Trail: THREE AMIGOS! — Return from Muir Beach to Sausalito Along Pacific Coast Highway


WARNING: THIS TRAIL IS CLOSED UNTIL AT LEAST MARCH 2015!

Descents are the reward after climbing to the top of Sequoia Valley Road or Panoramic Highway. The former takes you on a beautiful journey through Muir Woods, the latter takes you on a magnificent 4 mile descent to Stinson Beach. While Stinson Beach requires a series of climbs to make your way along the Pacific Coast Highway to Muir Beach, the second half of the route from Muir Woods is relatively flat.  These two routes intersect at the Pelican Inn along CA-1.  The pattern of a tough climb being rewarded by a great descent is remains unbroken in The Three Amigos.  The return begins with a tough narrow climb along CA-1 with traffic nipping at your heals.  If you can time the cars just right, you will experience a fantastic, high-speed return back to the Marin Crossroads.  Each path that leads to this return is its own unique adventure. That adventure continues on in The Three Amigos’ journey to Sausalito.

Distance: from San Francisco Ferry Building 35.11 miles; from the Marin Crossroads 16.68 miles; from Somewhere Over the Rainbow 12.60 miles; from Boom Boom Pow 8.49 miles

Download your Ride to Muir Woods and Return to Sausalito Route Sheet here: Directions – Bay to Muir Woods to Ferry

Distance from San Francisco 42.24 miles; from the Marin Crossroads 27.81 miles; from Somewhere Over the Rainbow 25.73 miles; from A Panoramic View 19.24 miles; from Roller Coaster Ride 15.09 miles; from Dog Days Are Over 8.49 miles

Download your Ride to Stinson Beach and Return to Sausalito Route Sheet here: Directions – Bay to Beach to Ferry

Difficulty: A tough climb on a narrow road with no shoulder followed by a fast and fun descent that can be interrupted by “Sunday Drivers”
Elevation Gain on Route: 623 feet (190 meters)

Descent on Route: 676 feet (206 meters)

Download your route sheet solely for Three Amigos here: Directions – Three Amigos

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

From the Pelican Inn, there is one last hill to conquer before the exciting descent and return to the Marin Crossroads and Sausalito.

Miko stands atop the last hill between you and Sausalito from Muir Beach

Continue heading south on CA-1 from the intersection with Pacific Way.

Head south along CA-1 past Pacific Way

Hopefully the drivers you encounter along the way heed this sign

The beginning of the climb is hidden around the first corner.

Ketlon takes point and Miko readies herself for the tough climb ahead

THE WORK:

Round the first bend and you get a preview of you life for the next 2.2 miles: switchback, blind corner, switchback, blind corner…

Often the cars pass you closely on this shoulderless, narrow road.

Other times, you get a brief distraction from the climbing.

As the Ferrari F430 passed by we got a brief reprieve from the climbing, if only in our minds

With steep gradients, the standing climb is your friend on this hill.

Though only sometimes necessary, passing other bikers on the narrow road requires, speed, control and a bit of luck to get a long enough break in the traffic.

Poised in the standing position, Kelton overtakes a slower mountain biker during a brief break in the traffic.

The standing climb can also be used to work different muscles to not tire your legs too quickly.

Although the scenery doesn’t change much as you continue around the next corner, make sure to enjoy the views around you.

A small shoulder is present in some areas of the climb.

As you keep climbing you can eventually see the top of the climb.

The top of the climb is at the base of the pine trees in the upper right side of this picture.

As the distance to the top gets shorter, a good standing climb helps Kelton keep pushing his way to the top.

Kelton dances in the saddle

The base of the pine trees (center) signifies the top of the climb is getting near.

Just a few more stints of out of the saddle climbing and you’re almost there.

Turn the corner and you can almost see the definition of the trees.

Then you realize you still have a few more turns to go.

Although closer, you still have a few more switchbacks to climb before the reach the top.

The road starts to reduce in gradient as you get closer to the top, keep up the RPMs and you will start to gain speed.

As the top nears, these two road signs indicate the last two switchbacks before the top.

At the sight of the last corner the blood rushes back to your legs.

Rounding the last turn, a spot to rest is just a few hundred feet away.

Kelton approaches the rest area after burning up the hill.

Once at the top, you realize the amount of traffic passing you was not just your imagination.

The top is a great spot to rest for the other members of the party still climbing.

Miko makes it into the resting area after a personal best time up the hill.

