Pt Reyes: Pierce Point Ranch-Tule Elk

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

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This ride goes out to the beautiful less traveled northern end of Pt Reyes National Seashore, it travels through the town of Inverness on Sir Francis Drake Blvd to Pierce Point Rd. The remote stretch of road heads out through vast open pastoral lands to Pierce Point Ranch and the Tule Elk Preserve at Tomales Point.

This ride begins at Nicasio Square in Nicasio.

Turn right on Nicasio Valley Rd; it stretches 3.3 miles along the SE edge of Nicasio Reservoir to Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd.

Turn left and head west on Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd for the scenic flat miles around Nicasio Reservoir. Enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding rolling hills.

Meet up with the group off Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd at the Old Cement Factory parking lot.

At the STOP sign, go straight onto Platform Bridge Rd; the flat rolling terrain goes along a quiet back road to Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

Cross the Old Platform Bridge at the Cross Marin Trail for the climb up Olema Hill; it’s 0.8 mile with an average grade of 7.4% up to the summit at Bolinas Ridge.

The road quickly descends through the Golden Gate Nat’l Recreation Area onto CA-1 N to Olema with fantastic views of the dense forests and open ridge top!

A short jog on CA-1 N leads to Bear Valley Rd; this back road runs along the east edge of Pt Reyes National Seashore with views of the low marshlands and wooded greens.

Continue on Sir Francis Drake Blvd to Inverness; the road hugs the shoreline along Tomales Bay through the small residential and business community around Pt Reyes National Seashore.

Gorgeous views of Tomales Bay!

The climb up Inverness Hill to the summit on Inverness Ridge is 0.9 mile with an average grade of 8.7% and steep pitches maxing out at 11%!

The short descent drops down to the Y junction-turn right onto Pierce Point Rd.

The road continues up Inverness Ridge through the coastal pines for 0.9 mile with an average grade of 4%.

Enjoy the views of the coastal grasslands, chaparral, and dense woodlands. The road levels out for a short bit along the ridge towards Tomales Bay State Park.

Pierce Point Rd turns westwards as it continues on a rolling descent through the Point Reyes Peninsula’s gorgeous open pastoral lands dotted with grazing cattle and Historic dairy ranches.

Historic H Ranch to Abbotts Lagoon:

Abbotts Lagoon to Historic I Ranch:

Historic I Ranch to Kehoe Beach Trailhead:

From Kehoe Beach Trailhead, there is a short 0.4 mile climb with an average grade of 5.8% followed by a descent towards Historic J Ranch.

After passing through J Ranch, the road kicks up at the cattle/creek crossing to the top of the ridge; it’s 1.1 mile with an average grade of 7.7% and steep pitches of 10-13%!

Enjoy the magnificent views of Tomales Bay and Pt Reyes Peninsula-WOW!

Pierce Point Rd continues along the top of the ridge on rolling terrain towards Tomales Point.

The road continues around the ridge towards the Tule Elk Preserve.

The road drops down from the ridge to Pierce Point Ranch; enjoy the stunning views of the nineteenth-century complex!

Stop at Pierce Point Ranch-Historic buildings

The climb out from the ranch to the ridge top is one mile with an average grade of 6.6%.

Watch for the magnificent Tule Elks!

Retrace the route back through Pt Reyes National Seashore area to the top of the ridge at Tomales Bay State Park. Descend from ridgeline back through the Historic ranches and Abbotts Lagoon for the return towards Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

Reverse your way back along Sir Francis Drake Blvd; the short climb is followed by a very fast descent with a couple of tight turns-use caution! Sir Francis Drake Blvd continues on a gentle rolling descent back through Inverness. At the Y intersection, turn left to stay on Sir Francis Drake Blvd and take Hwy 1N into Pt Reyes Station.

The short climb up CA-1 N leads you out of town to Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd. Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd winds along the north edge of Golden Gate Nat’l Recreation Area and the south base of Black Mountain; it gently follows the curvatures of Lagunitas Creek. The terrain is mostly flat with one short pitch up to Black Mountain Ranch.

At the colored bridge, continue NE on Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd to the Spillway climb; it’s 0.5 mile with an average grade of 5%.

Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd flattens out at the top at Nicasio Dam. The road goes around the reservoir with great views of the blue waters and golden hills.

The flat terrain on Nicasio Valley Rd continues around the reservoir into Nicasio.

This is a spectacular ride around Pt Reyes National Seashore from Nicasio to Tomales Point. You’ll enjoy cycling along the remote road through the Historic Ranches and open dairy lands to Pierce Point Ranch and the Tule Elk Preserve. Allow yourself time to explore the area and soak in all the natural beauty that surrounds you! You’ll love the unspoiled quiet calm of the coastal grasslands and meadows; it’s a sharp contrast to the urban setting and noise we encounter on a daily basis!

Garmin Stats:
54.55 Miles with 3602′ of elevation gain
Max Elevation: 625′
Max grade: 13%
Terrain: Moderately hilly with steep climbs

Weather: Sunny & warm. Temps ranging from the mid 60’s to the high 80’s with E > SW winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:



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