Biking Hawk Hill is pretty much a right of passage for any cyclist who has ever lived in or near San Francisco. The scenery can’t be beat. Views of San Francisco, Alcatraz and the Pacific are all along this stunning ride. The bad news: you’ll climb about 500 feet in approximately a mile and half.
My pro tip for this ride is to start at the Sports Basement in the beautiful Presidio. This parking lot is free and frequently used by cyclists starting their rides in and around San Francisco and the North Bay. Just be careful to check and see if there are any events in the Presidio before scheduling your ride.
From the Sports Basement, you ride up and across the Golden Gate bridge, sticking to the side designated for cyclists. Then the fun begins. You make a left out of the parking lot on the far end of the bridge and start your climb up Conzelman Rd. Your first rest stop, should you need it, is at Battery Spencer, where you can take pictures of the bridge and explore among the ruins of this former battery. After this you continue your climb until you reach the top of Hawk Hill and enjoy an even more spectacular view.
For those with great brakes and no fear, continue down Conzelman’s one lane, one way road into the Marin headlands and experience cliffside ocean views as you descend. I highly recommend make a loop and stopping in Sausalito for Tiburon for lunch to round out your trip before you head home.