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Old 05-02-13, 03:50 PM   #1
Dalai
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What is the best Mt Tamalpais loop?

What would be THE Mt Tamalpais loop starting the ride in Fairfax - as following?

From looking at the map I am planning on riding the following unless there are better suggestions? Alpine lake, left to Mt Tam, down Panoramic hwy to the coast and up Muir wood rd and to continue looping around via Mill Valley back to Fairfax.
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Old 05-02-13, 09:03 PM   #2
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Stay off Hwy 1 between Stinson Beach and Mill Valley. Others do it, but I think it's a death trap. Combination of too many cars, too narrow a road and too many hills to climb where you gpoing too slow to really defend yourself.

Otherwise, you've pretty much got it.
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Old 05-02-13, 09:23 PM   #3
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Stay off Hwy 1 between Stinson Beach and Mill Valley. Others do it, but I think it's a death trap. Combination of too many cars, too narrow a road and too many hills to climb where you gpoing too slow to really defend yourself.

Otherwise, you've pretty much got it.
Especially on a nice weekend, a constant line of cars buzzing by you after boozing it up at the beach.
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Old 05-03-13, 04:36 AM   #4
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Stay off Hwy 1 between Stinson Beach and Mill Valley.
So even the stretch between Stinson beach and Muir Beach is best avoided?

Unfortunately it will be a Saturday morning - 3rd day of my trip after landing just after noon on Thursday.

Spending three days riding around San Francisco - First afternoon I plan on riding Old La Honda over to the coast and back Tunitas creek rd. Next day ride Mt Hamilton plus Sierra rd Calaveras loop and then driving across to Diablo and ride Mt Diablo via Sth Gate rd.

After riding Mt Tamalpias I'm heading East for another 3 weeks riding in the Eastern Sierra, CO and AZ...
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Old 05-03-13, 03:56 PM   #5
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So even the stretch between Stinson beach and Muir Beach is best avoided?

Unfortunately it will be a Saturday morning - 3rd day of my trip after landing just after noon on Thursday.

Spending three days riding around San Francisco - First afternoon I plan on riding Old La Honda over to the coast and back Tunitas creek rd. Next day ride Mt Hamilton plus Sierra rd Calaveras loop and then driving across to Diablo and ride Mt Diablo via Sth Gate rd.

After riding Mt Tamalpias I'm heading East for another 3 weeks riding in the Eastern Sierra, CO and AZ...
I have to respectfully disagree with the other posters about highway 1. The stretch southbound from Stinson to Muir Woods road might be the finest stretch of road in the county (with brand new tarmac), and you will be doing yourself a disservice if you miss it. This is my backyard ride and I am on this road probably once a week. In many places there is adequate shoulder, or where there is no shoulder I have never felt uncomfortable with cars there. On the downhill runs into both creeks (as well as the final descent into Muir Beach), you will be going at least as fast as the cars. On the climbs, you will be very visible.

So the loop you've chosen is most excellent -- Fairfax > Alpine Dam > Seven Sisters (optional climb to Mt. Tam summit) > descend to Pantoll > descend to Stinson > South to Muir Beach > Muir Woods road to "Four Corners" > Descend Sequoia Valley Road into Mill Valley > Camino Alto north and then wind your way back to Fairfax along Magnolia, Shady Lane, San Anselmo, Center, etc.
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Old 05-03-13, 04:42 PM   #6
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Appreciate the reply Steeleman. Looks like that is the loop to ride.
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Old 05-04-13, 12:51 AM   #7
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I highly recommend riding all the way to the top. The view is awesome. If you can stop by Point Reyes. They have some nice bakeries, and cheese shops.
When do you plan to do it? On May 18th TOC will be going up Mt. Diablo.
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Old 05-04-13, 02:16 AM   #8
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Thanks for the tips; will definitely ride to the top. I'm only arriving end of August, so unfortunately my trip is still 4 months away!
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Old 05-04-13, 03:20 PM   #9
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I'm happy to report that I rode it again this morning from Stinson south to Muir Woods Rd. It was glorious and I did not die.
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Old 05-06-13, 10:25 AM   #10
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I'm happy to report that I rode it again this morning from Stinson south to Muir Woods Rd. It was glorious and I did not die.
Glad you didn't die. Be sure to post if you do.

I agree that Hwy 1 between Stinson Beach and Mill Valley is a beautiful stretch of road. All I can say is you are braver than I am.

The key, it seems to me, is to hit that stretch of road in the morning. In the afternoon, I would be very much afraid of the aforementioned drunken, sun-addled beach-goers heading home, especially in August, and super-duper especially on a sunny weekend in August, and extra-super-dper espacially if it's a Sunday.

