Muir Woods-Hwy 1-Stinson Beach-Fairfax Bolinas

Friday, July 11, 2014

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Today’s hilly ride goes for a clockwise loop from Mill Valley up to Four Corners onto Muir Woods Rd. It drops down to Muir Woods for a flat ride through Santos Meadow to Muir Beach and climbs north on Hwy 1 to the top of the ridge. The rolling terrain along the coast heads down into Stinson Beach for a fun roll along Bolinas Lagoon. It continues with a long climb up Fairfax Bolinas Rd to the top at Ridgecrest Blvd and drops down to Alpine Lake for another climb up to Pine Mountain. The return to Mill Valley includes a easy flat jaunt from Fairfax to San Anselmo and Corte Madera followed by a short climb up Chapman Dr.

We head north on Miller Ave to the downtown area around Depot Plaza.

The turn on Cascade Dr takes us through the redwoods and woodsy homes around Old Mill Park.

Marion Ave winds up along the canyon on a narrow single lane road through a beautiful residential neighborhood nestled in the woods. The climb is one mile long with an average grade of 4.7% and steep pitches of 8-10%.

The climbing continues on Edgewood Ave with an average grade of 5.5% for a short 3/10th of a mile up to Sequoia Valley Rd. Sequoia Valley leads us out of the residential neighborhoods to the top of the ridge at Four Corners; it’s a 0.7 mile climb with an average grade of 6.3%.

At Four Corners, we drop steeply down Redwood Canyon on Muir Woods Rd to the entrance into Muir Woods National Monument.

Muir Woods Rd continues for 2.4 flat miles along Frank Valley to Santos Meadow to Muir Beach; this road cuts through the surrounding dense forests and mountain slopes adjoining Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Mt Tamalpais.

At Muir Beach, we turn north on Hwy 1 for the steep climb up to the ridge; it’s one mile in length with an average grade of 8.1% and steep pitches of 10-12%!

Hwy 1 levels out at the top of the ridge with dramatic ocean and mountain vistas!

Hwy 1 drops down along the rocky coast for a series of rolling climbs and descents towards Rocky Point trailhead-the views are phenomenal!

The road levels out for a short bit before quickly descending into Stinson Beach. 


Our lunch stop is at Stinson Beach; you can pick up something to eat and drink at the Stinson Beach Market or splurge on hamburgers, hot dogs and ice cream at the Parkside Snack Bar.

Stinson Beach Park located across from the Snack Bar has a Porta-pottie and a good flowing water fountain.

We continue north on Hwy 1 for the flat 4.4 miles along the Bolinas Lagoon.

The turn onto Fairfax Bolinas Rd is easy to miss; there is no signage-it’s approximately 200′ after coming up upon the orange intersection sign. Fairfax Bolinas Rd is a steady 4.5 miles climb up to the summit at Bolinas Ridge. The average grade is 6.3% with steep pitches of 9-12% around the switchbacks.

This quiet less traveled narrow road winds up from the wetlands into the woodlands to the first steep switchback. Look around and enjoy the view of Bolinas Lagoon!

The road continues to snake up through the pencil straight coniferous forest and coastal oaks.

The summit is near as you enter under the deep shade of the towering redwoods at Bolinas Ridge.

The descent on Fairfax Bolinas Rd down to Alpine Dam is fairly technical with several tight turns-use caution on this rough road!

Fairfax Bolinas Rd gently climbs out from Alpine Lake followed by a gorgeous shaded descent through the heart of the forest with a fun series of S turns.

The road exits the woodlands and gradually winds back up along the mountain to the summit at Pine Mountain; it’s 0.8 mile with an average grade of 6.3%.

The fast sweeping descent on Fairfax Bolinas Rd leads to open greens at Meadow Club. The road name changes to Bolinas Rd and continues to descend down from the mountain into the town of Fairfax.

We meander our way out of town on Broadway Blvd to Center and take the Marin County Bicycle Route 20 on San Anselmo Ave to Shady Ln and Lagunitas Rd into San Anselmo. Magnolia Ave rolls through the towns of Kentfield and Larkspur to Corte Madera.

The climb up Chapman Dr to Corte Madera Ridge is 1.2 mile with an average grade of 4.75%. This narrow single lane road winds up and around a residential neighborhood with minimal to no traffic.

Camino Alto snakes down into Mill Valley back to Safeway on very rough pavement-use caution!

This challenging scenic route is front-loaded with climbing through the redwoods out to the coast! Enjoy the fresh ocean air and the majesty of nature-this route is all about quality of miles over quantity of miles. The roller coaster ride along Hwy 1 is a must-do experience!

Garmin Stats:
43.0 Miles with 4301′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1486′
Max grade: 12%
Terrain: Extremely hilly 

Weather: Cloudy overcast skies with some afternoon sun. Temps ranged from 50F in the morning to an afternoon high of 71F. SW winds with 64% humidity

Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile


Follow this route for today’s ride:


One Comment

  1. Hi,

    I can’t find Michael’s email address anymore. L

    I have pretty much retired now, so anytime you guys are riding in my back yard, it would be very nice if I could join you and catch up. I’ll buy lunch.

    Hope to see you soon. We are doing C.O. this year. YOU??

    Best, Bill Stephens, cell 510-612-2511.

    Bill, CONGRATS on retiring! I’ll have Michael contact you to make arrangements for getting together and ride. We’re not doing Co this year, we’re set to do a two week climbing tour around the Eastern Sierra. See you soon! Nancy


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