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

Trail: THE DOG DAYS ARE OVER — Cruise Along the Pacific Coast Highway


The route from Stinson Beach to Muir Beach takes place along the nicest part of the Pacific Coast Highway where the road is wide and well-paved, and the views are breathtaking.  Long climbs followed by gorgeous downhills are the rule.  Though the journey to Muir Beach has its share of climbing, it is also filled with picturesque views to distract. This return may not be as challenging as the ride back up Panoramic Highway, but it is definitely more rewarding.  After grabbing lunch in Stinson Beach, gear up and enjoy the views of the Pacific Ocean while making your way to Muir Beach and the next stage of the return to Sausalito.

Distance from San Francisco 33.75 miles; from the Marin Crossroads 19.32 miles; from Somewhere Over the Rainbow 17.24 miles; from A Panoramic View 10.75 miles; from Roller Coaster Ride 6.60 miles

Difficulty:  A Tough Initial Climb and Rolling Hills After

Climb: 712 feet of Elevation Gain

Download your route sheet here: Directions – Dog Days Are Over

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

Elevation Map for the Route provided by MapMyRide.com

When it’s time to leave Stinson Beach, you have a few options to consider.  The first is to continue on to Fairfax-Bolinas Road to the north.

Ride along the main drag of Stinson Beach

You can also return the way you came along Panoramic Highway.

The turn from CA-1 back up Panoramic Highway

Or you can follow the Pacific Ocean along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1) to Muir Beach. If you choose to follow the coast, you are in for a scenic ride.

The beginning of the initial climb along the Pacific Coast Highway

The views of the cliffs, beach and ocean below make the climb much more tolerable.

View along the Pacific Coast Highway

But the views also tempt you to stop and take pictures frequently along the journey.

Miko with Vita (our first journey to Stinson Beach was on the hybrids!), a Hertz Corvette and Stinson Beach below

Don’t pause for too long, there’s still a lot of climbing to go.

Along the climb, there are many places to stop, take a break or take pictures.  Part of biking in this area is enjoying the natural beauty of your surroundings.  Make sure to not miss the incredible views along the ride.

At points along the ride you can see where the coastline juts out into the ocean near Pacifica, more than 15 miles away.

Other points along the journey have the views, but also have the fun of a spectacular downhill.

Though not as technical as the descent to Stinson Beach, these are still fast corners where you can get your tip on.

At the end of this downhill, you have one more climb and a last descent before you reach Muir Beach.  The last climb has great views as well, but is a solid 6% grade the entire time with the most difficult section at the end.

On your way back down you will pass the Muir Beach Overlook.

Then it’s game on for the final descent to Muir Beach and more “wee fast fun” corners.

After a curve to the right over a small bridge CA-1 intersects Muir Woods Road. Follow CA-1 to the right towards San Francisco and to Muir Beach.

A quarter-mile or so down the road, you will arrive at the Pelican Inn.  The entrance is before the sign, so look for the parking lot on your right.  If you see the sign with the pelican…

You’ve just passed the entrance.

The Pelican Inn is owned by the same company as the Mountain Home Inn that was along Panoramic Highway on the climb to Mt. Tam.  This is a great place to get some more food, use the facilities or just relax and take a breather before the next stage of your journey.

From the Pelican Inn you can follow CA-1 all the way back to Marin Crossroads and the Sausalito Ferry.

For now, check our video Three Amigos and enjoy the ride.

Trail: ROLLER COASTER RIDE — Descent to Stinson Beach


Watch the video of our descent to Stinson Beach, California.

Making the journey to Stinson Beach is one of the most satisfying trails in Marin County. There are no tourists out this way because of the difficulty involved in both the climb and descent.   The climb to reach the crest of Panoramic Highway is a long, arduous path, not for the faint of heart or legs. The descent to Stinson Beach is mentally challenging, very fast and highly technical. The switchbacks toward the end are a series of 180 degree turns over rough road which are entered at high speed and long, steep straightaways leading to the next switchback.  The work is worth the reward as this descent is one of the most thrilling in the Bay Area!

Distance from San Francisco 27.15 miles; from the Marin Crossroads 12.72 miles; from Somewhere Over the Rainbow 8.64 miles; from A Panoramic View 4.15 miles

Difficulty:  Fast and Highly Technical

Descent: 1476 feet of Elevation Loss Over the 4.15 mile Descent

Download your route sheet here: Directions – Roller Coaster Ride

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

At the end of A Panoramic View you have the choice of continuing your assent up Mt. Tam along Paying the Toll, descending back to Sausalito, or taking the plunge and descending to Stinson Beach.  If you choose Stinson Beach, you are in for a thrilling, high-speed descent to the Pacific Ocean.

