San Francisco, famous for Karl the Fog, cable cars and tech startups (among other things), is one of California’s most bike-friendly cities. With bikeway offerings in the city itself, along the peninsula and beyond, you’d be hard pressed to find a better location for biking and cycling. Browse our list of the five best bike rides in San Francisco, pack a coat because the weather’s unpredictable and roll out — but not before you protect yourself with a lightweight bike helmet.
THE BEST BIKE RIDES IN SAN FRANCISCO
- The Presidio
- Angel Island
- Crystal Springs Regional Trail
- Great Highway Bike Path
- Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve
For Golden Gate views and more than 1,500 acres to explore, The Presidio is your best bet. There are routes for all skill levels and of varying distances depending on how ambitious you’re feeling. If you can’t decide, we suggest the 4.6-mile “Around the Park” Loop because it features five of the Presidio’s most beautiful scenic overlooks along the way and is even great for a road bike, a mountain bike or a skateboard. Need a bicycle? No problem. Rent one from the Sports Basement conveniently located at Crissy Field.
Just a short ferry ride from San Francisco you’ll find Angel Island, a small oasis in the San Francisco Bay. It’s the largest natural island in the Bay with five miles of partially paved, car-free bicycle lanes along the perimeter of the island that are perfect for the whole family. For more of a climb and an elevated view, try the 3-mile Fire Road Trail on your mountain bike. Partial- and full-day bike rentals are available from the Angel Island Company.
CRYSTAL SPRINGS REGIONAL TRAIL
A quick trip on the 280 will get you to Crystal Springs Regional Trail, a 16.5-mile network of three areas including the San Andreas segment, the Sawyer Camp segment and the Crystal Springs segment ideal for cycling, bicycling and mountain biking. We recommend the northern part, which is mostly flat and paved, that snakes along the San Andreas Lake and the Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir. Pack a picnic lunch and make it a Sunday Funday.
GREAT HIGHWAY BIKE PATH
The Great Highway Bike Path stretches 2.47 miles and is ideal for a sunset cycle since it runs along the gorgeous coastline. Just start at the windmills in Golden Gate Park and travel to Fort Funston, the area’s only off-leash dog beach. Bring your pup along for the bike ride, or watch everyone else’s dogs running zoomies in the sand (totally not weird at all).
PALO ALTO BAYLANDS NATURE PRESERVE
The SF Bay Area peninsula is known for its robust network of biking and cycling paths. For this one, hop on the 101 to the 1,940-acre Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve, which contains 15 miles of multi-use trails and the largest undisturbed marshlands remaining in the SF Bay. When you’re finished, pop over to Antonio’s Nut House for a beer.