Directions from Highway 1 to the Golden Gate Bridge
Following are directions for biking the North-South Greenway from the Golden Gate Bridge to Petaluma. It's recommended you use MCBC's Marin Bicycle Map to follow along. To find where to buy a map, or to order one online, please visit our Map page.
If you'd like to suggest changes to our directions, due to facilities upgrades or due to our mistakes or misstatements, please let us know. The directions below are recommendations only, and are subject to change.
While riding down Highway 1 (Shoreline Highway), when you are about 40 miles north of San Francisco you'll arrive at a fork in the road offering two good choices for traversing 30 miles of Marin County: stay the course on Highway 1, or turn inland around the eastern flanks of Mt. Tamalpais.
The Shoreline Highway 1 route offers bucolic grassland views, some good cliff-side coastal riding, the occasional beach, and about 2000 feet of climbing. The inland route offers half pastoral countryside and half light suburban scape, and about 700 to 900 feet of climbing. By the way, CalTrans recommends the inland route figuring you've had your fill of traveling 55 MPH roads with only two inches to the right of the fog line. On the inland route, aside from the first three miles, you'll be able to ride roads where the posted speed limit is 35 MPH or less, and even many miles of bike paths and bike lanes.
The coastal route is fairly straightforward: just head down Highway 1 to Mill Valley. The inland route will require closer inspection of a map, but still it's the more popular route.
The inland route
The fork in the road: Heading south down Highway 1 just north of Point Reyes Station, you'll see the Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Road veering off to the left (really, Highway 1 veers to the right). For your inland adventure, follow the Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Road for about three miles, then turn right on Platform Bridge Road, and in two miles, just before Sir Francis Drake Blvd., turn right off the road, onto the old (1929) Sir Francis Drake Blvd. concrete-arch bridge over Lagunitas Creek. It's a little hidden by willows. Cross the bridge and take an immediate left onto the paved Cross Marin Bike Trail. This trail follows an old railroad grade with a very minimal gradient.
(If you're coming from Olema - on Shoreline Highway, two miles south of Point Reyes Station - take Drake east over the 325-foot hill; at the bottom of the hill, just before the "new" (1960s) Drake bridge, turn right onto the paved Cross Marin Bike Trail.)
Follow the Cross Marin Trail to "Camp Taylor" in Samuel P. Taylor State Park. There, if your bike can handle smooth off-road riding, continue straight on the Cross Marin Trail (old railroad grade) past the main campground (mostly to your left, across Lagunitas Creek). You'll eventually cross over Drake Blvd. and the creek, and continue to the path's end at the Inkwells Bridge. At the Inkwells, turn left onto Drake.
If you cannot ride on dirt, at "Camp Taylor" follow the asphalt to the left across the bridge and follow the main park road through the picnic area in Taylor Park; turn right onto Sir Francis Drake Blvd. at the park entrance. Drake pavement is bumpy and the road is narrow.
Once you're on Drake, you can stay on it through Lagunitas, Forest Knolls, and Woodacre, and over White's Hill into Fairfax, and follow main roads around the east flanks of Mt. Tamalpais south to Mill Valley.
Stay on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. until it travels over White's Hill. A short distance beyond the bottom of the hill's east side, turn right on Olema Road. Follow Olema until it ends again at Sir Francis Drake Blvd.; you'll take the bike path to the right just before Drake. Follow the path, which will direct you straight onto Broadway through downtown Fairfax. You'll now be on Marin Bike Route 20 for the next three miles.
Marin Bike Route 20: Stay on Broadway (it later becomes Center Blvd.) through downtown Fairfax. Take a right at the fourt-way stop on Pastori, then an immediate left on Lansdale, paralleling Center. Lansdale ends at a 6-way stop and small playground (Lansdale Station); continue "straight" on San Anselmo Avenue (the road bearing very slightly to the right, just in front of you).