At the crest of Panoramic Highway, you have 4 miles to either the top of Mt. Tam or to Stinson Beach

The descent takes about 10 to 20 minutes, be ready to be in the drops almost that entire time. Cars are a constant factor in slowing you down, but being passed on your way down is pretty unlikely.

The descent starts in the woods and has some high speed straights that lead to sweeping corners.

The corners along this part of the ride are where you will start to catch up with cars.

Though if necessary, you can take a break at the next corner to allow the car more time to get ahead of you, so as to not ruin your ride or overheat your breaks.

The air is always cool on this part of the descent with the canopy of trees.

After spending the first two mile in the woods, you’ll come to an opening and the beginning of the Alpinesque switchbacks.

The panoramic views from the bike here are just picturesque.

It’s worth taking a break to admire the views and take some pictures at this point.

But get ready, the rest of the descent is very tricky.  The straights are steep, very fast with smooth roads, but…

The corners at the switchbacks in this area are the roughest part of the road, so pay attention to your entry speed, or you might end up sliding or crashing.

The nature of these turns allow you to tip the bike to extreme angle on this part of the descent, keeping up your speed through the corners.

The last few switchbacks have long straight aways in between where you have to start peddling for the first time since reaching the crest of Panoramic Highway.

A few of the corners toward the end of the descent are a little less technical than those at the top.

 Don’t fall asleep though, there are still technical corners lingering at the end of the run.  Watch your entry speeds going into these last few corners, the rough roads through the corners make these turns very difficult.

After the last series of swithbacks, the road will level out and end at the Pacific Coast Highway, CA-1.

Make a right to head into Stinson Beach.

When you arrive in Stinson Beach, make sure to stop at the Sand Dollar Restaurant and grab a bite to eat.

Making the journey to Stinson Bach is one of the major achievements for bikers in the Bay Area.  It is a ride that can challenge you both mentally and physically.  Once you’ve made it, you realize the climb and mentally challenging descent were all worth it.  So enjoy a bite to eat before you head back.

Once you are ready to head back to Sausalito, you have two options.  The first is to return on Panoramic Highway the way you came. The second option is to return along the Pacific Coast Highway, CA-1 through Muir Beach and make the climb back to Sausalito. Look forward to this article coming soon!

Until then, you can watch video the of return along Highway One in “The Dog Day Are Over” below. Enjoy!

Trail: WELCOME TO THE TOP OF THE WORLD – Mount Tamalpais Summit


After Paying the Toll, the summit of Mount Tamalpais is almost within reach.  The last stage of the Mt. Tam assent is grueling and sometimes just plain cruel! The steepness of the first mile will push you to your limits before you reach the first of three peaks.  At the summit, take a breath, enjoy the view and brace yourself for a tough climb back to the first peak before you make the descent back to the Bay.

Distance from San Francisco Ferry Building (see Golden Gateway Trail) 27.42 miles; from the Marin Crossroads 12.99 miles; from Somewhere Over the Rainbow 8.91 miles; from A Panoramic View 4.42 miles; from Paying the Toll 2.99 miles

Difficulty: If you’re not prepared for a tough slog back from the summit as well, you might be spending the night on the mountain!

Climbing on Route: 630 feet (192 meters)

Total Elevation Gain from Marin Crossroads: 2641 feet (805 meters)

Download your route sheet here: Directions – Welcome to the Top of the World

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

From the top of Paying the Toll, make a right onto East Ridgecrest Boulevard and follow it all the way to the third peak which is the summit of Mount Tamalpais.

Make a right onto East Ridgecrest Boulevard to Summit Mt. Tam

The first peak is the hardest to reach.  This peak is next to the Doppler Radar station at the top of a 1.25 mile climb.  Though less steep than the climbs on Pan Toll Road, this first climb is lengthy and difficult. By the time you finish the first climb, your legs will be Jello!

View from the top of the first peak

Make sure to pause at this first peak and take in the views of Mill Valley below.  Get some energy back as you take the first descent and start making the climb toward the next peak.

Stand and push up the second climb and take another break at the top of the second peak.

The view from the second peak gives you better views of Tiburon and Sausalito

From the top of the second peak, the views of Tiburon and Sausalito get closer.  One last peak to climb before heading back.

Another short descent and the last peak is all that stands between you and the summit.  The last climb is steep.  Once you make it to the summit, take in the views and know you’ve climbed over 2,500 feet on your way to this point!

View of Tiburon, Belvedere, Strawberry, Mill Valley and Sausaltio from the summit of Mount Tamalpais

On a clear day, you can see San Francisco, East Bay and all over Marin County from the summit of Mount Tamalpais.  At over 2,500 feet in altitude, you can see above the fog as it rolls over San Francisco Bay.