Dalai - keep in mind that there is a very good chance you will hit foggy, chilly weather along the coast in August. It could be sunny and warm, but it is more likely to be foggy at least in the morning and it could be foggy all day. 'Tis a crap shoot that time of year. The best chance for real "summer" in SF and along the coast is usually mid September to mid-October. During the "summer" on the clandar, San Franciscans chuckle quietly about the tourists who come to town with nothing but shorts and short sleeves shivering their @sses of and rushing to buy overpriced touristy sweatshirts. We natives don't bite (unless you are into that sort of thing) and are usually friendly with directions and such, but we do tend to enjoy a little tourist schadenfreude.
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Old 05-06-13, 03:31 PM   #11
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Appreciate the tips. I will have my warm weather gear for CO, so will be covered for the chilly weather. Coming from mid-winter down under, I actually think I'll appreciate that it isn't a hot!

Actually have been to San Fransisco close to 20 years ago. I used it as a base on a 6 1/2 month rock climbing road trip, so remember the fog rolling in keeping things cool. I have been out over Mt Tamalpais, as we climbed a couple of times at Mickey's Beach and Turtle Rock. But it has been so long I wanted to ride around there as I don't recall too much other than it was very scenic.

Will be early Saturday morning. As I will be driving to the Eastern Sierra that afternoon and don't want to be driving too late in the day.
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Old 05-06-13, 07:11 PM   #12
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another variation (always was my favorite) is to turn right in Stinson Beach... go north on Hwy 1 a couple of miles and then turn right on Fairfax-Bolinas road, climbing back up to ridgecrest and back to Fairfax via the MMWD (same way you came).... Marin road cycling (climbing... at it's finest !!!
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Old 05-07-13, 07:22 PM   #13
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Fairfax-Bolinas ascent better than Muir Woods? I could do a figure 8 if both worthwhile; down Panoramic hwy, up Muir Woods rd, back down Panoramic hwy, up Fairfax-Bolinas and back to Fairfax direct. Better than the long loop in suburbia from Mill Valley to Fairfax?
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Old 05-09-13, 02:56 PM   #14
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Fairfax-Bolinas ascent better than Muir Woods? I could do a figure 8 if both worthwhile; down Panoramic hwy, up Muir Woods rd, back down Panoramic hwy, up Fairfax-Bolinas and back to Fairfax direct. Better than the long loop in suburbia from Mill Valley to Fairfax?
YES !!! and yes.....
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Old 05-09-13, 03:10 PM   #15
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Fairfax-Bolinas ascent better than Muir Woods? I could do a figure 8 if both worthwhile; down Panoramic hwy, up Muir Woods rd, back down Panoramic hwy, up Fairfax-Bolinas and back to Fairfax direct. Better than the long loop in suburbia from Mill Valley to Fairfax?
That would also be a terrific route if you didn't want to do a true "loop". You wouldn't really miss anything good, since you will hit the better part of the Mill Valley side of Panoramic when you climb back out from Muir Woods. Going down into MV also does deposit you into a more trafficked area from MV back to Fairfax. To be clear, this is a well worn trade route for area cyclists, so there are no issues, but clearly not as scenic as going back the way you came via BoFax/Alpine Dam. You are likely to see very few cars on BoFax from the start at the end of Bolinas Lagoon until you hit the Meadow Club just above Fairfax. The climb up BoFax is an area classic.

So route from Fairfax is: Fairfax-Bolinas Rd ("BoFax") up to Meadow Club, down to Alpine Dam, up to Ridgecrest where you'll turn left and continue across the "Seven Sisters" to Rock Springs. From there, take the road left to the top of East Peak of Mt. Tam, then retrace your route and descend back to Rock Springs. From there, turn left on Pantoll Rd. and descend to Panoramic Hwy, where you will turn hard right down to Stinson Beach. Left on Shoreline Highway along the rugged coastline to Muir Beach. Left on Muir Woods road (crappy pavement until you get to the park, but no cars from this direction), climb up through Muir Woods to "Four Corners", where you turn left on Panoramic and take this all the way back over the "Col du Pantoll" to Stinson. Turn right on shoreline highway for a flat TT along the lagoon (look left to see seals sunning themselves on the sandbars), and then turn right on BoFax. Note this intersection isn't clearly marked, but it is the only right turn after the Audubon center, and you will see a cattle guard about 50 feet ahead. If you hit a climb on Shoreline, you've gone too far. Climb BoFax up to Ridgecrest, and bear left at the top to descend (steeply, with questionable pavement) back to Alpine Dam. Climb up and over back to your start in Fairfax. Great loop.
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Old 05-11-13, 05:49 AM   #16
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Thanks for the detailed description. Looking forward to it!
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Old 05-11-13, 07:10 AM   #17
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Stay off Hwy 1 between Stinson Beach and Mill Valley. Others do it, but I think it's a death trap. Combination of too many cars, too narrow a road and too many hills to climb where you gpoing too slow to really defend yourself.

Otherwise, you've pretty much got it.
I have never tried this, too scared. Its difficult enough in the vehicle.
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Old 05-15-13, 01:02 PM   #18
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This thread needs links to strava/ridewithGPS/MapMyRide.
Please, do all my research for me. I need what little energy I have to peral the bike.
Thank you.
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Old 05-16-13, 11:18 AM   #19
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Ha, yeah, its some combination of this:
http://app.strava.com/activities/52295501
and this:
http://app.strava.com/activities/2084787
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