots but the night was eerily quite.

We were using a spirit box in front of the cathedral when everyone’s recording devices started malfunctioning and just then a voice started coming through. It sounded like a young boy. He claimed he lost his life there. When one of the investigators asked how, the voice came back with, “I jumped”.


Ancient Burial Ground

in 1769, shortly after the arrival of Father Serra, over 60 men were buried in the hills of Presidio Park.  This burial ground was known as “El Jardin Del Rey” (The King’s Garden).  The burials were recorded but during an Indian raid in 1775, the book was burned.

Between 1882 and 1887, fill dirt needed for work on the Derby Dike was sourced from The King’s Garden.  Unfortunately, the job was done carelessly and burial remains were dumped in the San Diego River.

Even though people began moving off Presidio Hill and settled in Old Town, burials still took place within the Presidio walls. These burials included early settlers as well as Mission Indians.

The last recorded burial in this location was Henry Delano Fitch who died in 1849, the same year as the first burial at El Campo Santo in Old Town. Fitch’s coffin lid, unearthed in an excavation, was outlined with brass nails, two hearts, and the letters “H.D.F.”3 Burials have also been found at the bottom of Presidio Hill.

Although it was no longer used by Europeans, the Natives continued burying their dead on Presidio Hill through the 1870s. As a complete disrespect, that Native’s village and cemetery was completely bulldozed and now sits an empty lot and golf course where it once was.

What remains of the old stockade:

The aloe & jade maze is fun to explore: 

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We had a creepy night here talking about ghost stories when all of a sudden we realized we were sitting in a giant pentagram!  Ahhhh!

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8 Reviews

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8 Reviews


  • Rebekah
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    This site is amazing! Thank you so much!!

    September 21, 2015

  • EH
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    The stone for Sylvester Pattie cracks me up. Hey, let’s memorialize the courage and entrepreneurial, exploring spirit of the first American known to be buried in California, but make sure they carve OUR name 5 times bigger than his! Hilarious!

    I came here looking for a picture of the memorial I had read about elsewhere. I’m a genealogist compiling a pedigree for one of Sylvester’s descendants. Thanks for posting this pic.

    April 11, 2016

  • Mr Pattie
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    Hey EH, if you happen to be checking this, I’m one of Sylvester’s descendents. How can I get ahold of you?

    November 30, 2016

  • Aaron
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    The first pic is of the one Rug explored

    December 28, 2016

  • Peter Schomaker
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    The Serra Museum is often confused with the San Diego Mission De Alcala. The actual Spanish mission lies about 4 miles to the east of the Serra Museum, up Mission Valley.

    April 18, 2021

  • Peter Schomaker
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    I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure that the building that held Pattie way back then has turned to mud and dust long ago. If you’ve been there, you probably noticed that this structure is concrete. I’m thinking it’s a WPA project from the 30’s. I’ve contacted an org. to see when this structure was actually built. If and when they get back to me, I’ll let you know.

    April 18, 2021

  • Brenden Walden
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    Similar to B Weston, we went up into the back trail behind the mission where the tree lines are at 3 am. We brought a Spirit box and a flashlight. My flashlight only happened to malfunction and turn off and on as soon as we got on the hill behind the mission. When my friend challenged whatever spirits were there to give us a sign, our static box malfunctioned, making a weird frequency noise, and we all heard an audible guttural growl/roar that was caught on our phone camera. Really scary.

    May 26, 2023

  • Stoked Toker
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    The “Witches Tower” at Presidio park was never used as a jail by the Spanish or Mexican authorities, it is no way nearly old enough. It was probably constructed by the WPA when they built the wall around the old Presidio perimeter.

    March 10, 2024

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