Exploring neighborhoods is an intrinsic part of getting to know any city, whether visiting as a traveler or rambling through a local hood. No doubt one of the more interesting aspects of San Francisco is its geography—it's surrounded by water on three sides and said, like Rome, to be built on seven hills.
For many motivated recreational cyclists the ultimate bike ride (be it a Sunday or not) is to complete their first century – riding 100 miles in one day. An organized century ride is often the easiest (and safest) ways to accomplish this goal.
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area's Oakwood Valley is a perfect hiking spot for a variety of users. Easily accessible from both San Francisco and Marin, the secluded 1.5-mile loop combines a fire road and trail, and passes through mighty eucalyptus groves, verdant meadows, as well as strands of bay laurel and oak interspersed with lush ferns.
It's a simple recipe: Take some of the most beautiful mountain villages you can imagine, add some very untraveled roads traversing dramatic geology, then toss in some of the best Iberian Jamón (ham) and the freshest frutas de mar (seafood) and stir to create a truly delicious Spanish cycling paella.
A geologic inevitability, Devil’s Slide is situated high above the Pacific Ocean between the coastal towns of Pacifica and Halfmoon Bay. For decades, it has been a consistent and persistent headache for local motorists and CalTrans alike, closing Highway 1 innumerable times as sections have slid into the hungry surf below.
Unless you're a South Bay resident, this jewel of a park might be completely off your radar. Plainly visible across the San Francisco Bay from the Bayshore freeway, it's those hills you see silhouetted behind the San Mateo Bridge when driving south to SFO.
A popular local hike, the 4.3 mile trek up to St. Joseph's Hill Open Space Preserve is time and effort well spent; enough that you'll be pondering about when you can make a return visit.
If you're in the mood for all around killer views, great spring wildflowers, and some moderately challenging uphill hiking then Ring Mountain in Tiburon is just the ticket. Easily accessible from both San Francisco and the East Bay, it's a great place to show a new visitor to the Bay Area the dramatic geography that makes this place so special.
Sometimes ending an intense bike ride is much like hitting your thumb with a hammer—it feels good when you stop. This ride has enough hammers that it’ll surely be a relief when it’s finished; even more so if you leave enough time to mosey over to the nearby Pelican Inn and quaff a cold one (or two).
Essential SF knowledge in your inbox
Sign up for our email newsletters to keep up on events, restaurants and SF haps.