Marin: Marshall Wall

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

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This counter-clockwise loop heads out from Marinwood on Lucas Valley to Nicasio and Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd. Climb Rocky Hill for the descent through Hicks Valley and go west along Marshall Petaluma Rd for the beautiful climb up “Marshall Wall” to the top of Bolinas Ridge. Continue along Tomales Bay on Hwy 1 S for a stop at Marshall Store and Pt Reyes Station. Complete the loop with a return along Nicasio Reservoir on Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd to Nicasio and head back through the redwoods on Lucas Valley Rd to Miller Creek.

Lucas Valley begins on flat to tolling terrain for the first 3.5 miles along the valley floor.

The road tilts up for the climb up to the Big Rock summit; it’s one mile long with an average grade of 7.2%.

Lucas Valley drops down into the valley through the gorgeous redwoods to the ranches and grasslands of West Marin.

Nicasio Valley Rd to Nicasio Square.

Nicasio Valley Rd stretches 3.3 miles along the SE edge of Nicasio Reservoir to Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd.

Head NE on Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd for the climb up Rocky Hill; it begins with gentle grades for the first 0.8 mile to the Clover Organic Farm sign. From there, it’s a 0.6 mile ascent to the summit with an average grade of 7%.

Drop down into the valley towards the Marin French Cheese Factory.

The road continues through Hicks Valley with wonderful views of the open meadows and Hicks Mountain.

Head west on Hicks Valley Rd for the short climb up and over Hammock Hill to Marshall Petaluma Rd.

Continue heading west on Marshall Petaluma Rd for the next 6.5 scenic rolling miles. This quiet back road takes you through the valley with scattered ranches and farm houses.

Cross Walker Creek to the red barn at Walker Creek Ranch Retreat and continue on rolling terrain through Verde Canyon to S/2 Ranch.

The ascent up “Marshall Wall” begins at the old white farm-house at S/2 Ranch; the first section of this stair-step climb is 0.6 mile with steep grades of 9-12%.

The climb eases up for a short bit with lesser grades before continuing along Bolinas Ridge for another 0.6 mile to the summit with grades of 7-8%.

Look around and enjoy the spectacular views of Tomales Bay and the surrounding ridge top landscape!

The descent on Marshall Petaluma Rd can get very fast; it drops down to the large wooden barn and cattle ranch. It continues along the back side for a short climb before dropping to CA-1.

Turn left and head south along Tomales Bay on CA-1 S to Marshall.

Lunch stop-Marshall Store.

Stay on CA-1 S for the next 7.6 gorgeous rolling miles along Tomales Bay towards Pt Reyes Station.

There is one short climb from Pt Reyes Vineyards to the Tomales Bay Trailhead.

Mesa Rd goes around a residential neighborhood at Pt Reyes Station.

Stop at Pt Reyes Station.

Climb up CA-1 N to Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd; the road drops down along Nicasio Creek followed by a short climb up to Black Mountain Ranch. It continues on gentle rolling flat terrain to the junction at the colored bridge.

Stay on Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd for the climb up the spillway to the top at Nicasio Reservoir.

Pt Reyes Petaluma Rd continues on flat terrain around the reservoir for the next few miles to Nicasio Valley Rd.

The flats on Nicasio Valley Rd takes you back along the SE edge of the reservoir to Nicasio.

Return under the beautiful redwoods on Lucas valley Rd for the gentle mile long climb to Big Rock summit.

The descent from Big Rock on Lucas Valley Rd requires much caution; there are several very sharp left hand turns with decreasing radius! The run down Lucas Valley Rd finishes off with a fun flat stretch back to Miller Creek Rd.

This is a wonderful ride along the quiet beautiful back roads around West Marin from the redwoods to the open valleys out to the coastal bay! The challenging gorgeous climb up and over Bolinas Ridge offers spectacular views of Tomales Bay!

Garmin Stats:
61 Miles with 3425′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 779′
Max grade: 12%
Terrain: Flat-rolling with a few low hills and one steep climb

Weather: Plenty of sunshine and blue skies. Temps ranging from the low 40’s to the high 60’s with NE winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Marshall Wall

Follow this route for today’s ride:

Shorter route from Nicasio-41 Miles: