Saturday, May 18, 2013
We’ve been having beach like weather lately, so let’s head on out to the beach! Limantour Beach is located within the Point Reyes National Seashore and is very accessible on a bike with one caveat-be prepared for some steep climbs!
This 100k route begins on Miller Creek Rd across from the Marinwood Community Center in San Rafael. This is a great place to start a ride; there’s plenty of street parking with no time restrictions and water and restrooms are available at the park or at the community center during their open hours.
We head west on Lucas Valley Rd for 9.4 miles; the first few flat miles along the valley leads to the one mile 7-9% climb up to the summit at Big Rock. The rolling descent drops down the valley passing residential homes through the beautiful wooded areas and towering redwood forests of Central Marin.
Click on any photo below to start the gallery slide showWe continue south on Nicasio Valley Rd for 3.8 miles; the flat rolling terrain goes pass the many horse ranches and equestrian arenas before the half mile 7-8% climb up to the gap. The quick descent on the other side goes beneath the redwoods down into the town of San Geronimo.
The turn on Sir Francis Drake Blvd takes us further west through the towns of Forest Knolls and Lagunitas into the Golden Gate Nat’l Recreation Area. The flat terrain through the redwoods along Lagunitas Creek to Samuel P Taylor Park is gorgeous! It’s also wonderful that the road has been repaved all the way from Lagunitas out to the bridge.
We take a left at the entrance to Camp Taylor Campground and follow the paved road through Samuel P Taylor Park. At the end of the road continue straight through onto the Cross Marin Trail. This quiet narrow trail cuts through the redwoods and continues along the edge of Lagunitas Creek out to Platform Bridge Rd. This is a great detour from having to stay on Sir Francis Drake Blvd with cars and no shoulder area. At the end of the trail, stay to the path on the right, this will lead you across to the other side of the road for the climb up Olema Hill.
The climb up Olema Hill on Sir Francis Drake Blvd is 0.8 miles with grades of 7-9% up to the top of the ridge. The road opens up to fabulous views of the surrounding hills and forests of Pt Reyes Nat’l Seashore followed by a fast descent into the town of Olema.
We continue on Hwy 1 north to the turn onto Bear Creek Rd; this 1.8 mile of road leads to the Bear Valley Visitors Center, the Olema marshes and to Limantour Rd.
The climb out to Limantour Beach from Limantour Rd is 8 miles long; it begins on relatively flat terrain up to the first right turn up under the canopy of trees. From that point the grades increases to 4-5% with steeper pitches of 9-10%. There is one section of the road that narrows due to a recent slide.
The road winds up through the woods with grades of 7-9%; there is a wide turn out area with fabulous views of Tomales Bay-take a moment to enjoy it! The tree-lined road goes up along the ridge with gorgeous views of the surrounding forests and mountainsides.
What comes next is a fast roller coaster of a hill; the 17% drop is immediately met with a short steep 16% wall-get your gears ready for the ride! The road then continues through the conifer forests across Haggerty Gulch up to Inverness Ridge.
The rolling climbs along the forested ridge opens up to phenomenal views of Drakes Bay! Look around to take in the surrounding landscape of chaparral covered hills and conifer forests-WOW!
We drop down to Limantour Beach, pass the parking lot and follow the road all the way to the end. There is a picnic area with tables and benches along with standard pit toilets and a water fountain.
I cross the bridge over the wetland and marshes for the short walk over to the beach. The coastal grasslands over the rolling dunes flow softly as the winds continue to blow-it’s like watching a dance!
On the beach, a memory quickly comes to mind as the soft warm sand fills up inside my shoes. I always remember happy days at the beach with my family-everyone was always laughing and having a great time, being at the beach does that to you. It’s peaceful and relaxing; it’s the simplicity and beauty of nature at its finest! This beach is much less crowded than Stinson and is very clean.
One road in, one road out-the descents are all climbs and vice versa! The gusty winds are blowing me over to the other side of the road, I have to lean hard into the opposite direction to fight it! The steep climbs out leads you back up to the ridge followed by a fun sweeping descent through the forest back out to Bear Valley Rd.
We continue around Bear Valley Rd to Sir Francis Drake Blvd and Hwy 1 to Pt Reyes Station for a brief stop at the Bovine Bakery.
We continue on Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd for the next 6.2 miles down and around Black Mountain for the spillway climb up to Nicasio Reservoir. The flat terrain going around the reservoir has fantastic views of the golden hills and pastoral lands of Marin.
The return on Lucas Valley Rd begins through the redwood forest and gently ascends through the valley up to the summit at Big Rock. It’s always great to finish a ride with a nice downhill followed by a fast run along the flats back to Miller Creek.
Today’s ride out to Limantour Beach has become one of my favorite routes! A few steep climbs along this less traveled road can’t hurt, so take the challenge and head out to the beach for some peace and tranquility, you won’t be disappointed!
62.29 Miles with 4685′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 761′
Avg grade: 5%
Max grade: 17%
Weather: SUPER! Sunny and warm with strong gusty west winds at the beach. Temps ranged from the mid 50’s to the mid 80’s
It’s all about where your mind’s at. ~ Kelly Slater
Follow this route for today’s ride: