Mt. Tamalpais Summit
A short Sunday Ride through the Marin Headlands, getting you home by early afternoon.
We typically head north to Hwy 280 via Charleston/Arastradero Roads. Take 280 to 19th Ave. to 101 north over the Golden Gate Bridge. Or, if you want a scenic alternative on small country roads, you can take Charleston/Arastradero Road to Alpine Road (left) to Portola Road (right) to Woodside Road (left) and immediately right on Mountain Home Road, which takes you into Woodside. Go straight across the intersection and you'll be on Canada Road. Follow Canada Road along the Crystal Springs Reservoir as far as you can until you are forced back onto 280.
We usually stop at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, Vista Point (9:45-10:00 am) and regroup, use the restrooms, and look at San Francisco in the sun across the bay.
After your break, head north on 101 to Mill Valley/Stinson Beach/ Highway 1 exit north of Sausalito. Take Hwy 1 over Mount Tamalpais to the summit of Mount Tamalpais. Just follow Highway 1 north from Mill Valley and bear right on Panoramic Highway, right again on Pan Toll Road and follow signs to Mt. Tam. Be careful if you cross the double yellow line; you may get a ticket!
The high point of the ride, and the main stopping place is the summit of Mt. Tam. I suggest bringing a thermos of coffee or tea, as there are bathrooms but no other facilities. If you want the very best views of the bay, walk up to the Fire Lookout. It is only a ten minute walk up and a five minute run back down to the parking lot, and you really get a panoramic vantage that is unique. When you are ready to take off, be sure to take the right hand turnoff on Ridgecrest Blvd, (don't follow Pan Toll back down) and follow Ridgecrest north to the Fairfax-Bolinas Road (bear left). This is a tight, bumpy, twisty road that rejoins Rte. 1 at the north end of Bolinas Lagoon, just across from the Bolinas turn-out. If you care to, you can ride into Bolinas, or you turn left and head back on Hwy 1 along the Bolinas Lagoon to Stinson Beach. Now you have two choices: you can turn left on Panoramic Highway just south of the town of Stinson Beach, which will take you back up the mountain to where you turned right on Pan Toll Road and Mount Tamalpais, or you can continue south on Hwy 1 until it loops back over the mountains just south of Muir Woods and brings you back to the Golden Gate. If you still want to explore, take the Muir Woods Cutoff about 6 miles south of Stinson Beach. This takes you through the Muir Woods Redwoods and loops back to Hwy 1 and takes you back to 101 via Mill Valley, the same way you started up the mountain.