San Francisco to San Jose – Bay Trail Route

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Peninsula to East Bay
The fastest and cheapest way to get from the Peninsula (Palo Alto area) to the East Bay is to bike over the Dumbarton Bridge and take BART. The routes described below connect the Palo Alto Caltrain Station with the Union City BART Station.

An 8-ft wide separated bike path is available next to Highway 84 and on the south side of the Dumbarton Bridge. Most of the rest of the route includes streets with bike lanes.

The Fastest Route – 15.0 miles
This route includes one rather stressful highway overpass (Highway 101 & Willow Rd). To avoid it, take the Ringwood Avenue detour described in “A Safer Route” below.

The tricky part is finding the short steep dirt path just after crossing the bicycle/pedestrian bridge over Highway 84 at the toll plaza that connects the bridge to Quarry Rd. The dirt path is on your right immediately after crossing the bridge (coming from Marshlands Rd). Be careful, it’s steep – way too steep to ride up or down it!


Another Fast Route – 15.0 miles
This route includes two highway overpasses (Highway 101 & Willow Rd, Highway 880 & Decoto Rd) and two sections of high-volume, high-speed traffic streets with narrow bike lanes (1 mile on Willow Rd in Menlo Park and 2 miles on Decoto Rd in Union City).

The trickiest part is finding the ¾-mile long bike path that connects Lake Blvd with the Highway 880 & Decoto Rd interchange. It’s very dark at night and very bumpy.


A Safer Route – 16.5 miles
This route avoids the nasty highway overpasses required on the 15.0-mile routes described above. The Ringwood Ave Bike Bridge is used to cross Highway 101 in Menlo Park and Thorton Ave is used to cross Highway 84 in Newark. It also avoids the steep dirt path connecting to Quarry Rd and the dark and bumpy hard-to-find ¾-mile bike path.


An Even Safer (and more scenic) Route – 19.5 miles
This route doesn’t require any highway overpasses at all and uses the Alameda Creek Trail instead of Paseo Padre Parkway. The Alameda Creek Trail is a wide bike path with great views, but several miles of it are hard-packed dirt with some bumpy sections. The dirt section is rather far out in the Bay where it’s often quite windy.

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