Fort Point, Golden Gate Bridge To head down the Pacific Coast, turn right on Lincoln Avenue, which takes you to Bike Route 95. A more scenic route is to head toward the bridge from Battery East on the bike path, go under the bridge, and come around to Merchant Street, which takes you to Lincoln Avenue. If headed farther south, you may also want to veer off Lincoln at El Camino del Mar for a more scenic route, on Bike Route 395, which goes past the Legion of Honor and back out to.
The ride through the Presidio to Golden Gate Park is 3 miles, with a couple hundred feet of up-and-down. Pedal to your right on Lincoln Avenue from Battery East.
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You circle under the bridge, and then veer left on Bike Route 65 at Ralston Avenue. Follow route 65 as it curves, climbs, and blends with several different streets, eventually popping out of the Presidio at 15th Avenue and Lake Street. Take Bike Route 69 south along 15th Avenue. Go left at Cabrillo Street and right on Funston into the park.
Marin Peninsulas Hawk Hill.
The written history of Marin may have begun 175 years earlier if it hadn’t been for fog. Around 1600, an English sailing ship and at least two Spanish vessels made landfall on the far shores of Marin. But the doors of the Golden Gate had been veiled by the white vapor, and it wasn’t until 1775 that the Spanish vessel San Carlos, under the command of Lt. Juan Manuel de Ayala, sailed through and made landfall off the Tiburon Peninsula at Angel Island.
The next 75 years, slow as they were in terms of written history, were turbulent times in the lore of the Coast Miwok who had inhabited the bays and valleys of the Marin peninsulas for centuries. Their culture was substantially lost as the Spaniards later the Mexicans when the country was annexed established forts, missions, and a system of huge rancheros. Then in 1849, the Mexicans themselves were displaced as the Mother Lode shocked their world as much as they had the Miwok’s.
Tiburon and Sausalito, Marin’s two cosmopolitan towns, greet tourist ferries that shuttle from San Francisco. Today, galleries, restaurants, quaint seaside streets and yacht harbors draw the crowds. In the 1850s, the sites were attractive for their deep-water harbors along a coast of mudflats and cliffs, and in the lee of the prevailing weather. Richardson Bay, between the peninsulas, was safe anchorage for full-rigged ships awaiting their loads of wheat from Port Costa, farther up San Pablo Bay.
A few decades later, the towns came into their commercial being as the ports at the end of the line for railroads that connected them to redwood mills and quarries. The materials were hoisted on ferries and shuttled across the bay to build San Francisco. Those days in southern Marin were filled with industrious labor, and the free-for-all Barbary Coast spirit was alive at night.
When the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937, the peninsula towns began a slow transition from can-do villages to high-end residential communities with the scenic resources to draw tourists from around the globe. In the post-WWII boom, residential demand increased exponentially, and the scenic resources that attracted the multitudes beaches, trails, vistas, wetlands, coastal bluffs were in jeopardy. In recent decades steps have been taken to keep southern Marin’s scenic gifts intact, and real estate prices have gone through the roof.
In 1962, Angel Island was made a California State Park. In 1972, Congress established the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the world’s largest urban park, three-quarters of which 54, 000 acres is in Marin County. The Marin Headlands portion of the GGNRA covers most of the Marin Peninsula. In 1982, Ring Mountain Preserve was established by the Nature Conservancy, a park that has since been taken over and expanded by the Marin County Open Space District. In between these peninsula ridges are large city parks run by Mill Valley and Tiburon with paths along the shores of Richardson Bay.
Visitors to San Francisco may not truly appreciate its splendor until they catch the views from the Headlands, Angel Island, and the Tiburon Peninsula. In the Marin Headlands are the high cliffs west of the Golden Gate Bridge, offering vistas of one of the world’s great waterways, as well as routes down to the rugged coast, at Kirby Cove and Fort Baker.
The Headlands roll north from the gate high, rounded ridges covered by dwarf coastal shrubs, grasses and seasonal flowers. Two major valleys extend inland from the Pacific, at Rodeo and Tennessee beaches. Rodeo Beach is the center for this portion of the National Recreation Area, with a visitors center, several nonprofit organizations and numerous trailheads. Northward from Rodeo is the ridge that separates it from Tennessee Valley, which has its own beach and system of view trails. And still northward from Tennessee is the ridge that falls to Muir Beach which lies below the forests and chaparral on the southern slopes of Mount Tamalpais.