MTB Trail: Miwok Trail – Tennessee Valley to the Marin Headlands


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If you are up for a challenge, the Miwok Trail adds a degree of difficulty to your ride with its technical climb out of the Tennessee Valley back towards the Marin Headlands.  With its horse trail stairs and deep ruts, this is no trail for beginners.  Conquering this trail gives you appreciation for your front shock and builds your climbing prowess.

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Distance: 5.75 miles  (9.3 km)

Elevation Gain: 1068 feet (325 meters)

Difficulty: This trail has a technical assent with stairs and a fast descent back toward the Marin Headlands.  This is definitely an intermediate ride.

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Starting at the Tennessee Valley parking lot, walk your bike through the Miwok Stables until you see the trail on the right next to the manure pit.

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This is the beginning of the Old Springs Trail.

The Old Springs Trial has a series of stairs and bends as you climb the 1.3 miles to the Miwok Trail.

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This trail can get technical in spots where the dirt gets larger rocks and the pitch increases.

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Continue to follow the Miwok Trail as it continues to roll over the wooden bridges before turing onto the Miwok Trail.

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At the top of Old Springs Trail, make a right onto the Miwok Trial and start the descent.

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The descent is fast, so check your brakes and stay in control.  Watch out for the deep ruts and hikers on the descent as well.

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As the descent flattens out, watch for a turn to the left to return to the Bobcat trail and the Marin Headlands.  The left turn is 2.75 miles from the start.  If you make the left, watch for a quick right just after a set of stairs.  Follow this trail for a few hundred feet to the bridge and make a right, then a left on the other side of the bridge to return to Bunker Road.

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Or…

If you miss the turn (like I did on this particular run), continue straight on the Miwok Trail and you will end up in a parking lot along Bunker Road.

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Make a left on Bunker Road and follow it to the entrance to the Coastal Trail on your right, the same trail you came down on our Bobcat Trail route.

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Follow the Coastal Trail as it climbs its way back to the roundabout in the Marin Headlands.

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Go through the gate and start up the trail.

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As you experienced on the way down, this trail narrows in places and has loose rock in others.

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Continue winding your way back up the trail and through the narrow single-track.

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At the top of the climb, you’ll be back at the parking lot next to the roundabout and will be able to see the familiar red paint on the North Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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While challenging, the Miwok Trail is rewarding not only for the views, but also the sense of accomplishment once you realized what your mountain bike and you can do!  Enjoy and stay safe.

 

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Trail: THE LARKSPUR CONNECTION


Connecting to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal is one of the easiest ways to return to San Francisco from a ride in Marin County. The route takes you from the end of the Marin Crossroads, through one of our favorite short descents we call “The Chase Scene,” through the town of Larkspur and back along another multi-use path to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.

Distance from San Francisco Ferry Building (see Golden Gateway Trail): 22.65 miles; Distance from Marin Crossroads: 8.22 miles; Distance from Sausalito: 12.24 miles
Elevation Gain on trail: 305 feet
Difficulty: It’s not about the road, it’s about the destination. With a mix of on-road riding and multi-use paths, this rolling eight miles runs from the end of the Marin Crossroads to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal and is a short, but fun adventure.
Download your route sheet here: Directions – Larkspur Connection
The path to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal begins at the end of the Marin Crossroads.
At the light, cross East Blithedale Ave. and continue down the path along Route 5 until you reach the the first paved intersection, and make a right and continue to follow Route 5 down the path.
Continue along Lomita Drive past the hill where the local horses graze.
Lomita Drive turns left up a hill to the path that follows along US-101.
Keep to the left and follow Route 5 to Meadowsweet Drive.
Continue along Meadowsweet Drive as you cruise downhill.
At the “Y” in the road at the bottom of the hill, veer left and continue along Meadowsweet Drive.
At the next intersection, make a right toward the stop light, continuing along Route 5.
Continue through the light along Madera Boulevard.
Follow Madera Boulevard until you reach the stoplight at Womum Drive.
Just before Womum Drive, merge onto the sidewalk to cross Madera Boulevard at the crosswalk.
Follow Route 16 along the Larkspur Bike Path until it ends at Montecito Drive.
 An alternate to the Route 16 bike path is to take the path to the right after the bridge, Route 18, and follow Lucky Drive to the bridge over the channel as seen in The Sharks Fin.
Turn left at Montecito Drive, then make a right at the stop sign onto Tamalpias Drive.
Make another quick right at the light on to Magnolia Avenue and Route 15.
Follow Magnolia Avenue, Route 15 towards Ross, through downtown Larkspur.
Go through the light at the bottom of he hill and stay towards the center of the lane at the next light staying in the bike lane.
After the light, hop up on to the path on your right.
Follow the path until you reach Bon Air Road.  Once you reach Bon Air Road, this is the point where you would continue along Magnolia Avenue to reach San Anselmo, Fairfax and beyond.
Take a right on Bon Air Road, follow it over the bridge and make a right onto South Eliseo Drive.
Follow South Eliseo Drive, Route 20, just over a mile, up the hill and down to the bike path along the channel.
Follow the bike path until you reach the bridge…
Keep following Route 20 toward the Larkspur Ferry as it winds under the overpass and over the wooden bridge.
Then follow the path next to Sir Frances Drake Boulevard all the way to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.
Make a right just before the parking lot entrance.
Once you reach the Larkspur Ferry Terminal your journey is complete.  Check the ferry schedule for times, but most of the ferries go directly to the San Francisco Ferry Building, except for the 5:30 p.m. ferry on weekends which stops in Sausailto first.  If you are going to take this ferry, make sure to check out The Hat Trick to protect your bike from the heavy comfort bikes of the tourists.
Whether your goal is to have another way of getting back to San Francisco from deeper into Marin, or you just don’t feel like riding back to the city after cycling Paradise Loop, the Larkspur Ferry Terminal adds another option for your return home.

