North Area of San Francisco

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About North Area of San Francisco

The north area of San Francisco is constantly improving and developing the wonderful landscape and trails, which ultimately gives you a combination of the perfect cutting edge and classic San Francisco. It changes not just the face, but the focus of the entire city as well by providing such various events, activities, trails, monuments, history and much more. This area consist of the beautiful and green Presidio, as well as several smaller districts, such as Union Square, Pacific Heights, Marina District, and Cow Hollow.
Presidio is a major center of cultural and historical significance, and hosts numerous events throughout the year. Rob Hill is the only official San Francisco campground, and it’s the highest point in Presidio. The lovely green hills of Presidio feature several cycling trails; most of them paved that take you through the area leaving you enchanted with its charm. With so many cycling and hiking trails, picnicking areas and fishing spots, along with tennis and golf courts, Presidio is without any doubt the most popular place to be in San Francisco.

Visitors with a keen fashion sense shouldn’t miss cycling through Union Square - a place where almost every fashion label is lurking right around the corner. This downtown shopping district is a home to many shops, hotels, bars and restaurants. Little alley Claude Lane is reminiscent of European streets with its brick pavement, art galleries and cute little cafés resembling the classic French bistros.
Another affluent neighborhood is Cow Hollow. What was once pasture for cattle is now a place of cozy homes as well as bars and restaurant. Visitors as well as locals love to visit this are, because it’s only a few short pedals away from the city center, yet provides a mellower and quiet atmosphere. This district is packed with cycling trails, and is considered quite safe for cyclists.

This area also covers half of the Embarcadero – the waterfront beauty which cyclists ride through because of the gorgeous views and straight, paved paths. This leads you all the way from Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, to Crissy Field Lawn just near the Golden Gate Bridge. Crissy Field Lawn is a great park to cycle by and is a great prelude to the grand Golden Gate Bridge. The stunning view when cycling across the bridge can’t be described, particularly because the beauty of the experience is one of a kind. Biking over gives cyclists the opportunity to see San Francisco from another perspective. Hawk Hill gives you a great overview of the city and coastline, while cycling to Sausalito will bring you great weather, pleasant bars and cozy restaurants with delicious food.

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City Bike Trails

Presidio Loop

This trail starts at Arguello Boulevard where you pedal through the forest to Inspiration Point. Then you take a left to Washington Boulevard and pass the Presidio forest and residential area. After that, you will again cycle through the forest until you reach the Immigration point. This is where Washington Boulevard merges with Lincoln Boulevard, which is where you will continue your ride. You will cross the Presidio Pkwy twice, and once you start heading south on Lincoln Boulevard, turn left on Cowles Street and take an immediate right into Patten Road. Continue onto Lincoln Boulevard, and then onto Sheridan Ave. Next, turn right onto Arguello Boulevard and follow the path to the starting point to finish the loop.

SF, North SF, Presidio, Presidio Loop

The 5.8-mile Presidio Loop features some quite challenging ascents and descents, which makes this ride quite strenuous, but not any less enjoyable. Make sure to pack extra clothing, as it might get cold. The roads are all paved and if you’re willing to go the extra mile, you will witness enchanting scenery like nowhere else in San Francisco.

This ride encompasses sweeping vistas, lush nature, and historic monuments that make the bike route a true paradise. Presidio Loop offers multiple Vista points and amazing views of the city. Make sure to stop at Inspiration Point, Immigration Point, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point. This will offer you a spectacular view of the Bridge as well as the Marin Headlands across.

  • Trail surface: Pavement
  • Trail length: 5.8 miles
  • Elevation: Highest: 328 ft
  • Weather conditions: Cold
  • Type of ride: Strenuous, experts

Lincoln Boulevard to Arguello Boulevard

This official North/South segment starts from Lincoln Boulevard, which takes you to Sheridan Avenue. Turn right into Infantry Terrace and continue along the street. Take another right into Thomas Avenue, which will get you right to Arguello Boulevard.

SF, North SF, Presidio, Lincoln Boulevard, Arguello Boulevard

This short 1-mile route serves as a path between Arguello Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard in Presidio. If you start from Arguello Boulevard, you’ll enjoy a smooth, descending ride which makes it family friendly and perfect for tourists who want to cut a route short via this path. The weather can change once you arrive to Presidio, so packing layers of clothing is recommended.