Timing is everything in this next portion of the ride. The relatively flat section between the resting area and the intersection with Panoramic Highway gives you a bit of a chance to get ready for the downhill portion of the journey. If timed well, the journey is fast and exciting. If timed poorly, you’ll catch a car quickly and be on your breaks the rest of the way to the bottom.

Watch the cars rounding the visible corners, when no other cars are in sight, that’s your queue to go!

Miko watches carefully for a clear path.

After leaving the rest area, you have a quick jaunt through the woods on a slight decline.

 

Which leads you past the intersection of Panoramic Highway and CA-1 and to…

How long do other bikers last in front of Miko on a downhill?

The downhill section of this ride has a wide assortment of twists, turns and straightaways.

Not only can cars be an obstacle, wildlife can be as well…notice deer, stage right.

The rolling, twisting road make for incredible fun if you can manage to get a section without cars!
After you exit the woods you have a few more turns to go before you reach the intersection of Shoreline Highway (CA-1) and Almonte Boulevard.
Though we were able to catch the entire downhill without running into any cars, be mindful, the “Sunday Drivers” are out in force every day of the week on this section and can ruin your descent.  Have fun, but be mindful of the cars.
Once you reach the intersection of Shoreline Highway and Almonte Boulevard, make a right at the light and follow Shoreline Highway until you reach the on-ramp for US-101.
At US-101, check for cars and head to the middle lane, you’ll be going straight through the next two lights and under the overpass.
At the other side of the overpass, Marin Crossroads is on your left.  Check for cars again and get over in the left turn lane.  When clear, cross over to the Marin County Bike Path.
Follow the bike path to its end at Mike’s Bikes.
Get in the turn lane and wait for the light to turn green, then cross over to Bridgeway.
Follow Bridgeway through this section of Sausalito.
Through the stop lights.
 And up over the hill towards Fred’s Coffee Shop.
Then through the next pair of stop lights.
After the second light, the lanes will split at the Y-intersection ahead, go to the left. Check the lane and position yourself to merge into the upcoming bike lane next to the left lane.
Continue straight on Bridgeway and past A Bicycle Odyssey and through the next light.
Then just a another half-mile to the light in front of Bacchus & Venus.
Watch for traffic and get in the turn lane to make a left into the ferry terminal.
Make a right into the parking lot and head towards to boat.
Then get in line for the boat back to San Francisco.
Once on the boat enjoy a drink and the views of Alcatraz on your way back to San Francisco. Make sure to check out The Hat Trick to safely park your bike on the boat.
The return from Muir Beach is a tough climb at the end of a long ride, but once you are to the top, the rest of the way to Sausalito is literally downhill from there! If you do take the ferry home, make sure to listen to the Ferry Boss and enjoy the ride home!

Trail: BOOM BOOM POW! — Descent into Muir Woods


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

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

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.

Miko at the entrance to Muir Woods, Panoramic Highway and Muir Woods Drive

From the top of Sequoia Valley Road, cross Panoramic Highway onto Muir Woods Road.

Intersection of Sequoia Valley Road, Panoramic Highway and Muir Wood Road

The descending starts right away.

Entrance to Muir Woods

View from the Top

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.

The road snakes below as you further descend into Muir Woods

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!

Miko executes perfect cornering technique as she leans and counterstears while hitting the apex of one corner and has her head up looking at her path through the next.

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!

Cars on this road tend to be driven by tourists who can go as slow as 10 mph.

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.

And you might even see the car you gave a two-minute head start to at the end of the descent.

Welcome to Muir Woods

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.

View from the entrance to Muir Woods

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 Pelican Inn is on your right, just before Pacific Way.

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!

Miko and Kelton at the top of Marin Headlands

Kelton and Jon taking a break at the top of Marin Headlands

Trails: RIDIN’ DIRTY – Cycling San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito and Marin A Preview of Great Things to Come from WeLikeToBike.com


Do you wonder what it’s like to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge? Ride down Alexander Avenue into Sausalito? Or experience the sweeping curves and final descent in the back of Tiburon? Or are you looking to rent a bike on your San Francisco vacation, but don’t know what to expect?

Well look no further! No matter your interest or experience level, WeLikeToBike.com takes you along for the ride! WeLikeToBike.com has stepped up to bring you videos shot on GoPro HERO HD helmet cam of the trails we like to bike best!

Watch us RIDIN’ DIRTY down our favorite descents, expertly navigating through tourist traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge and along the Embarcadero with cars, vans, buses, bikes and the like and other great things to come.

CHECK BACK FOR MORE! As we post more videos of the best in California cycling.