Trail: PAYING THE TOLL — Mount Tamalpais Stage 3


Pan Toll Road the shortest stage of the climb to the summit of Mount Tamalpais, but it’s also the toughest. The route is full of relentless double-digit grade assents.  If you are looking to test your grit and stamina, this is the place to do it.  Once you pass the first mile, you can stop and break for some pictures of the sweeping views around you and then press on through the last half-mile of the stage.  At the end of the trail you feel as major sense of accomplishment because you know you’ve made it through one bad ass climb!

Distance from San Francisco Ferry Building (see Golden Gateway Trail) 24.43 miles; from the Marin Crossroads 10.00 miles; from Somewhere Over the Rainbow 5.92 miles; from A Panoramic View 1.43

Difficulty: HC (hors catégorie) aka this would be a steep climb on the Tour de France! 

Climbing on Route: 531 feet (171 meters)

Total Elevation Gain from Marin Crossroads: 2011 feet (649 meters)

Download your route sheet here: Directions – Paying the Toll

Download your route sheet for the entire Mount Tamalpais Route here: Directions – There and Back Again

FOR A MORE DETAILED LOOK click here for the full Geoped Map provided by g-map-pedometer.com.


Elevation Map for the Route provided by MapMyRide.com

At the crest of Panoramic Highway and the end of A Panoramic View, the summit of Mount Tamalpias still lies four miles away.  Before reaching the top of Mt. Tam, you will have to conquer Pan Toll Road.

To begin the next stage of ascending Mt. Tam, turn right from Panoramic Highway onto Pan Toll Road.

Pan Toll Road is the entrance to Mount Tamalpais State Park.

The first section of climbing is step with very little shoulder room, so watch out for the passing by.

Gradient looking toward Panoramic Highway at the turn onto Pan Toll  Road

You will get a slight reprieve from the constant climbing and the road will level off for a short stint before the steep grade returns.  The road turns around corners as the grade changes from gradual to steep to moderate.  Theses series of turns will take you to the one mile marker of the route where you are presented with your first opportunity to break.

Steep climbs and sweeping turns typify the climb along Pan Toll Road

The first rest area is a great place to take pictures of your adventure and to rehydrate.

A vista with a view of the climbing you have just completed and the Pacific Ocean

The road to come is the steepest and toughest climbing of the stage

The last part of the climb is short, but extremely steep all the way to Ridgecrest Boulevard.

There is one more rest area along the last section of the climb.  This is a good place to stop if you need a short break. At the end of the climb along Pan Toll Road you will reach Rock Spring.

Rock Spring is at an elevation of 1940 feet above sea level.  The slight descent along Panoramic Highway increases the total elevation gain from Marin Crossroad to over 2000 feet! Once you reach this point, you can either turn left onto West Ridgecrest Boulevard and  take in the spectacular views of Stinson Beach and Bolinas below, or turn right onto East Ridgecrest Boulevard and begin the final stage of ascending Mount Tamalpais.

Reaching the top of Pan Toll road is no small feet, with over 2000 feet of climbing, conquering this advanced route is what many Bay Area bikers do when they are up for a challenge and want a spectacular descent as their reward.  The steep climbing turns into steep descending with technical twists and turns as you make your way back to Mill Valley or Sausalito.