The Definitive Guide to Biking the Golden Gate Bridge
Hands down, riding a bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most exhilarating things to do in San Francisco. It doesn’t matter if you’re a visitor who hasn’t been on a bicycle in years or a jaded San Franciscan who thinks you’ve seen it all, this experience will change your life!
Biking the Golden Gate Bridge is a once in a lifetime experience, as you’ll see when you take a look back at your photographs! Although the journey takes only a few hours, the memories will stay with you for a lifetime.
Our favorite, beginner-friendly route begins at Fisherman’s Wharf, so you can cruise along the car-free National Park Bike Path. The mostly flat bike ride will take you through Aquatic Park, Fort Mason, the Marina, and Presidio National Park to the base of the bridge.
Things to see at the San Francisco base of the bridge
At the San Francisco base of the bridge, make sure to check out historic Fort Point, which is at the south side of the base. There is a free Civil War museum there that you can visit. Watch surfers catching waves on the bay, and give a high-five to the Hopper’s Hands sign (a “locals only” tradition) before turning back to make the short climb to the bridge.
Once you’re at bridge level, park your bike and check out the Bridge Pavilion with some great history and informational displays, take a few photos, then make your way onto the bridge itself.
Cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge
If you’re riding on the weekend or after 3 pm on a weekday, you’ll be on the west side of the bridge, with bike traffic only. All other times you’ll be riding on the east side with pedestrians, so be careful!
The views and fresh air while riding across the bridge will literally blow your mind! Make sure you stop (off to the side, so you don’t cause a traffic jam!) and take some pictures. Look over the railing and sometimes you can see dolphins and seals swimming under the bridge. If you’re especially lucky, Karl the Fog might make a cameo appearance on your ride for a truly authentic San Francisco experience!
Take a look back from the south tower on the east side of the bridge and you might catch more views of those crazy surfers off the coastline near Fort Point! If you’re on the west side of the bridge, you’ll get stunning views of Baker Beach and the Presidio National Park to the South, not to mention the towering Marin Headlands to the north. Take it nice and slow, and stay in a single file line for safety.
Look out for that county line marker, because all too soon you’ll have made it to the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge! You’re now in Marin County, the birthplace of mountain biking and home to sweeping views of the Bay Area, quiet seaside towns, great restaurants and extra friendly people. You’ll exit the bridge at Vista Point, a wonderful spot for photo opportunities looking back across the San Francisco Bay.
Rolling into Sausalito and Tiburon
Continue cruising the easy downhill to Sausalito, where it’s always sunny! Reward yourself with a bite to eat at one of the city’s award-winning seafood restaurants (our favorites are The Trident, Scoma’s and Fish!).
From there, the ride only gets better! Cruise by a funky houseboat community, through the marshlands and into historic Old Mill Park in Mill Valley, where you can see California’s famous Redwood trees at the base of Mt. Tamalpais. Continue along a gorgeous waterfront bike path to the quaint fishing town of Tiburon, where you’ll find more great bayside restaurants and shops.
From Sausalito or Tiburon, you can hop on the ferry with your bike and come right back to San Francisco.
The approximate duration and distance from Fisherman's Wharf is 1.5 hours / 8 miles to Sausalito, or 3 hours / 22 miles to Tiburon.