San Anselmo Avenue meanders through the residential areas of San Anselmo, eventually passing through the downtown area. Where San Anselmo Avenue ends at the stop light on Bolinas Avenue, turn right onto Bolinas and then make a quick left onto Shady Lane. At the end of Shady Lane, turn left on Lagunitas Road, then right onto Poplar Avenue. Now you will be on Marin Bike Route 15. Poplar becomes Kent Avenue. In about one mile, veer right onto Magnolia Avenue into Larkspur.
Magnolia Avenue becomes Corte Madera Avenue in Corte Madera where it crosses Tamalpais Drive. There's a traffic signal at Magnolia Avenue/Corte Madera Avenue and Tamalpais Drive, so it's easy to see. There are two good routes from here. You can either A) go over Camino Alto (270-foot climb with limited visibility and narrow shoulders; the road becomes Camino Alto at the top of the hill), turn left on East Blithedale at the bottom of the hill, and turn right onto the Mill Valley-Sausalito Bike Path at the next light at Lomita Drive. Or, B) from Magnolia Avenue/ Corte Madera Avenue and Tamalpais Drive, you can turn left down Tamalpais Drive, then in a few blocks veer right onto Meadowsweet Drive. You'll now be on Marin Bike Route 5 all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. After a medium and steady ascent up Meadowsweet, the road flattens out and winds through the trees. As Meadowsweet starts to descend and then makes a hairpin turn to the left, where it turns into Casa Buena Drive, veer to the right at the hairpin turn and take the bike path over Alto Hill (140-foot climb) along the west side of Highway 101. At the end of the bike path, turn right on Lomita Drive and follow it until it intersects with East Blithedale at the traffic light. Cross East Blithedale to access the Mill Valley-Sausalito Bike Path and turn left (south) onto the path. Note: Camino Alto (option A) has more traffic and narrow to no shoulders, but is more direct.
Once on the Mill Valley-Sausalito Bike Path (Marin Bike Route 5), stay straight and follow it to its end at Mike's Bikes in Sausalito. From the path (just south of Mike's Bikes), make a left onto Bridgeway at the light to access the Bridgeway bike lanes. Take Bridgeway through downtown Sausalito and along the waterfront until it veers to the right and turns into Richardson Street. Take Richardson for one block and make a left onto 2nd Street. Climb the hill on 2nd Street, which veers to the left and becomes South Street, which in-turn becomes Alexander Avenue, the Golden Gate Bridge approach. There, you'll have two bridge approach choices:
- Through Fort Baker: At the top of the last steep pitch leaving Sausalito (just beyond the last house), turn right onto East Road which ducks underneath Alexander Avenue. In one mile, East Road becomes Conzelman Road and you'll pass under the Golden Gate Bridge. Climb the hill and pass through the west-side parking lot, staying to its right side. There you'll find access to the bridge.
- Alexander Avenue: Take this road to the top of the hill and pass under Highway 101 (caution: the underpass is quite narrow). Take a right on Conzelman Road. After a very short climb, turn left into the west-side bridge parking lot, staying to the left side.
Taking either A or B, you'll wind up at the parking lot (but see additional note*). To determine which side of the bridge you'll need to ride on, here is the Golden Gate Bridge sidewalk schedule for bicycles:
- West sidewalk: Monday-Friday, 3:30pm to 9pm; Weekend and holidays: 5am to 9pm.
- East sidewalk: Monday-Friday, 5am to 3:30pm, 9pm to 5am; Weekend and holidays: 9pm to 5am.
The west-side sidewalk is accessed simply by riding through the open gate leading from the parking lot to the sidewalk. To get to the east-side sidewalk you'll need to carry your bike down the stairs and under the bridge and then carry your bike up the stairs on the east side.
*Additional note: If you'll be riding up the Alexander Avenue approach to the east-side sidewalk, turn left 100 yards east of Highway 101, and cross over to the bike path along the east side of 101. Be extremely careful (!) crossing this freeway exit lane. Follow the signs to the sidewalk. If you are towing a trailer, this route can be a way to avoid the long, steep stairs during east-side sidewalk hours.