The San Francisco Bay Area has many charms, one of these being the many wonderful bike rides that are accessible for people of all experience levels and ages.
Whether you’re after a casual bike ride around the area, a ride through a city park, or an intense mountain bike climb, there are trails for all kinds of interests and experience levels.
This article is going to provide you with a list of the best bike trails around the Bay Area, so if you’re ever racking your brain for something to do, this list has you covered!
Angel Island Loop
Angel Island is in the heart of the Bay! This is a beautiful park that has 360 views and several areas for picnics and hikes.
This option makes for a wonderfully scenic ride, that is relatively low in intensity, making it great for beginners, families, or those who just want a leisurely ride.
It is also a fairly straightforward route as it follows a full loop around the Bay.
To access the paved road for cycling, once disembarking from the Angel Island Ferry, make your way towards the plots designated for picnics and head towards the paved road to the left.
If you’re a fan of cycling but either don’t have your own bike or rather not lug it on the fairy, you can rent them here!
This trail gives you the choice of whether you want to go hard or not. Halfway into your ride, you can decide whether you’d like an easy, enjoyable ride, or an intense experience!
You’ll begin cycling on Old San Pedro Mountain Road before making the ultimate decision. You can either continue going nice and easy, turning at the Gray Whale Cove Trail which is a beautiful and scenic leisurely trail.
However, for those adrenaline junkies, you may consider going uphill to North Peak Access Road, which will have you climbing up Montara Mountain. The incline is intense, but it’s worth it for the views at the top!
For those of you who are really after a sweaty workout, choose both trails and loop around. This will turn into a ride that goes on for 17 miles where you can enjoy the gorgeous views while breaking out a sweat!
Tennessee Valley/ Muir Beach
This trail is recommended for regular in-shape cyclists as it stretches for nearly 21 miles and contains some pretty steep grades.
The route goes from the Tennessee Valley parking area to Muir Woods and Mt. Tamalpais State park. Along the way you’ll experience some beautiful views of Muir Beach, Tam Valley, and breathtaking ocean lookout points.
While this is considered a moderately difficult route, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to rest as there are several picnic spots along the way, with some stunning views also!
Great Highway To Fort Funston
Turning it down a notch with the intensity, we have this option that is a pretty and easy bike ride.
This follows a flat road from Golden Gate Park along the Great Highway.
This stretch is a little over 4 miles, and you can either head to Route 1 to Pacifica (if you’re feeling more energetic), or you can stop at the dog park that’s located at Fort Funston and admire all the cute pooches, or you can take yours along with you if they’re up for a little bike ride.
There are also beautiful succulent-covered dunes here!
For this ride, you’ll need a mountain bike or a bike with some thick tires, as this is a bumpy climb, but so worth it.
You’ll begin at the Ohlone College parking area for a small fee for parking, and then begin your climb that’s around 5 miles up the Peak Trail before arriving at Mission Peak Regional Reserve.
The climb is difficult, but the views and sceneries are worth it!
San Francisco Peaks
Fancy a mountain bike ride but don’t want to venture too far away from the city? This cobbled bike trail goes through Glen Canyon Park, Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve, and Mount Davidson Park.
This is perfect for when you need a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, without having to travel too far! It is important to note that hikers also use this path, so be wary when cycling through it.
Crystal Springs Regional Trail
The Crystal Springs Reservoir is the perfect place for a relaxed bike ride that will have you spending time in nature.
It is relatively flat and paved, making it the perfect place for beginners and families with young children. This trail is also popular among others such as rollerblades, joggers, an hikers,so just be mindful of them.
The route goes on for around 15 miles, and once you’ve completed it, you can continue to Woodside which runs by the freeway.
There are also restrooms and great spots for picnics halfway into the Sawyer Camp part of the route, which is a good time and place to take a little break and refuel.
Located into El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve, you’ll find Skeggs Point, a candidate for the ‘best mountain biking location’ in the Bay Area. It is one of the favorite areas for mountain biking.
This park is filled with all kinds of trails that cover different levels of experience. Most of it is also covered by forest, giving it shade for protection.
However, there is an intense descent followed by a climb to get to it, so cyclists are warned!
Three Bears Loop
Considered a challenging route, this trail is around 25 miles and takes you through San Pablo Dam Road, where you’ll be able to catch beautiful views of the San Pablo Reservoir.
After this, you’ll travel around three short climbs on a 10-mile stretch on Bear Creek Road and each climb has a name – Mama Bear, Papa Bear, and Baby Bear.
You’ll then continue on through Briones Regional Park, and make your way through to the hill town of Orinda. If you visit this trail after the spring showers, you’ll be able to see some beautiful green hills with wildflowers blooming.
Samuel P. Taylor State Park
If you’re after a leisurely ride, you can take the Cross Marin Trail bike path located in Samuel P. Taylor State Park.
Beginning at the south of Lagunitas Creek and goes for for around 3 miles and one-way, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally crashing into other cyclists coming in the opposite direction.
The route follows the creek, where you can dismount whenever you want to observe the views and explore the area.
This is a very mellow ride, making it perfect for families, beginners, or those who just fancy a leisurely ride.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the world. Cycling along this bridge will give you some stunning views where you can see the city, while still giving you some distance, so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
You can begin at the Golden Gate Promenade and make your way to the bike lane across from the bridge. This bike lane allows you to take in the views and go at your own pace.
You’ll be able to see all kinds of views of the city, the Marin headlands, and the sea.
Lake Chabot Shoreline Trail
Another mellow and easy ride is this trail along Lake Chabot. This is a very smooth path, with views of the water for the entire ride.
This is a 6-mile out-and-back trail that is super relaxing as you don’t need to worry about traffic or any other hazards.
However, at 1.5 miles it does transform into a dirt path, rather than a paved one, so if you rather not ride along unpaved roads you can turn around here.
That being said, this path is also relatively flat, so you shouldn’t have any trouble should you wish to continue.
This is a perfect family day-out option, and you can dismount your bikes whenever you want and find a spot to rest and enjoy a picnic.
Temescal Regional Recreation Area
This is another perfect option for families. This East Shore Trail in Temescal Regional Recreation Area is a cycle path that is fully paved and runs along concurrently along the park.
Although super close to the city, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the woods with breathtaking views of the lake. You’ll also get the chance to see all kinds of birds by the lake such as geese, cormorants, and several kinds of ducks.
If you’ve got young children with you, then this is the perfect option for all of you to enjoy. There are also several picnic areas to choose from in this location.
To conclude, the Bay Area has some truly amazing bike trails that offer you some tremendous views, whether it’s city views you’re after, or lakes and forests.
There are options on this list for all skill levels, so take your pick and off you go!