Mount Tamalpais

Friday, January 2, 2015

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Day 2-Three Peaks Weekend: This clock wise loop heads NW along Panoramic Hwy to Pan Toll Rd for the climb up to the summit of Mt Tamalpais. The route continues along the top of the beautiful Bolinas Ridge followed by a twisty descent under the redwoods to Alpine Lake. It climbs up to Pine Mountain before dropping into the town of Fairfax.

We head up Miller Ave to Throckmorton Ave and Cascade Dr.

The turn on Cascade Dr takes us through the redwoods around Old Mill Park to Marion Dr. Marion Dr winds up along the canyon through a beautiful residential neighborhood with homes nestled in the woods; it climbs up to Edgewood Ave with gradient ranges of 6-9%.

Edgewood Ave continues to climb up through the neighborhoods with an average grade of 5.5%.

We head south on Sequoia Valley Rd to Panoramic Hwy at Four Corners; the climb is 0.6 mile with an average grade of 6.3%. The top of Sequoia Valley Rd opens up to magnificent views of south Marin!

The next 4+ miles on Panoramic Hwy takes us along the ridge as we weave our way through the residential neighborhoods. There is a short section of steep climbing with grades of 9-11% before you reach Mountain Home Inn.

Panoramic Hwy continues winding along the ridge before gently dropping down into the redwoods around Mt Tam State Park. The road continues to twist and turn as we make the gentle climb under the canopy of pines and redwoods up to Pan Toll Rd.

The climbing continues on Pan Toll Rd up to the Rock Springs parking lot. Take the time to enjoy and savor the great views along the way! The average grade on this 1.4 mile climb is at around 5.5%.

E Ridgecrest takes us for an out and back to the summit of Mt Tamalpais; it’s a steady 1.4 mile climb up to the highest point with an average grade of 6.7% and a short steep section with grades of 12-15%. On the climb up, there are several vista points-pull over and enjoy the dramatic views of SF, Marin and beyond!

From the high point, the road continues with a few short climbs and a couple of descents. The hiker/bike path on Old Railroad Grade Trail at the bottom of the descent will lead up to the summit. There are a few picnic tables and a bench at the outlook area. It’s a cool 38F at the top of the mountain.

Enjoy the magnificent views at the Vista Point!

We descend Mt Tam East Peak from the upper parking lot onto Ridgecrest Blvd; it regains 250+ feet on the climb back up to the West Peak summit with gradient ranges of 6-10%.

The sweeping descent from the West Peak drops down to the Rock Springs parking area. We stay on Ridgecrest Blvd and head west for the fun rolling climbs atop of Bolinas Ridge.

The rollers along W Ridgecrest Blvd provides us with more spectacular views; you can see Stinson Beach and the vastness of the Pacific Ocean! The road drops down through the redwoods to Fairfax Bolinas Rd.

Bolinas Fairfax Rd descends to Alpine Dam; it’s a twisty bumpy 2.5 miles to Alpine Lake.

Bolinas Fairfax Rd continues to gently climb out from the lake area before dropping down to the S turns through the gorgeous redwoods. The road exits the woods and tilts up for a short bit before leveling out for about a mile to the base of the climb up Pine Mountain.

The climb up to the summit at Pine Mountain trail is 0.8 mile with an average grade of 6.3%.

The fast sweeping descent on Fairfax Bolinas Rd drops down pass The Meadow Country Club to Bolinas Rd. Bolinas Rd continues down through a residential neighborhood with many hidden driveways-use caution!

We meander our way through the town of Fairfax on Broadway Blvd to Center Blvd. The wiggle along Bike Route 20 on San Anselmo Ave goes through San Anselmo to the residential neighborhoods along Shady Ln and Lagunitas Rd to Ross. Kent Ave leads out to Magnolia Ave and Old Downtown Larkspur.

The turn on Redwood Rd drops onto Tamalpais Dr into Corte Madera. We climb our way around the hillside homes along Chapman Dr to Camino Alto; it’s 0.9 mile with an average grade of 5.3%.

Camino Alto drops down along the east edge of Camino Alto Open Space Preserve to E Blithesdale Ave into Mill Valley.

This is one of my favorite rides in the Bay Area; the effort spent on all the climbs is greatly rewarded with the phenomenal natural beauty this area provides! Two Peaks down and one more to go-Mt Hamilton, here I come!

Garmin Stats:
39.70 Miles with 4485′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2509′
Max grade: 15%
Terrain: Extremely hilly

Weather: Sunny and cool with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the high 30’s to the mid 40’s. NE winds with 81% humidity.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Mount Tam

Follow this route for today’s ride:


  1. Hello Nancy, are there any roads in area that have bike lanes or shoulders?
    BTW, registration now open for Alta Alpina Challenge………..
    Best, Wayne

    Hi Wayne, Not much shoulder along these back roads, but we try to avoid riding around there on the weekends. Hope all is going well for you.
    Happy New Year! Nancy


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