Alpine Dam Loop - Cycling
Though pretty challenging, the 67-mile Alpine Dam Loop is one of the most beautiful rides in the Bay Area.
You can tweak your mileage depending on where you start the ride, but leaving from the San Francisco side of the Golden Gate Bridge, the loop is about 55 miles.
Destination Distance From Downtown
You can adjust the total distance of the loop depending on where you start from, but you can count on at least 55 miles and about 5,000 feet of climbing for an epic workout in the saddle. The climbs are brutal and descents are screaming fast, so the ride isn't recommended for novices.
Time To Complete
If you're hitting it really hard, you can crank out Alpine Dam in less than five hours. But mere mortals will likely need more time for a breather at different spots along the route.
Though the route is doable year-round, spring and fall are ideal times for tackling it. During the summertime, hordes of tourists crowd the Golden Gate Bridge and filter up through the Marin headlands, and winter rains (though not so much during California's longstanding drought) make roads slick and descents more dangerous.
The route is along public roads, so there are no fees or permits required at any point.