Dream descents are made of open roads, tight corners and beautiful views. Timed correctly, the descent into Muir Woods has all three. Descending from the top of Sequoia Valley Road down Muir Woods Road is an amazing journey. Though not as long as the Stinson Beach descent, Muir Woods is a good way to brush up your descending skills with a long series of technical twists and turns along the 1.5 mile descent. Once at the bottom, there is a rush of endorphins from the wild ride that will carry you the rest of the way to Muir Beach for your return up CA-1.
Distance: from San Francisco Ferry Building 26.62 miles; from the Marin Crossroads 8.19 miles; from Somewhere Over the Rainbow 4.11 miles
Difficulty: Absolutely Wee Fast Fun!!
Descent on Route: 695 feet (212 meters)
Download your route sheet here: Directions – Boom Boom Pow
Download your Ride to Muir Woods and Return to Sausalito Route Sheet here: Directions – Bay to Muir Woods to Ferry
The descent into Muir Woods starts at the top of Sequoia Valley Road and the end of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. This is Marin County Bike Route 6.
From the top of Sequoia Valley Road, cross Panoramic Highway onto Muir Woods Road.
The descending starts right away.
Round the first corner and the next corner looms in the distance as you are already on picking up speed.
Round the next corner and the snaking road ahead gives you a visualization of the ride you are in for over the next mile and a half.
This technical descent is all about control in and out of the numerous corners all the way down the side of the mountain. The mental checklist for cornering running through your mind constantly, “find the line, brake before the turn, inside knee up and out, release the brakes so you don’t lock or slide, initiate the turn, counterstear, hit the apex, accelerate out” and half a second later it starts all over again!
After the first relentless set of corners, you get a brief reprieve to catch your breath and can gain some speed.
And then it’s back to high-speed cornering.
Keep your eyes up to watch for the corners, random pedestrians and cars that are much, much slower than you!
If you get frustrated, you can pull over and give the car a couple of minutes to get ahead of you and start your descent again. No worries if you stop, the grade is steep enough you will pick up speed quickly and be back leaning into the next corner with ease.
Under the canopy, the road starts to degrade and the rough surface makes the descent even more challenging.
Just a few corners left when you see the sign pictured above.
You will then come upon a relatively flat straightaway and the last big turn at the ranger station.
After you round the corner you’ll see the entrance to Muir Woods straight ahead.
Take a break if you need it. Bathrooms are at the end of the parking lot. The descent is over, but there’s still another 2.5 miles until the intersection with CA-1 and Muir Beach.
From the entrance, head to the right.
The next part of the journey is relatively flat with a slight downward gradient. Follow the road and you will pass cars parked along the road.
Muir Woods is not only a great descent for cyclists, but it’s also a favorite spot for hikers. Many trailheads merge near the bottom of the descent.
Not long after leaving the Muir Woods entrance, you will enter Mt. Tamalpias State Park.
Just over a mile from the base of the descent you will come upon a couple of houses.
Then the last mile and a half to CA-1, the trees open up into a valley.
The stop sign indicates you have reached the end of Muir Woods Road and Bike Route 6. This is where The Dog Days Are Over and Boom Boom Pow intersect.
Muir Beach and CA-1 South toward Sausalito and San Francisco is straight ahead, while CA-1 North toward Stinson Beach is to the right.
Go straight at the stop sign toward San Francisco and pass by the Pelican Inn.
The intersection of CA-1 and Pacific Way in Muir Beach is the end of this journey, but the starting point of the trail that returns you from both Muir Woods and Stinson Beach back to Sausalito.
Whether this is your first time on a technical descent or you are brushing up from a long off-season, Muir Woods is fun and challenging. Though on every bike tourist’s map, you don’t see too many there. The rewards of Muir Woods are not only in the amazing ride and spectacular views, but also in the stories you share with your friends from the ride.
WeLikeToBike.com would like to welcome our friend Kelton to our rides! You have seen him in some of the pictures above, stay tuned for him to take the spotlight as one of our featured stunt people in the video for the return to Sausalito!