Author Topic: Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco  (Read 8038 times)

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Offline RudolfH

Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco
« on: February 04, 2014, 02:52:08 pm »
In May my girlfriend and I will cross the USA from the East coast to San Francisco. From Pueblo we'll take the Western Express route. On the map we bought from Adventure Cycling Association it shows that from Vallejo you have to take the Ferry to San Francisco. We would prefer to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to finaly arrive to San Francisco.
Does anyone know which would be the best bicycle route from Vallejo to San Francisco?
Or is there maybe a Ferry from Vallejo to Sausolito or San Rafael and from there we could cross the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco?

Thanks a lot for your help!

Rudolf from Switzerland

Offline cgarch

Re: Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2014, 06:32:16 pm »
In my view the best route is to actually take the ferry to SF. Consider riding out to the Golden Gate Bridge and hang out on it and ride back. Otherwise . . . CA 37 or CA 12. Details . . .

You would head north out of Vallejo before heading west on 37. 37 is a busy two lane with lots of heavy truck traffic. It has fairly broad shoulders and traverses the impressive San Pablo Bay Marsh. And I can say I have seen touring cyclists out here. While scenic, the traffic is not much fun (especially after traversing US 50 . . ). Once it returns to land at Sears Point, the road changes to a 4 lane highway. Shoulders continue to be fairly good, but as you reach US 101 you will be directed to side streets in Novato. The route from Novato to Sausalito is convoluted at best. Consider ordering the Marin County Bike Coalition map of the area to plan that. There are some dedicated bike trails on what remains of the former railroad right-of-way from Larkspur south.

You could also consider CA 12, a bit further north. Not much better though for the same reasons - scenic but heavy traffic. And there are stretches with zero shoulder forcing you to side roads which are great, but convoluted. And you're further north making it a longer run to rejoin the route to Sausalito.

Feel free to ask for any more detail on the area.

Santa Rosa, CA

Addendum: if you Google 'Vallejo to Sausalito' and select the bike route option, drag it over to 37 (it defaults to the ferry) it will take you to a logical bike route. From Sausalito you would continue on to the bridge and into the city.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 04:24:20 pm by cgarch »

Offline CMajernik

Re: Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2014, 11:02:18 am »
You might want to check this website for the cycling map of north San Francisco. I don't know if it covers Vallejo though.
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline cgarch

Re: Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2014, 12:30:15 pm »
Judging from the website and the list of updates, it appears to cover Vallejo. Would really help if he had larger map with a boundary of the area covered . . That being said, I think one can get just as much info from a Google route search. The route choice is fairly limited. It's a fairly urban area at that point and services are not hard to find. The Google route correctly picks up the bike routes so that's a plus.


Offline jamawani

Re: Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2014, 02:32:36 pm »
Actually, there is a very nice way to get to the coast north of San Francisco and come across the Golden Gate Bridge.  I understand your reasons for doing so.

When you get to Davis on the Western Express, continue on only as far as Winters, then take Hwy 128 over the ridge to the Napa Valley (famous for its vineyards) and Silverado Trail south to Napa.  From Napa there are a series of back roads to Petaluma that let you avoid most of Hwy 121 and Hwy 116 - Old Sonoma, Hwy 121, Napa, 5th, Watmaugh, Arnold, Hwy 116, Adobe, Washington.  From Petaluma, take Point Reyes Road to Hwy 1 on the coast.  Point Reyes has some spectacular backcountry campsites on the coast, but they require reservations, I believe.  Weekends might be tough, but a weekday night may be possible, even just a day before.  Point Reyes is off the main route; however, there is also a backcountry campsite right on the cliff at Golden Gate just north of San Francisco.

Anyhoo - you can then follow Hwy 1, the Pacific Coast Bike Route, south to the Golden Gate Bridge - remembering to get off the main highway in Sausalito and follow city streets and trails.  It is generally well marked - or you can get the map section from ACA.

Have a great trip - J

PS - You do know that Nevada is empty and will be hot by late July or August, non?  If you have toured in Morocco or Algeria, you may have encountered something similar - except that there are way more people and villages in North Africa.  Vide.  Leer.

Offline cgarch

Re: Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2014, 02:55:05 pm »
I considered offering that route or something similar, but I think there are some disadvantages: It would add about 3 days to the trip, it adds some significant climbing and, until they reach the coast, there are few if any camping choices except wild camping (there is a KOA in Petaluma). It also involves some convoluted route planning. The good news is that Cal Trans completed a beautiful widening of CA 116 between Sonoma and Petaluma and it is now feasible to ride that road between the two towns. All that being said, the pleasure of reaching the coast is worth it.

Offline RudolfH

Re: Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2014, 04:20:46 am »
Thank's a lot for your help. Adding 3 days to the trip sounds reasonable to me. I think it's worth the additonal effort an reach SF via Hw1 and over the Golden Gate bridge. :D

Offline nick.bonnell

Re: Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2014, 04:34:33 pm »
There are some good possibilities already given but would like to add a couple more.  Carla's suggestion of a Krebs map to be spot on.  I use the krebs maps for lots of short treks.
A possibility to get to the coast could be to cut out at Winters as Jamawani suggested.  It is a nice climb from Winters to Napa County but you can also head towards Fairfield and head out towards the coast from there.
From Fairfield you head out Rockville Rd to Suisun Valley Rd into Wooden Cross Rd.  Wooden Valley dead ends at Hwy 121 (a.k.a Monticello Rd) where you can make a left climb a tad and drop down into Napa Valley.  At the Silverado Trail, make a right maybe do a little wine tatsing, and finish the day at Bothe-Napa Park which is four miles past St. Helena along Hwy 29 and has a hiker-biker campsite.  If the dorught here doesn't change anything, the park has a swimming pool too.  Next day head out hwy 19 into and through Calistoga to hwy 128. Up 128 into Sonoma County following left on Alexander Valley Rd into Healdsburg. From healdsburg, head out towards River Rd (aka Hwy116) via Westside Rd.  River Rd dead ends at Jenner on Highway 1.  There is camping along along Hwy1, there is camping at some Sonoma Coast State Beaches as well as in Bodega Bay area.  From Bodega, you have a nice last day along Hwy 1 to Point Reyes Station, then wiggling through Marin County to san Francisco. 

Offline AndrewCh

Re: Best route from Vallejo to San Francisco
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2015, 09:07:47 am »
Thanks for this, guys. I'm wrapping up my NJ to SF tour and was looking for ways to avoid the Vallejo ferry. I think I'm going to ride from Davis to Petaluma using jamawani's suggestion in reply #4, and then it seems like a pretty simple path down from Petaluma using these directions from the Davis bicycle wiki  -- in San Francisco (north bay route #1):

That should only add on one extra day. I've been averaging close to 70 miles per day, so I think it's within reason. What do you think, anything I haven't considered?