"Are there any good Mountain Bike trails in San Francisco?"
I get asked this question a lot and unfortunately the answer is "not really".
For good mountain bike trails, you need to check out Marin County.
SF Urban Riders are working hard to change that, but there is unfortunately very little good mountain biking within the San Francisco city limits, and I define a good mountain bike ride pretty simply as "most of the descending on singletrack".
I lived in San Francisco as a mountain biker for 7 long years, and before you get upset (if you live here), let me ask you a question:
"Are there any trails in San Francisco worth driving to from outside the city to ride?"
If you are visiting San Francisco and want to get a good ride in, get in touch, we can help.
With that said, I know what it's like to be in the city car-less and needing a ride. If you really can't get out of the city you have a couple options:
The Marin headlands is a great scenic and workout ride. While officially in Marin, it's easily rideable from the city. It's not the same as a good singletrack ride, as almost every single "trail" in the Marin headlands is a fireroad, but if you can only get out after work or have never seen it it will get the job done. Don't forget your camera.
Marin Headlands Suggested Loop
All the trails are on google maps, so you should be able to pull then up if you get lost. Or bring a map, which is what I always recommend.
From the Golden Gate Bridge, turn left and climb Conzelman Rd. to the paved intersection with McCullough Rd. Coastal trail starts from the dirt lot on the right just past the intersection. If this is your first time and the weather is nice, I'd suggest skipping Coastal and take the paved Conzelman Rd. over the top, as it's a great view of the Pacific on the way down. Otherwise descend Coastal Trail until you hit Bunker Rd. Go left on the road for a minute and look for a dirt road on your right. You should see the Rodeo Valley trail entrance. Go left on Rodeo Valley and when you get to the next split you have a decision to make.
The easy and most scenic route is to go left then left on Miwok. The trail will end at Bunker Rd. where you can go right and take the paved road to go check out Rodeo Beach:
If you're feeling good you can go left at the split and then take a right on Miwok. This is a good hill for long Lactate Threshold intervals, meaning it's a big fire road climb. When you get towards the top you'll pass Wolf Ridge on your left, and then Old Springs Trail on your left. If the climb was tough, then continue on and descend Bobcat back to Bunker Rd and head back towards the city.
If you're legs are still fresh turn left on Old Springs and descend. It's the only singletrack descent you'll get on this ride, so enjoy it while it lasts. Watch out for hikers and horses, and the steps towards the bottom. Pass by the horse stables and you'll see Marincello Fire Road on your right. Climb that and then stay to your right to descent Bobcat. At the bottom you are back at the intersection with Rodeo Valley. Go left and start heading back to the city and stop to snap a picture of that famous bridge.
Trail Access: Ride over the Golden Gate bridge and turn left up Conzelman Rd. If you are driving to this ride, keep driving and ride better trails in Marin. From downtown take the Embarcadero, through Fort Mason to Crissy Field and over the bridge. I used to ride it 2-3 times a week after work and you can get to the Marin headlands from downtown in 30-45 minutes depending on your bike and fitness.
Golden Gate Park
I've ridden a fun dirt loop chasing a buddy around Golden Gate Park, but it was a wild mix of dirt, path and trails that he knew inside and out. When I tried to repeat the ride solo I missed good chunks of singletrack and had lots of starts and stops along the way. Fun on a singlespeed and best with someone to show you around, but the park has lots to see, so if it's on your list, checking it out by bike is a good way to do it.
I haven't ridden Mt. Sutro since 2011, and there was a small selection (about 2 miles worth) of good singletrack. It's a great addition to a Golden Gate Park lap, and SF Urban Riders have been putting in the work to add trail, so it's on my list to get back to and check out. Here is a map from their site:
Got any other San Francisco trail suggestions? Any favorites? Leave a comment below: