Larkspur Ferry to the Marin Headlands

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

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Our day begins with a ferryboat ride across the Bay from the Larkspur Terminal to meet up with the ride leaders at the San Francisco Ferry Building. If you can’t find a parking space at the terminal, there is plenty of street parking along SIr Francis Drake Blvd with no time restrictions.

Tickets are purchased at the automated ticket vending machines; the fare is $8.75 one way (less with the Clipper card & senior fare is only $4.25 with discount card and ID). Water and restrooms are available inside the terminal. We catch the 10:10 AM ferry to arrive at SF at 10:45 AM. There is ample bike parking on the lower and upper decks of the ferry.

The views around the San Francisco Bay are gorgeous!

We quickly roll into an incoming fog bank; the winds pick up and it’s actually getting a bit cold. The sights of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, San Quentin, Angel Island and the surrounding coves come in and out of view as we continue through the fog.

The fog is slowly lifting as we pull into the SF Ferry Terminal.

Pat and Chris are already there along with many other riders. Water and restrooms are available inside the Ferry Building.

We exit the Ferry Building and ride along The Embarcadero through Pier 39 and Fishermans Wharf to Jefferson St. We continue pass The Cannery, Ghiradelli Square, the SF Maritime Park and the Dolphin Swim & Boat Club.

The end of the path on Jefferson takes us to the north end of Van Ness Ave for the short steep climb along Gashouse Cove up to Fort Mason Green. The path along the Green drops us onto Marina Blvd. The vibrant green of the open lawn areas are just eye-popping!

The run along Marina Blvd takes us along the edge of the Bay through the Marina Green and the Golden Gate Yacht Club. We continue straight onto the bike lane on Mason St to Crissy Fields. There are wonderful views of the restored salt marsh and dunes.

I can see the bank of fog hovering around the Golden Gate Bridge; the only thing visible is the orange tip of the tower. The city views are fantastic! There is a regroup at the Warming Hut near Fort Point. Water and restrooms are available.

From the Warming Hut, we take Long Ave up to the multi-user path that leads to the bridge. I like to look at all the military houses in the Presidio; they’re neatly lined up in a row on Lincoln Blvd. It’s getting colder; we’re riding straight into the fog while crossing the bridge on the west side. 


We exit the north end of the bridge and continue on Conzelman Rd towards the Headlands. The climb on Conzelman up to Hawk Hill is about 1.85 miles with an average grade of 4.7%. The first section is the steepest with gradients hitting pitches of 9-13%. The fog is slowly burning off here and the sun up, it feels great! Oh yeah, the new pavement on this road is fantastic!

Conzelman Ridge snakes up along the hillside overlooking San Francisco and has amazing jaw-dropping views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the northern Pacific Coast and cityscapes of the City, Marin and the East Bay. 

The views from the top of Hawk Hill are absolutely spectacular! The scenic beauty here is hard to beat; it’s the main reason we choose to live in California! WOW! The fog engulfing the bridge adds a bit of mystery and aura to this famous landmark. It’s gorgeous!

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognizable symbols of San Francisco and California and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. How amazing is that? And it’s right here, in our own backyard-it’s just marvelous!

The descent on Conzelman down towards the Headlands is very steep! The views of the fog hovering over the gentle rolling hills are beautiful! I get a light peek of the scattered old military structures with the red roofs through the dissipating fog; it’s kind of magical. 

At the stop sign, we make a right turn onto Field Rd which eventually turns into Bunker Rd. Bunker Rd takes us through the valley of the Golden Gate National Recreational Area. The terrain is mostly flat all the way across the Barry-Baker Tunnel. 

We make an immediate left turn after crossing the tunnel to stay on Bunker Rd. The road leads us down and around old Ford Baker/Cavallo Point and the Bay Area Discovery Musuem. 

The climb up along the Bay on East Rd connects us to Alexander Ave; the quick descent drops us into the city of Sausalito. We stay on Bridgeway to our lunch stop at Dunphy Park. The park has a couple of Bocce ball courts and a sand volleyball pit. There are benches along the shoreline and a gazebo in the middle of the grassy area. Porta-potties are available but no water.

After lunch, we continue through Sausalito on Bridgeway and hop onto the Mill Valley-Sausalito Path off Gate 6 Rd. We stay on the path for the next few miles and make a right turn after passing the East Hauke Soccer Field to continue around the lagoon. There is a water fountain at this junction. 

We cross a little bridge over to Hamilton Dr. Water and restrooms are available at the Police Dept across the street. Hamilton Dr takes us to Redwood Hwy Frontage Rd. Traffic is heavy in and around this area, take caution! The next turn on Seminary Dr has us riding along the edge of an inlet around Richardson Bay; the views are outstanding!

The short steep climb on Strawberry Dr takes us through a very nicely landscaped residential neighborhood with great views of the cove. We drop down Harbor Cove Way and wind our way through the narrow path on the edge of Greenwood Bay Dr to Greenwood Cove Dr. Your chances of getting lost around here are pretty high. You really have to know this area to get in and around these paths. 

The next few miles on Greenwood Cove Dr takes us pass the Richardson Bay Audubon Center, the Lyford House and a Baptist Church. The little descent drops us down to Blackie’s Pasture around Richardson Bay. 

We continue on the Tiburon Linear Park Trail along McKegney Field to San Rafael Ave. This is a beautiful well maintained path with awesome views of Richardson Bay and beyond!  

Watch out for cars as you make the turn onto San Rafael Ave from the path; it’s a very busy intersection! We pass through the town of Belvedere and continue on Beach Rd and Main St to our coffee/snack stop at Caffe Acri. You get fantastic views of Belvedere Cove and the San Francisco Bay. 

The Golden Gate Bridge is still shrouded in a thick blanket of fog!

We continue on Paradise Dr for the next 8+ rolling miles along the Kell Cove to Paradise Cove. We hop onto the bike path that runs parallel to San Clemente Dr and Redwood Hwy. The bike path ends at the intersection with Wornum Dr. We stay on Redwood Hwy for a very short distance and hop onto another path on the left hand side of the road that parallels the highway off-ramp. This in turn takes us onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd and back to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.

There is a post-ride stop at the Marin Brewing Company in the Larkspur Landing shopping center for beer and pizza.

Thanks to Pat and Chris for leading another great fall ride! The fabulous scenery and weather plus the company of all the other club members made this a wonderful day!

~38 people in attendance with 3 tandems

40.55 miles with 2109′ of elevation gain

Weather: MARVELOUS! Morning fog followed by brilliant sunshine. Temps ranged from the low 50’s to the low 60’s

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>JUST RIDE and HAVE FUN!>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

One Comment

  1. Hi Nancy,
    What a wonderful bicycling circuit …and great way to see the Bay Area.
    From your biggest fans in Great Britain, wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!


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