Marin Headlands Biking and CAmping
We love the Headlands! It's biking paradise, super accessible, with the most stunning views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge anywhere. If you haven't ridden there, it should be on the top of your list. The roads offer a nice day thrilling climbs and descents, while the expansive fire roads offer miles of traffic-free-riding-bliss above it all. The Headlands are great destination for someone just getting into bike camping too-- only about an hours ride out of San Francisco it's the perfect destination for an after-work getaway.
Bicentennial Camp is the most easily accessible bike camping destination in the Headlands. It's a scant 10 miles by bike, with only a few hills to climb, from Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. It's a pretty basic site: food boxes, no fires, porta-johns, and NO WATER (fill up your camel-bak and bottles at the visitor's center). But you can get down with some grilling at the picnic area next door, and because it's so close you can really pack up a feast. Of course, the highlight is cypress-framed views of the San Francisco and the stillness of the headlands at night. Slightly up the road you can park your bike and hike to the Point Bonita lighthouse and also keep riding to the right for memorable views of Rodeo Cove and the rocky coast to the north.
Once you discover the fire trails of the Headlands you find all manner of new vistas and secluded locales tucked away only a few miles from familiar bike locales you've likely already explored. Hawk Camp is one of those discoveries. It is accessible via fire trail that starts from Bunker Rd. through the headlands tunnel or alternatively a short, very steep trail ride from Tennessee Valley Rd. It's a bit of a leg burner but rewards abound. Once you arrive and climb the last hilly bit to the camp, you'll be treated with a panoramic view of the the Golden Gate Bridge and nearly all of San Francisco. A short hike up the hill behind the site reveals some impressive single track and panoramic views of Mt. Tam, the Pacific, East Bay, San Francisco---EVERYTHING! It's so expansive and so close-- really one of the most surprising and pleasant discoveries in Bay Area camping we've found in years.
You'll need to make reservations as there is no hiker-biker, but they are generally easy to secure from the National Park Service's headlands outpost. See the Website link above for the reservation line.