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  1. #1
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    Summer riding in Marin

    Hi all,

    I'm returning to the sport after a 10 year absence and am loving being back in the saddle. Having a blast riding in my backyard on Mt. Burdell, have hit China Camp, and last week did Big Rock for the first time (from Lucas Valley Road). It's getting dry and loose out there and I'm wondering where folks like to ride in the summer here in Marin that might not be so dry?? I'm still getting to know the trails, so looking for some suggestions for a beginner-intermediate rider. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Anything facing the coast will tend to get more moisture: Dias, Coastal View, the fire roads in the Headlands, etc. Other than that I think you just have to put up with the moondust, be careful, and hope next year isn't so dry.

  3. #3
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    I'm new to the Bay area so I don't have much advice but I'd suggest you'd get better advice on the NorCal forum:

    California - Norcal
    The trouble with having an open mind is that people will insist on trying to put things in it.

  4. #4
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    thanks random rider

    Thanks - great ideas - I think I'll head west and get off of the fireroads. Happy trails -

  5. #5
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    You should try Tamarancho in Fairfax. You have to buy a day pass for $5 (the Boy Scouts own the land) but it's worth it since it is the only decent legal single track in Marin. Much better than China Camp. You can buy day passes at some of the bike shops there and they will give you a map and direct you to the trailhead. Sunshine Bikes (next to the Iron Springs Brewpub!) is one of the shops that sell passes.

    The lack of decent single track in the supposed birthplace of mountain biking is pretty sad. I almost gave up mountain biking when I moved to San Francisco from Colorado and found out Marin is almost nothing but fireroads.

  6. #6
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    I was under the impression that Camp T was pretty advanced. Could you recommend it for a beg-int rider or will I be coming out in a stretcher? I've been up there with the Boy Scouts, actually, but haven't ridden it yet.

    I think there used to be a lot more single track here in Marin until things got regulated and mt bikers were relegated more to the fire roads...

  7. #7
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    Marin Headlands is a nice ride. It has enough to be a workout but is great for beginner to intermediates and the views are amazing. The trails are pretty wide and there is a short stretch of singletrack that is pretty fun.

  8. #8
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    Bolinas ridge is never dry. It's a fire road but heading down to Tomales from that side is pretty fast and fun.

    Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NotQuiteClimbing View Post
    Bolinas ridge is never dry.
    Miwok, Dias Ridge, Middle Green Gulch Trails-a bit of a climb(hike a bike some parts in my case) but some nice s track Marin Headlands (Miwok, Dias Ridge, Middle Green Gulch Trails) - Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides

    and my favorite Deer Park Road and Coastal Trail, shortish steepish fire road and s track to the ocean and muir woods is killer Mount Tam (Deer Park Road and Coastal Trail) - Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides

  10. #10
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    I route I like to ride which includes Bolinas Ridge as well as much wonderful redwood covered riding starts at the end of the paved Cross Marin Trail (park at turnouts at Sir Francis Drake and Platform Bridge Road.) The trail starts on the other side of a cool old concrete bridge.
    Summer riding in Marin-2012-08-04-13.39.41.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-2012-08-04-13.42.59.jpg

    Ride this trail into Samuel P. Taylor State Park. As you ride the foliage changes from mostly deciduous trees to evergreens. It follows along Lagunitas Creek and parallels Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Ride upstream through the park, passing the camping areas, and eventually you will get to a spot (not too far from the park entrance) where the pavement ends and the trail is dirt and gravel.

    Summer riding in Marin-cross-marin-dirt.jpg

    This is a converted railbed (railtrail). Ride along this dirt trail, crossing over Sir Francis Drake via a bridge that will deposit you on the other side of the creek and roadway.

    Summer riding in Marin-capture.jpg

    Ride along this trail until you get to its end at a spot called The Inkwells. This is the local swimming hole, where the creek flows over rock and catches in pools.

    Summer riding in Marin-2012-08-04-14.30.46.jpg

    Cross the bridge to the other side, which will bring you to Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

    Summer riding in Marin-2012-08-04-14.29.41.jpg

    You will need to ride to your right and cross the road when you see the first green fire-road access gate (cross before the roadway crosses over the bridge/creek. Don't cross at the second gate.) Go through this gate onto Peters Dam Road. Ride this road up to the dam.
    Summer riding in Marin-peters-dam-road-1.55.jpg

    At the dam you will see Kent Lake. Cross over the top of the dam, cross the spillway (certainly dry this time of year) to get to Shafter Grade Fire Road. Follow this road, looking for trail direction signs at any road junction, and ride up to the top of Bolinas Ridge. This is a steep road (1.5 miles of 13% to 14% grade), so don't feel bad if you hike-a-bike a bit. It is very quiet as you climb, very peaceful. You don't see too many people on Shafter. The trees get denser here, and you will hear and see a variety of wildlife if you are fortunate. There are a lot of ferns and other interesting plants. Once I saw a bunch of pumpkin colored mushrooms attached to a tree.

    Summer riding in Marin-sm-kent-lake-view-2.57.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-2012-08-04-14.48.22.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-2012-08-04-15.07.01.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-2012-08-04-15.07.36.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-2012-08-04-15.50.36.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-2012-08-04-16.11.34.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-2012-08-04-16.07.13.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-pumpkin-colored-shrooms.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-shafter-fern-undergrowth.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-shafter-green.jpg

    At the top of Shafter you reach Bolinas Ridge Fire Road. You can go uphill and go through some nice redwoods and eventually reach Bolinas-Faifax Road, or ride downhill and reach Sir Francis Drake Blvd. I usually head downhill at this point. The ridge is mostly open to the sky with a few trees here and there. You will enjoy views of the Olema Valley, the ridges of Point Reyes National Seashore on the other side of the valley, views of Black Mountain and Tomales Bay.

    Summer riding in Marin-looking-tomales.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-valley.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-resize-tomales-bolinas-ridge.03.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-resize-2012-08-04-17.00.06.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-start-down.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-treeline.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-pond.jpg

    Summer riding in Marin-resize-bolinas-trailhead-sfd.36.jpg

    Eventually you will reach the trailhead at Sir Francis Drake Blvd. If you parked at the turnouts by Platform Bridge Road it is just a ride down the paved road Eastward to get to your vehicle. If you go west on Sir Francis Drake at the bottom of the hill in Olema you will find good brews on tap and some great food at the Farmhouse Cafe right at the intersection of Sir Francis Drake and Shoreline Highway (Hwy 1).

    Check out this writeup of the loop by Ergin Guney. Check the rest of his website for fantastic descriptions and ride reports of mountain and road riding around the entire Bay Area.

    Also check out a couple of writeups by Benjamin Mok Chee Kong (sadly, he was killed by a drunk driver while he was cycling in Singapore in 2010). Ben posted other great ride reports for Marin and the Bay Area on his Blogspot.

    Bolinas ridge trail ride

    Bolinas ridge trail ride II
    "You're messing with my zen thing, man!"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Cowgirl View Post
    I was under the impression that Camp T was pretty advanced. Could you recommend it for a beg-int rider or will I be coming out in a stretcher? I've been up there with the Boy Scouts, actually, but haven't ridden it yet.

    I think there used to be a lot more single track here in Marin until things got regulated and mt bikers were relegated more to the fire roads...
    Tamarancho isn't all that difficult. It has a few switchbacks, but if you have difficulty riding them you can dismount and walk them. There are some sections with small rocks and roots, but nothing too gnarly.

    I'd be happy to ride with you at Tamarancho if you want a guide - just PM me.

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