Trail: THE GOLDEN GATE LOOP — Golden Gate Bridge to Golden Gate Park and Back


Before you venture across the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco also has other beautiful sites like the Presidio, Legion of Honor, the Cliff House, Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park some of which were featured in the 2012 Amgen Tour de California and the route from Lincoln Boulevard to Golden Gate Park are all part of the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon. Golden Gate Park is the place to be on Sundays when two miles of John F. Kennedy Boulevard is closed to cars. On a nice day, this route is a great way to add some miles to your ride or just see more of the sites of San Francisco from you bike.

Distance: from San Francisco Ferry Building 16.75 miles, route is 11.98 miles long

–Trail Starts at mile 4.77 of The Golden Gateway

–Trail Ends at mile 5.37 of The Golden Gateway at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge

Climbing on Route: 686 feet (209 meters)

Difficulty: The route has a couple of long climbs and one that is very steep, but short. Overall, it’s a great ride, even on a rental bike.

-Elevation Map for the Route provided by MapMyRide.com
Download the Route Sheet here: Directions – Golden Gate Loop
Starting at mile 4.77 of the Golden Gateway Trail, make a left onto Lincoln Boulevard and follow it to Park Road. Make a right onto Park Road, then another right onto Kobbe Avenue. You’ll reach a peak along Kobbe Avenue as you cross Washington Boulevard that gives you a beautiful view of Sea Cliff and the Lands End trail.
Keep following Kobbe Avenue until it ends at Lincoln Boulevard, then make a left onto Lincoln Boulevard and enjoy the descent until you reach Sea Cliff at 25th Avenue and the road becomes El Camino del Mar.

Continue to follow El Camino del Mar as it goes through Sea Cliff and make a left when the road reaches an end.

Continue following El Camino del Mar as it climbs to the Legion of Honor, then make a left at 34th Avenue up the last bit of the climb.
You can either park your bike and take in an exhibit or continue along the descent down 34th Avenue to its intersection with Clement Street.
Make a right onto Clement Street and continue to climb through the Outer Richmond district. Clement Street ends and the street becomes Seal Rock Drive.
Seal Rock Drive is a short, but very steep hill with a stop sign at the end. Make a left at the stop sign onto El Camino del Mar, but be careful on this descent for any cars crossing your path who do not have stop signs.
El Camino del Mar quickly intersects with Point Lobos Avenue which becomes the Great Highway (CA-1). Make a right onto Point Lobos Avenue and continue descending past the Cliff House Restaurant.

Again, be very careful on this descent as you will pick up speeds of 30+ mph, but will have cars backing out from their perpendicular parking spots along the road and other cars stopping to spalk. Stay toward the dashed lane line for safety.
Continue to follow the Great Highway a few more lights until you get to John F. Kennedy Drive, just before the Beach Chalet. You will make a left onto JFK Drive, although the safest way is to enter the parking lot just before the light and use the crosswalk.
Follow JFK Drive past the windmills and through the park. This is a bit of a climb, but not much of a grade and the lanes also tend to be wide. Just stay vigilant for parked cars opening their doors.
JFK Drive turns left at the first stop sign with South Fork Road. Turn left and continue along JFK Drive.
Along the way, you will see the buffalo pasture, picnic areas, sports fields, Lindy in the Park and the de Young Museum. On Sundays, JFK Drive is closed to cars and is bike and pedestrians only from Transverse Drive to Kezar Drive. Once or twice a year they shut down the Great Highway from JFK Drive to the San Francisco Zoo, along with the entire length of JFK Drive from the Great Highway to Kezar Drive for Sunday Streets. Check the Sunday Streets website for the day(s).
Just after the de Young Museum, make a left onto Conservatory Drive West, and then another left onto Arguello Boulevard. There is a light on Arguello Boulevard just as you exit the park.
Continue along Arguello Boulevard as it crosses Geary Boulevard and California Street. Arguello Boulevard has a very steep climb at the end, just before it enters into the Presidio. Gear down to prepare for this 15% – 18% grade climb.
Continue along Arguello Boulevard in the Presidio as it winds its way past the Presidio Golf Course and Vista Point. Just past Vista Point, make a left onto Washington Boulevard just before Arguello Boulevard starts to descend.
Follow Washington Boulevard through the Presidio. After some rolling hills, you will pass by another lookout point and then cross Kobbe Avenue at the World War II Memorial. Washington Boulevard, then merges with Lincoln Boulevard.
The traffic at this point increases significantly. Follow Lincoln Boulevard until it intersects with Merchant Road at a stop sign. Make a left onto Merchant Road.
Follow Merchant Road, but be careful, this road merges directly onto US-101. DO NOT GET ON US-101! Make a left and follow Bike Route 95 just before the intersection with US-101.
Follow the bike path under the bridge and you be back at the path on the East Side of the Golden Gate Bridge. From here you can either cross on the pedestrian side of the bridge or go to the Bay Trail and cross to the bike side of the bridge. Either way, the route has met back up with The Golden Gateway.
This route through San Francisco allows you to add mileage to your route to Marin, or to jut enjoy more of the biking San Francisco has to offer on those days you don’t feel like crossing the bridge. Either way, this route has beautiful scenery, great riding and gives you alternate way to access some of San Francisco’s treasures.

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2 thoughts on “Trail: THE GOLDEN GATE LOOP — Golden Gate Bridge to Golden Gate Park and Back

  1. Enjoyed following along that route, it’s exactly what I do 3-4 times a week. Many times I’d go from the Cliff House to Lake Merced or Pacifica for added miles. Yes, you can do a great ride all within the city and your never too far from home.

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