Once you enter the Arguello Boulevard Gate, you will enter an area rich with lush scenery and recreation and relaxation facilities. Even though the ride is relatively short, you can still get a feel for what the Presidio has to offer to its visitors. You can visit the Presidio Golf Course, various tennis courts or the Golden Gate Club otherwise known as the cultural heart of the park.

  • Trail surface: Pavement
  • Trail length: 1 mile
  • Elevation: Highest: 299 ft
  • Weather conditions: Cool
  • Type of ride: Tourists, beginner, family friendly

Hawk Hill Loop

This route starts right after your cross Golden Gate Bridge, and take a slight right to Alexander Avenue. After that, take a left on Danes Drive, which will lead you to Bunker Road, the main road of the route. Follow Bunker Road all the way to Rodeo Lagoon and continue along Field Road. Once you pass the Nike Missile Site, take a left and a right shortly thereafter to find yourself on Conzelman Road. Take a left on McCullough Road that brings you back to Bunker Road.

SF, North SF, Marin Headlands, Sausalito, Hawk Hill, Hawk Hill Loop

This is actually a very popular loop, although it can be quite challenging. The 12.5-mile long route is quite steep and it features several big ascents. This is perfect for those who want to kick in a little workout while sightseeing and exploring San Francisco. The highest elevation is at Hawk Hill Vista Point and while getting to that point can be quite exhausting, it’s definitely worth the climb.

Hawk Hill is a great spot for bird watching and witnessing the breath-taking views of San Francisco. It’s the number one favourite place of photographers looking for spectacular views of Golden Gate Bridge. Along the route, the Golden Gate National Recreational Area offers you the Nike Missile Site, a valuable historic resource, where you can see the tools of the Cold War up close and personal. If you’re more interested in wildlife, Rodeo Lagoon is along the way; it is an excellent place for relaxing, photography, bird watching and enjoying the wildlife.

  • Trail surface: Pavement
  • Trail length: 12.5 miles
  • Elevation: Highest: 817 ft
  • Weather conditions: Changeable
  • Type of ride: Tourist, intermediate, city bike

Polk Street to Golden Gate Bridge

The route begins at Polk Street at the San Francisco City Hall. Continue along Polk Street until you reach Francisco Street and Laguna Street right after it. Continue along Laguna Street, and then turn left into Bay Street between Fillmore and Laguna Street. Go down Cervantes Boulevard, Alhambra Street, Francisco Street, and Lyon Street. From Lyon Street, you can take a right into Presidio via Lombard Street and go straight up to Presidio Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard.

SF, North SF, Marin Headlands, Polk Gulch, Nob Hill, Tenderloin, Russian Hill, Marina District, Presidio, Golden Gate Bridge

This ride takes you through the northern area of the city where you will experience beautiful scenery that stretches from Presidio all the way to Golden Gate Park. The 5.2-mile ride has several ascents, the biggest one being at the intersection of Polk Street and California Street. The two smaller ascents are at the entrance to the Presidio and at the end of the route, near Golden Gate Bridge. The ride is perfect for those who want to have a little workout while passing through different parts of the city. This route is also known as one of the best-signed bike routes in San Francisco.

Whether you are on Polk Street or in Presidio, there’s always something to see. Polk Street goes through Polk Gulch, Nob Hill, Tenderloin, and Russian Hill neighborhoods. Don’t miss a visit to the grandiose San Francisco City Hall, Palace of Fine Arts and the Walt Disney Family Museum.

  • Trail surface: Pavement
  • Trail length: 5.2 miles
  • Elevation: Highest: 180 ft
  • Weather conditions: Changeable
  • Type of ride: Tourist, intermediate, city bike

Polk Street to Aquatic Park

Polk Street is the official North/South route in San Francisco and runs from the Aquatic Park to Market Street. At the end of Polk Street, take a left into North Point Street and the first right into Van Ness Ave.

SF, North SF, Marina District, Japan Town, Pacific Heights, Tenderloin, Polk Street, Aquatic Park

The elevation of this 2.5-mile route can vary. The route ascends from the start to the junction between Polk Street and California Street, and descends from there all the way to Aquatic Park. You can get to Marina District or Russian Hill by using this route, and since it is so commonly used it’s very busy with traffic. It’s a straight, continuous and comfortable ride that presents several of San Francisco’s most famous buildings, such as the City Hall and City College.

