Want a Challenge? Bike San Francisco’s Scenic Hawk Hill

May 10, 2019
scenic hawk hill bike challenge san francisco

Serious road bike riders from around the world find a haven on the lush, expansive trails of San Francisco and its Marin Headlands. Hawk Hill is one of the first bike rides you come to after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s close proximity to the City and challenging uphill climbs make it is a route that elite cyclists use to train. Weekend warriors ride the first half of Hawk Hill to access one of the best scenic views of nearly the entire Bay Area.

Bike Ride Golden Gate Bridge, Anyone?

An early departure will help you avoid crowded bike lanes on the Golden Gate Bridge during the peak periods. Keep in mind that the walkway on the west side is open only on weekday afternoons and weekends. It can get busy very quickly no matter what season you are riding in, so be warned! Bike like a seasoned rider and avoid these top 5 mistakes when biking in SF

We recommend carrying a light, waterproof windbreaker as crossing the bridge can be very windy. San Francisco’s infamous fog could be found at any point on the route. It’s not uncommon to go from jersey-drenching fog to clear skies in a matter of minutes on this ride. 


A Challenging Ride with Big Rewards

Hank Hill will give anyone a workout. The entire ride is 20 miles long and comes with 2,000 feet of uphill slope. You can take different paths at different times to raise or lower the difficulty. All routes are scenic depending on what you want to see – take it easy with some beautiful and refreshing descents or exercise more with multiple uphill challenges.

Bay City Bike stands ready with top performance bike rentals waiting at one of San Francisco’s most popular starting points, Fisherman’s Wharf. From the launch point, until you get to the start of the Golden Gate Bridge, you will come across one of the more expansive views of the Bridge and the Bay in existence – an iconic image captured by many a photographer, but not really experienced until you see it for yourself.

After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, you will immediately begin a four-mile, 700-foot climb up Conzelman Road. The first stretch is the steepest of the hill. We encourage you to pass the first scenic outlook and wait for the reward at the top of the hill. At the top, is an old military battery which is a popular destination for all visitors (drivers and riders). The are restroom facilities and plenty of space making it a popular rest stop. For many bike riders, this is the turnaround point for those wanting a short but exhilarating ride.

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Conzelman Road: Marine Mammals and Missle Batteries

So, you’ve decided to take the almost literal plunge down Conzelman Road. Great choice! Conzelman Road’s one-way descent offers some of the most exciting views of the California coastline. Descend slowly down Conzelman Road so that you can really take in the grandeur of the old forts and the Nike Missle battery. For a lighter excursion, you may opt to stop at the Marine Mammal Center and spend the day there.

There are a couple of options for your return portion of the bike ride. Head east on Bunker Road and either turn right on McCullough Road for another intense King of the Mountain challenge or continue straight for a relatively flat and relaxed ride. Be sure to have your bike lights handy for the almost half-mile single lane tunnel which returns you to the east side of Highway 101. From there, you can either cross under 101 for the return or head down the hill to Sausalito. We recommend returning from Sausalito by ferry, but you can always challenge yourself with a return ride across the Golden Gate Bridge! Why not? Not many people can say they crossed the bridge twice in one day!

Explore More of San Francisco with Your Bike Rental

All Bay City Bike rentals are for 24-hours. Make the most of your bike rental by exploring San Francisco’s scenic North Shore area before returning your bike. There is a reason that it is one of the most popular starting locations in San Francisco. Ride around for a bit to visit the Maritime Museum, Pier 39, the Aquarium by the Bay, the Museum of Vision, Madame Tussauds’, Coit Tower, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the Musée Mécanique, Ghirardelli Square, the Maritime National Historical Park, USS Pampanito, SS Jeremiah O’Brien (used prominently in the film Titanic), as well as eateries and shops galore.

Be sure to explore beyond the North Shore; many of San Francisco’s neighborhoods are great to experience by bike (although some might be more easily reached with an e-bike rental!)

Your Road Bike Rental San Francisco Experts

Make your performance road bike rental easy with the experts on riding in San Francisco. Bay City Bike is your one-stop shop for everything that you need for Hawk Hill and any other San Francisco bike route you want to take on.

Want to book a performance road bike during your San Francisco visit? Book your bike rental online today and save!

We look forward to making your next bike trip to the City the best experience possible!

Thinking of using bike share? Read our article about Road Bike rental vs Bike Share.