Mt Tamalpais: Bolinas Fairfax-Ridgecrest

Saturday, February 17, 2018

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This counterclockwise loop meanders through the city streets from Mill Valley to Fairfax before climbing up Bolinas Fairfax Rd up to Pine Mountain and descending through the gorgeous redwoods to Alpine Lake. It climbs out from the lake up through the redwood forest to W Ridgecrest Blvd for the spectacular run along the top of Bolinas Ridge to Rock Springs. Continue climbing up on E Ridgecrest Blvd to the summit of Mt Tam.

Begin at the Hauke Park parking lot off Hamilton Dr in Mill Valley. The multi-use path takes you across Pickleweed Inlet onto the Mill Valley-Sausalito Path heading north to E Blithedale Ave.

Continue north with a climb up Camino Alto; it’s 1.3 miles with an average grade of 4.4% followed by a fabulous sweeping descent on smooth pavement into Corte Madera.

Meander through the city streets of Corte Madera on Magnolia Ave to Larkspur and continue on Kent and Poplar Ave into Ross.

The jog along Lagunitas Rd and Shady Ln takes you along a residential neighborhood into San Anselmo.

Marin County Bike Rte 20 weaves along San Anselmo Ave through the downtown area of San Anselmo onto Center and Broadway Blvd in Fairfax.

Head west on Bolinas Rd towards Deer Park Villa.

Turn SW on Bolinas Rd; it’s a narrow stretch of road that winds up 2.1 miles with gradient ranges of 7-11% through a residential neighborhood to the Meadow Club Golf Course.

The road name changes to Bolinas Fairfax Rd at the Mt Tamalpais Watershed sign. This quiet back road continues to climb for 1.3 miles to the Azalea Hill Trailhead with an average grade of 5%.

The road sweeps down and around into the shaded woodlands.

Bolinas Fairfax Rd narrows as it winds down through the beautiful redwoods on rolling terrain out to Alpine Lake/Dam! Enjoy the views!

After crossing Alpine Dam, the road tilts up at the first right hairpin turn. it continues uphill on a narrow road under the gorgeous canopy of trees for the next 2.2 miles with an average grade of 7% and steep pitches of 10-11%.

After the third switchback, it’s a short 0.2 mile up to the ridge at W Ridgecrest Blvd.

The next 3.8 miles on W Ridgecrest Blvd takes you along the gorgeous Bolinas Ridge.

The run along the ridge towards Rock Springs consists of a series of giant rolling climbs with gradient ranges of 9-13%-enjoy the ride!

Enjoy the views!

The road continues winding around the ridge before dropping down to the parking lot at Rock Springs Trail Head.

E Ridgecrest Blvd to the summit is 3 miles long with an average grade of 6% as it snakes up around the mountain.

At the gated Air Force Station, the road kicks up with steep grades of 9-13% up to the first high point!

There are several vista points on the way up the mountain, pull over and enjoy the dramatic views of SF, Marin and beyond!

From the high point, E Ridgecrest continues for another 1.6 rolling miles.

The road descends onto Old Railroad Grade Trail which leads up to the East Peak summit.

Arrive at Mt Tam-enjoy the phenomenal views!

To descend Mt Tam, you have to climb about 300 feet to the high point with grades of 6-10% before actually descending the mountain.

The sweeping fun descent on E Ridgecrest leads down to the Rock Spring parking lot followed by another dramatic twisty downhill on Pan Toll to Panoramic Hwy.

Panoramic Hwy winds down the mountain on super smooth pavement under the shade of the magnificent redwood groves out towards Mountain Home Inn. The road continues with a short uphill and levels out along the residential neighborhood to Four Corners.

Descend Sequoia Valley Rd and Edgewood to Molina for the return to Mill Valley. Cut across Hauke Park back to the parking lot.

This is one of my favorite rides-Ridgecrest Blvd is by far one of the most beautiful roads in the entire SF Bay Area! You’ll enjoy the gorgeous climb up Bolinas Fairfax Rd and the spectacular views along Bolinas Ridge. Don’t be put off by the low miles; every pedal stroke is well earned and rewarded with stunning vistas and great descents!

Garmin Stats:
40.1 Miles with 4347′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 2520′
Max grade: 13%
Terrain: Extremely hilly with steep climbs

Weather: Sunny, warm & breezy. Temps ranged from the mid 50’s to the mid 60’s with NE > W winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:


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