This is modified slightly from the "real" 49-mile drive, to make the following short additions:
  • Telegraph Hill
  • Coit Tower
  • Lombard Street (the wiggly bit - how could a driving tour of SF not include this?)
  • Fort Point
  • Golden Gate Bridge Vista
  • Haight Ashbury (Nothing much to see and a little run down, but if you want to get a picture of the streetsign, this will get you there)
  • Link from Cesar Chavez to the Embarcadero via the Mission Bay district rather than via the freeway.

These bring it up to the "52 mile drive", but I think the additions are worth it.

This route takes you through some very congested areas. Avoid any time near rush hour and watch out for idiots. During peak "tourist" times, bring your patience and your sense of humor.


Only residents may park in the Coit Tower area on weekends.

Some roads in Golden Gate Park are closed to vehicular traffic on weekends, but all of the 49 Mile drive is open, so you will not be affected if you stay on the route.

Links to files of the route:

GPS Exchange Format version (.gpx)
Garmin Mapsource version (.gdb)
KML route version (.kml)
Microsoft Streets and Trips

Google Maps version:

(broken into 3 sections to accomodate Google Maps limitations)
Google Map 1/3
Google Map 2/3
Google Map 3/3

Photo hints:

The crooked bit of Lombard is VERY photogenic, both itself and for the vistas. From the top, late afternoon light is best, tremendous view of Coit Tower and the bay. From the bottom, morning light is best. Parking near there is nonexistant... be prepared to park far and hike back if you want to take photos. It would be extra cool to make 2 loops, leaving someone at the bottom to get a photo of you descending the street the second pass.

The Palace of Fine Arts is better in morning light.

Of course that all presumes sunshine, which truthfully should not be expected.

Tips for motorcyclists:

A rider will have little chance to sight-see while mounted. Staying on the route and avoiding hazards will take all your attention. Riding safely in SF requires your full attention. Pretty cool for your passenger though.

Some San Francisco grades are VERY steep. Filbert Street and 22nd Street have sections with a 31% slope. And it drizzles or is foggy there a LOT. Be extra cautious, especially if you are 2-up on a loaded touring bike, unless you are used to accellerating up a steep grade from a stop in those conditions. Leave a BIG gap between you and the next vehicle, and have an exit strategy already planned.

If there is more than one bike in your group, discuss your steep-hill start maneuvers ahead of time, and leave each other plenty of room for screwups.

This is not overly paranoid advice.

Be extra cautious around cable car tracks, especially when wet. They are much worse than train tracks, and you really need to stay on your toes to avoid hooking a tire in the "gap".

Skip the wiggly bit of Lombard St. if it's wet. It's a brick surface with 8 back-to-back hairpin turns on a 27% grade. 'Nuff said. The center especially is very slick.