Faery Door - Atlas Obscura

Faery Door

San Franciscans leave gifts and messages for the magical beings that live behind the tiny, mysterious door installed on a tree in Golden Gate Park. 


In 2013, the San Francisco Parks Department removed a tiny tree door that made a hollow in a tree look like the entryway to the home of a tiny, magical creature. The reasoning was that the door damaged the tree, but San Francisco residents weren’t going to take that laying down. Though it was tiny and easily missed, the faery door had been a cherished token of whimsy in Golden Gate Park. 

In response, Parks Department employees reached a deal with the artist who installed the first door, Tony Powell, to create a new tiny door for a fallen eucalyptus log. The tiny wooden door is now there in the park, not far from the site of the original door in Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse. 

Powell has since installed more faery doors in secret locations around the Bay Area. He also published a children’s book on the faeries who live behind the many doors and how to find magic in the everyday.

Some visitors to the faery door will leave offerings for the wee folk, things like bells, shells, rocks, acorns, tiny treats, and tiny rolled up messages. Tony and his son Rio (who live in their own magical abode—a sailboat on the bay) record the faeries’ responses on their website, which can cover everything from love advice to proper pogo stick technique.

Know Before You Go

Go to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, and then start your search. The location of the door is kept secret to preserve its whimsical mystery, but Powell gave this clue to the San Francisco Chronicle: “Go west from the original fairy door, though not quite due west since that would take you into the Japanese Tea Garden. It’s around the other side of the garden, then down a little ways. There’s a little trail and on it you’ll find a rather long eucalyptus log, about 16 or 18 feet long, under a yew tree. It’s on the westward end of the log.”

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