This ride is best timed in the spring to see the reservoirs at peak levels and encounter maximum wildlife, but is beautiful at any time of the year. This 18.8 mile loop is a lovely training ride with rolling hills (only 731 ft. elevation gain), gorgeous scenery and wineries – should you care for a break. I park on the road to start my ride on Uvas Road just north of where it forks into Glen Oak Avenue. From here, I start my ride heading south on Glen Oak, passing the Chesbro Reservoir and then turn right on Sycamore Drive to Watsonville Road, making a final right turn on Uvas Road and cruising back along the Uvas Reservoir.
Strava map of the route.
Early May is an ideal time for this ride, the wildflowers are generally out in full force, and if you’re lucky you’ll see male turkeys displaying their full plumage around the region. There’s only one real hill to contend with, and it’s not terribly long, though it is steep. I love doing this ride at a casual pace on weekend mornings before traffic picks up, and then stopping by a winery on my way home. I recommend Clos La Chance, or if you want to stop mid-ride, Sycamore Creek is a fun place to drop in.
Male turkeys on display. Photo credit: Lisette
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.