The historic Mt. Tam Fire Lookout and Ranger Station

At the summit, you can lock up your bikes and take a stroll up the stairs to the Fire Lookout and Ranger Station.  On a clear day, you can see not only San Francisco and East Bay, but also out to the Farallon Islands (to the west and 25 miles off-shore in the Pacific Ocean) and it’s even been reported that you can see the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada range 150 miles to the east.  At the parking lot, there are bathrooms and a water fountain at the top so you can relieve and refill.  Enjoy your time at the summit, because once you are ready to go, you have more hill climbing awaiting.

Elevation Map for the Route provided by MapMyRide.com

Another 300 feet of climbing over two more hills looms once you leave the summit of the third peak.  The return to the second peak is a breeze compared to the climb back to the first peak.  The climb to the west peak is almost a half-mile long and is very steep.  Push through this tough climb and then it’s all down hill from there.

Once you’ve gone there and back again, the summit of Mt. Tam allows you have options of where to go next.  You can continue on Ridgecrest Boulevard and head towards Fairfax-Bolinas Road, or you can turn back down Pan Toll Road and go to Mill Valley or Sausalito. If you’re feeling particularly adventerous that day, you can even head to Stinson Beach from where A Panoramic View and Paying the Toll meet. No matter which way you decide to go, after reaching the summit of Mount Tamalpais, you have entered a club with others who have pushed themselves to conquer this beast! Enjoy the journey, but make sure to stop and enjoy the view as well.

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.

Trail: A PANORAMIC VIEW – Mount Tamalpais, Part 2


The second stage of the Mount Tamalpais climb contains some of the most breathtaking views in Western Marin County.  Follow Panoramic Highway as it winds and climbs from Sequoia Valley Road to Pan Toll Road.  Topping out at just over 1500 feet, climbing the 6.5 miles to the crest of Panoramic Highway is an achievement alone. No matter what direction you choose to go next, you’ll feel like a rockstar when you arrive!

Distance from San Francisco Ferry Building (see Golden Gateway Trail) 23.00 miles; from the Marin Crossroads 8.57 miles; from Somewhere Over the Rainbow 4.49 miles

Difficulty: If you think you can huff it out with some of the Bay Area’s seasoned cyclists, give it a shot!

Climbing on Route: 925 feet (298 meters)

Total Elevation Gain from Marin Crossroads: 1529 feet (493 meters)

Download your route sheet here: Directions – A Panoramic View

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 end of Sequoia Valley Road, turn right on Panoramic Highway.

After a brief break from climbing as you pass the Yoga on the Mountain sign, a half mile of very tough climbing begins.

Yoga on the Mountain at the Muir Woods Community Center

The climbing begins

The initial two hills are broken up by a short flat where you have your first views of the valleys below.

Passing over the valleys and climbing through the mist

The second climb, as you reach the curve signs, you are almost there

At the top of the second climb you reach the only descent on this stage.  Enjoy this pedal-free section as you take in spectacular views.  The fog will break and views of the peaks around Mt. Tam and Muir Woods below will open.  Though the route is sparsely populated, the Mountain Home Inn sits about halfway through this part of the trail.

Take a break and glide down the descent

If it starts out foggy, you

 

The peaks around Mt. Tam start to appear at this point along Panoramic Highway.

Muir Woods is visible in the valley below

Mountain Home Inn

If you are seeking a break or food before the next part of the assent, the Mountain Home Inn is a great place to stop and eat lunch.  Amazing views of Mill Valley, Strawberry and Tiburon await you at the outdoor seating.

Follow the sign and keep climbing along Panoramic Highway.  The next mile and a half of the route takes twists and turns through the woods.  With flat to moderate climbing along this section you can pick up the pace.

You will notice the beginning of the major climb when you start slowing down and your legs begin to burn.  This last mile and a half of the route is a tough, steep slog through the woods up to the crest of Panoramic Highway.  Bootjack picnic area signals the last quarter mile of the climb.

At Mount Tamalpais State Park, Panoramic Highway reaches its peak and signifies the end of this section of the Mt. Tam trail.

Entrance of Mount Tamalpais State Park

To the left, the descent to Stinson Beach. To the right, Pan Toll road and a continued assent of Mount Tamalpais looms.

With the final climb on Panoramic Highway over, you have a few options of what to do next. If a descent is calling your name, you can take a break, enjoy the spectacular descent into Stinson Beach and the views that go along with it.  Just remember that what goes down, must climb back up.  If your legs are still feeling strong, there are two more stages of climbing to summit Mt. Tam.  Watch for our trail “Paying the Toll” detailing this assent coming soon.

If you are done climbing, the descent back to Sausalito down Panoramic Highway is seven fast and furious miles of twists and turns skimming the ridge above Muir Woods.  You’ll easily keep up with the 30 mph speed limit and only be slowed down by the Sunday drivers.