Muir Woods to Hwy 1, Panoramic & Mt Tam

Saturday, June 16, 2012

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The weather forecast for today calls for triple digits in the inland areas. We decide to go coastal to enjoy the cooler temps. The plan is to ride out from Mill Valley to the four corners and go down to Muir Woods, up Hwy 1 to Stinson and climb Panoramic Hwy to Pan Toll and Mt Tam.

We head NW on Miller Ave and take Cascade Dr to Marion, and Edgewood up to Sequoia Valley Rd. This hilly start goes by Old Mill Park and the beautiful residential neighborhoods nestled in the redwoods.

We reach the four corners at the top of Sequoia Valley and take the twisty fun descent to Muir Woods on Muir Woods Rd. The ride along the valley is pretty flat all the way to Hwy 1.

The climb up Hwy 1 to the top of the ridge has gradient ranges from 7-9% along with steeper pitches of 10-11%! Take the time to enjoy the surrounding views of the ocean and Mt Tam.

The 6 mile ride along this rolling stretch of Hwy 1 is so stunning; you have to take the time to pull over and admire the views. It’s very captivating! From the distance, you can catch a glimpse of Sutro Tower amidst the early morning haze.

While dropping down to Stinson Beach, we can see all the early morning beach goers already taking their spot on the shoreline.

We take Panoramic Hwy and head NE up to the Pantoll Campground. The 3.6 mile climb up Panoramic is very pleasant with an average grade of about 6%. There’s not much traffic heading up to Tam today-everyone is heading down to the beach! The first half of the climb is pretty much exposed with no shade and the second half is ridden under a canopy of trees. You know you’re near the top when the road opens up to the sky.

The climbing continues up Pan Toll Rd to the Rock Springs parking lot at Mt Tam. The views are ridiculous-you can see the San Francisco skyline-WOW! The average grade for this 1.4 mile climb is around 5.5%.

We stop and decide to have lunch at Rock Springs; there is a small picnic area located under the trees above the parking lot.

We bypass going up to the summit and continue on West Ridgecrest Blvd to Bolinas Fairfax Rd. The ride along this ridge is one of the most beautiful sections of road in the SF Bay Area! It’s a must do!

The descent on Bolinas Fairfax Rd to Alpine Lake is very twisty with a few hairpin turns. The road conditions are not so great either-watch for all the debris and small potholes.

Bolinas Fairfax Rd continues to climb up out of the dam followed by a fun descent with lots of S turns. The road pitches up once again for a short distance followed by another flattish descent which will bring you to the final climb up to Pine Mountain.

The descent from the Golf Course down Bolinas Rd is fast-watch for the hidden driveways along this stretch of road!

From Fairfax, we take San Anselmo Ave all the way to Kent and follow the bike route out to Larkspur. The last climb of the day is up Chapman Dr; it’s a nice alternative to climbing up Corte Madera Ave back to Mill Valley.

This is another fine way to spend a wonderful day! I’m so happy to be back on the bike!

43 miles with 4529′ of elevation gain

Weather: Sunny and warm with clear blue skies! temps ranged from the mid 70’s to high 80’s


How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!
~John Muir

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Follow this route for today’s ride:

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