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The Richmond–San Rafael Bridge Path provides safe passage between its two namesake communities located in Contra Costa and Marin Counties. At first glance, the pathway may seem more utilitarian than thrilling, but that’s before you truly experience the bridge: pedaling along an interstate highway some 185 feet above the San Francisco Bay at its highest point is an adventure not soon forgotten.
The bridge itself first opened for service in 1956, but it wasn’t until 2019—after decades of advocacy for safe accommodation—that it was opened to bicycle and pedestrian traffic. The bridge has stacked lanes traveling in each direction across the bay; the Richmond–San Rafael Bridge Path shares the upper deck with westbound automobiles, though it’s well separated from traffic by concrete barriers.
Starting at the western end in San Rafael’s Jean & John Starkweather Shoreline Park, you’ll have access to restrooms, parking, and the San Francisco Bay Trail, a planned 500-mile pathway encircling the bay and connecting more than 130 parks. Exit the park to the west, traveling through a large parking area, and pop out onto Francisco Boulevard East. Turn left and ride east on-road or on the sidewalk 0.3 mile to a small trailhead facility (the entrance will be on your left) at Francisco Boulevard East and Main Street for expansive views of the bay.
Continuing east, the height and enormity of the double-decker bridge start to build as you approach it. Be prepared for a modest climb but consummate rewards when you reach the top of the bridge’s arc: unobstructed views of the San Francisco Bay to the north and, weather permitting, glimpses of San Francisco to the south.
At the eastern end of the bridge, the path continues another 1.5 miles to its endpoint at the intersection of Castro Street and Tewksbury Avenue. A bollard--separated bike lane provides additional access along the lightly trafficked Tewksbury Avenue into the quaint Point Richmond neighborhood, which is full of great eating and entertainment options. Take some time to explore. There is a bike-share station on Tewksbury Avenue at the Castro Street pathway entrance.
Parking areas are located within San Rafael and are listed from west to east. *Indicates that at least one accessible parking space is available.
Jean & John Starkweather Shoreline Park* Accessible from Francisco Blvd. E., 0.3 mile east of Morphew St. Look for a small blue sign labeled Public Shore Parking directing you into a parking lot for the Bay Park Center; drive through this private lot to a dead end where parking for the park is located.
Point San Quentin parking* Francisco Blvd. E. and Main St; parking is limited.
Visit the TrailLink map for detailed directions.
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