One of the top destinations for travelers from all over the world, the best bike routes in San Francisco offer the perfect way to see this Bay Area city. San Francisco is known for its temperate climate, steep rolling hills, famous landmarks, and the infamous fog that locals have lovingly named Karl. Also popular for its top-notch culinary scene with trendy restaurants, rooftop bars, and cafes, the Golden City has a plethora of places to explore.
While the famous cable car rides will take you to the city’s most iconic spots, there is no better way to explore San Francisco and the surrounding areas than by bike. Don’t be intimidated by the steep hills; with over 400 miles (yes, you read that right) of bikeways, it is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country.
We’ve put together our top 5 best bike routes in San Francisco, taking you by some of the city’s most iconic sights and viewpoints.
The best bike routes in San Francisco include:
- The Wiggle
- Ferry Building to Sausalito
- Sutro Baths to Fort Funston
- Castro to Twin Peaks
- The Mission through Valencia
Planning a group trip to explore the best bike routes in San Francisco? Make the planning quick and easy using Troupe’s group trip planner.
The best bike routes in San Francisco
1. Do The Wiggle
Route: The Wiggle – Golden Gate Park – Ocean Beach
Length: 5.3 Miles
Difficulty Level: easy to moderate
Starting Point: Duboce Park, Mission District
Are you looking for a leisurely ride dodging San Francisco’s steep hills? One of the city’s most iconic bike trails takes you on a windy route from Duboce Park through charming neighborhoods and into the famous Golden Gate park.
Wide open roads, often closed to traffic on weekends and holidays, invite you to explore one of the country’s biggest inner city parks. As an urban oasis of over 1,000 acres, the park is home to a staggering variety of exotic plants, from open grass areas to idyllic lakes to almost prehistoric jungle trails.
Stop to smell the roses at the Conservatory of Flowers, cycle by the Buffalo Paddock on JFK Drive and along one of the park’s beautiful lakes before heading to the shore of Ocean Beach, San Francisco’s longest stretch of beach. Grab some lunch from Ocean Beach Cafe and sit down on the dunes for an extended lunch break, before heading back into town. This is one of the best bike routes in San Francisco for a first-timer looking to enjoy the city.
2. Golden Gate Bridge Ride
Route: Ferry Building – Fort Mason – Golden Gate Bridge – Sausalito
Length: 9.7 Miles
Starting Point: The Ferry Building
The Ferry Building is one of San Francisco’s most cherished meeting spots for locals and tourists alike. A vibrant gathering of local farmers, artisan producers, and independently-owned and operated food businesses, it is the ideal starting point to charge your batteries before heading out for a day of exploring the Bay by bike.
Rent a bike from Ferry Building Bike Rentals and get your ferry ticket with it. Follow the well-marked bike path by the shore of the Bay, and make your way through the Embarcadero over to Fort Mason. Stop here for stunning views of Alcatraz and maybe a short rest in the park sipping on some freshly brewed Equator Coffee.
Cycle by the beaches of Crissy Field, with the views of the Golden Gate ahead, and join other cyclists as you make your way across the iconic bridge. Take some pictures and then coast downhill, enjoying the salty breeze as you dip into Sausalito, a charming town nestled into the Marin headlands and offering stunning views from the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Explore downtown Sausalito and grab a bite to eat while overlooking the harbor before taking your bike on the ferry to head back to your starting point in San Francisco.
Tip: Many bike rental places recommending this route will also hook you up with the ferry ticket and a map, making it easy for you to find your way there and back.
3. Coastal Ride
Route: Sutro Baths – The Great Highway – Fort Funston
Length: 5 miles
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Starting Point: Sutro Baths
Cruising along San Francisco’s coastal Great Highway is a pleasure for all bikers who don’t mind a breeze and some sand blowing their way. Starting at the Sutro Baths, you will be rewarded with jaw-dropping views over Land’s End and the Golden Gate Bridge before you dip down towards the ocean for some extended cycling by the beach without the incline of San Francisco’s inner city routes. This is one of the best bike routes in San Francisco for a leisurely ride.
Running over five miles along the coast to Fort Funston, a popular hiking and hang gliding spot, this level biking path offers the perfect setup for a Sunday bike ride enjoying the seaside and some beach explorations.
4. 360-degree city views
Route: Castro – Twin Peaks
Length: 2 miles
Difficulty: moderate to hard
Starting Point: The Castro
Take the high road to enjoy some of San Francisco’s most stunning views on one of the best bike routes in San Francisco. The two summits of Twin Peaks stand tall and proud in the heart of SF. Serving one of the city’s most beloved lookout points, this is a can’t-miss destination when exploring the city.
Taking the windy road up to the top may have you break a sweat, but you will be rewarded with million-dollar views of the entire Bay Area. Aesthetics and views aside, a bike ride up Twin Peaks also gives you a chance to escape the hustle and bustle in the heart of the city. Join other sunrise and sunset riders on their way up and share the sweet victory of climbing to the top with the bicycle community.
5. Exploring the Murals of the Mission
Route: The Mission Through Valencia
Length: 3.2 miles
Starting Point: The Ferry Building
Exploring San Francisco by bike would not be complete without taking a drive to the Mission, one of the city’s most popular and culturally diverse neighborhoods. Start at the Ferry Building and head up Market Street, following the well-marked and protected bike path towards Valencia. With over two miles of funky independent shops, specialty coffee bars, trendy eateries, and eye-catching murals, there is no shortage of places to explore.
Stop at Four Barrel for some excellent pour-over coffee or their affogato with buffalo’s milk ice cream (trust us on this) before heading into the heart of the Mission to Dolores Park. Walk up the hill for some breathtaking views of the skyline and immerse yourself in the vibrant ambiance of the park coming to life with locals and tourists alike.
Tips for renting a bike in SF:
There is no shortage of bike rental shops to choose from in San Francisco. Try Ferry Building Bike Rentals or Golden Gate Bridge Bike Rentals for easy access to the starting points of some of the tours mentioned in this article.
If you want to cycle around and explore a bit on your own, check out Bay Wheels. With dozens of drop-off points throughout the city (and the option of electric bikes to climb those hills), this is an easy and convenient way to start biking on your own terms. Prices start at $3.49 for a single, 45-minute ride or just $29 for an entire month.
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