You can truly experience the uniqueness of San Francisco neighborhoods through diverse shops and restaurant found along this along this route. You can also visit the Great American Music Hall and the awesome Saigon Sandwich shop, which probably has one of the best Vietnamese sandwiches that the city has to offer. Also, the street’s new contra-flow bike lane took top honors at America’s Ten Best Bicycle Lanes of 2014.

  • Trail surface: Pavement
  • Trail length: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation: Highest: 180 ft
  • Weather conditions: Varies from district to district
  • Type of ride: Tourist, beginner, city bike

Aquatic Park to Sausalito

The trail starts in the Marina District, approximately at the Aquatic Park. From there, head down the Marina Boulevard, pass the Marina Green and the St Francis Yacht Club, until you hit the Crissy Field Marshal. Go up the Marina Dr to Fort point. From the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fort Point is an uphill ride. Once you cross the bridge, continue north down the Alexander Ave until you reach 2nd street and Bridgeway.

SF, North SF, Marina District, Presidio, Aquatic Park, Sausalito

This 8.5-mile road that starts from the Marina District is a great route for tourists. The ride across the bridge is often windy, but the ride from the bridge to Sausalito is a joy. It’s a relatively smooth route and it’s suitable for tourists and beginners. However, the ride up the Golden Gate Bridge is a bit more challenging and tricky to master.Sausalito is famous for its pleasant weather, so it is not that uncommon to see people choose to stop for a meal or a beverage in this wonderful area. All the sights along the way are worth seeing: From the Fort Mason to the Presidio National Park.

  • Trail surface: Pavement
  • Trail length: 8.5 miles
  • Elevation: Highest: 272 ft Lowest: 10 ft
  • Weather conditions: Brisk wind across the bridge
  • Type of ride: Tourist friendly, city bike, beginners

Clement Street to Baker Beach

Head north on Clement and turn right into 23rd Avenue. Turn left when you reach Lake Street, and after a short ride make a right to 25th Avenue. Continue along until you pass El Camino Del Mar, as well as Scenic Way, where you will make a right turn, and after a short ride make a left into Sea Cliff Ave. The ride continues after you turn right again and continue down 25th Avenue to Baker Beach.

SF, North SF, Richmond District, Presidio, Clement Street, Baker Beach

The path serves as a great alternative to steep Richmond District Streets. It’s a short 1-mile bike route, which is very fast and convenient way of finding your way to the beach. It’s less busy than commuter roads such as Geary, and it isn’t too steep for bikes as the descending part of the ride goes all the way from Lake Street to Baker Beach.

This route offers amazing views if you’re looking for a relaxing and scenic ride. The end of the route is offers an amazing view of the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate. Baker Beach allows easy access to the shoreline. If you love outdoor adventures, this is the perfect route for you, since you will find yourself near the California Coastal Trail and Lobos Creek Valley. These two amazing trails are just a few steps away from this lovely neighborhood. The starting point is Clement Street, which, as a part of Central Richmond, is well known for a vast number of restaurants and bars.

  • Trail surface: Pavement
  • Trail length: 1 mile
  • Elevation: Highest: 141 ft Lowest: 23 ft
  • Weather conditions: Warm
  • Type of ride: Tourist, city bike, beginner

Off-Road Bike Trails

Ecology Trail

The Ecology Trail starts at Arguello Boulevard and goes all the way to Barnard Avenue, and ends at Arguello Boulevard.

SF, North SF, Presidio, Ecology Trail

This route is perfect for off-road biking as well as a short stroll with your family or pets. The Ecology Trail differs from rest of San Francisco, and although its 0.7-miles make it a short ride, you’ll enjoy every single part of it. It offers you something different, as the tall buildings of San Francisco are traded for stunningly gorgeous redwoods and grasslands. The ride descends from Arguello Boulevard to Barbard Avenue, so it’s quite easy to go down this path.

Presidio is a true gem for nature enthusiasts who want to witness unique species of plants such as the Presidio Clarkia flower, right inside the city limits. The Presidio Clarkia flower is an endangered species, found only in Presidio, as well as in the East Bay Hills.

  • Trail surface: Dirt
  • Trail length: 0.7 miles
  • Elevation: Highest: 299 ft
  • Weather conditions: Cold
  • Type of ride: Easy, tourist, city bike