One of our favorite bike routes in San Francisco is visiting the Two Forts and the short ride between them.
The views from the top are well worth conquering the hill just east of Fort Mason.
Before heading up the hill though, take a quick spin out onto the Fort Mason Municipal Pier. Originally constructed in 1930 as a recreational pier, it continues to draw both locals and visitors year round. The locals generally fall into two categories – those fishing and those running. The visitors are from across the country and around the world, just enjoying a leisurely walk and taking in our spectacular views.
After visiting the pier, shift into low gear and head up the short (but steep) hill to the top of Fort Mason. The aforementioned views are on full display from here. Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin County are all right in front of your eyes. Hop off your bike and walk around the Officers Club, the Community Gardens and the Great Meadow. Say hello to the statue of Congressman Phillip Burton, who was responsible for the creation of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Benny Bufano’s Madonna statue, both must-sees for any visit to Ft. Mason.
Continue riding downhill past the Great Meadow and take a quick right turn into the Fort Mason Center. You’ll ride by the Herbst Pavilion and the Festival Pavilion, and if you’re lucky one of the many events the center hosts every year may be in full swing, from wine tasting to craft fairs. Sundays the center hosts a Farmers’ Market and the smells of fresh herbs and produce fill the air.
Hop back on the bike path and continue West, past the Marina Green and Crissy Field, to your second Fort of the day, Fort Point.
This fort was constructed from 1853–1861 as part of a defense system to protect San Francisco. Luckily, it never saw battle, but instead served as military barracks during both World Wars. During the planning for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point was almost torn down, but the plans for the bridge were altered to allow for the Fort to stand.
Part of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” was filmed at Fort Point in 1958 and you can stand right where Kim Novack’s character stood during her failed attempt to jump into the bay.
You can tour inside the Fort Friday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Several events occur regularly during their opening hours, including a re-enactment of the loading of the cannons during the Civil War and a candlelight tour.
Lastly, a visit to Fort Point wouldn’t be complete without a high five to Hopper’s Hands. Ken Hopper, a steelworker on the Golden Gate Bridge for nearly 30 years started this fun San Francisco tradition in December of 2000.