From Ross/San Anselmo/Fairfax: get up to Lake Lagunitas, take Lagunitas/Rock Springs FR. Once you reach Potrero Meadows, go half-way around the meadow clockwise and take a right on the small FR, Laurel Dell, which is the most scenic FR on the mountain. You top out on Ridgecrest after about 2.4 miles. Take a left, go 65 yards and then head right on the trail. Or, if you are a "free-rider," park your car on Ridgecrest next to the trailhead and unload your bike. Phew!
Summary: A little scary at times for experienced riders and humbling for beginners. It's 1600' to Stinson Beach in under two miles. You can really fly down this mountain. Always look ahead for deep ruts to either jump or ride around. The faster you ride up or down; the harder it is. Catching the Stage Coach will turn the ride time from a semi-day ride into a half day ride.
Extremely fun Mt Biking day- especially with group of fellow riders.
Warn the neophytes before descending.
Recommended Route: Zig Zag/Tenderfoot, up Mt Tam(Rail Road grade- I think). Then look out for Willow trail when passing camp site/cabins. After bombing down, get to Stinson Beach, grab a beer or two and hang out a bit. Then catch a ride with the Marin Stage Coach to top of Tam and go back down Zig Zag/Tenderfoot. The Hardos or XC racers training can climb back up over Mt. Tam.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Loma Alto and Shaffer are the closest to down hilling. ZigZag/Tenderfoot is similar to China Camp and Tamarancho. Climb up Mt. Tam like all the other climbs up Mt. Tam.
Review Date December 19, 2003
Overall Rating 3 of 5
Aerobic Difficulty 2 of 5
Technical Difficulty 3 of 5
Ridden Trail: Once a week
Reviewed by: Zach Williams
Summary: Overall, its a great, fast, way to get down to stinson. the climbs pretty tough so you should probably have your mtb legs if your going to try the climb. Its a fireroad, however, at some points it seems like a single track. I usually ride this trail once a week when i encorperate it into my saturday 50 mile loop from deer park to stinson and through the bolinas ridge. by itself its not much, but it can be a nice addition to a ride. (note: for the aerobic difficulty im going to do the descent)
Recommended Route: I would recomend climbing to the top of east peak, via eldridge, laguanitas FR, old RR grade, etc. then, after taking ridgecrest down to laurel dell take Willowcamp. then take Highway 1 down to the Mcurdy trail (workout). then once you find yourself on Bolinas ridge FR, either take a left or a right back to East Peak, depending on how you feel.
Other recommended trails in the same area: If you really want to challenge yourself, take the route above, hang a right on bolinas ridge and a left on Bolinas-Fairfax Rd. go to pine mtn FR and take that to Repack, go down the FR and then you hit tamarancho (pass required) ive done this and it tacks on a little more time, but tamarancho, by itself i would also recommend.
Review Date August 16, 2002
Overall Rating 3 of 5
Ridden Trail: Please Select
Reviewed by: buzz
, from san anselmo
Summary: This is fire trail but is so seldom used it looks like single trac in spots. Itis steep and you can get too much speed if your not careful. Also, there is a natural spring running thru the trail two thirds of the way down so watch for this. My question is has anyone been able to ride this up??? I hiked this the other day to see if it might be possible to ride up. It is 1600 foot elevation in 1.7 mi. I'm not good at math but I think this equates to a 25% grade. Not to mention some of this trail is level so some of the grades are more than 25%. Really too short of a ride by itself but you can incorporate this as the last part of your ride downhill. Hopefully someone can pick you up at Stinson.
Recommended Route: I ride this from San Anselmo. Find the park in Ross and start there. Get a trail map at the local bike shop. Too much to explain here.
Review Date June 9, 2002
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Every few months
Reviewed by: jonna
, from berkeley
Summary: This is a great workout through some of the nicest scenery Mt. Tam has to offer. Deer Park is a pretty, solid climb; from there to the top pretty much depends on your perspective and mood. Snailroad is pretty jading on a hot day, but if you relax and focus on the views, it's ok. Westpoint is a good water/break spot. Laurel Dell and the environs are truly beautiful - it would be surprising to see anyone else once you take the right off of the paved road at the top of Tam. The downhill into Stinson from Ridgecrest is sort of a fantasy (actually when I did it as a beginner it was a nightmare, and I crashed three times when I did it last week:), a fast,steep trip down into the moist ocean mist; you can even call it singetrack in spots if you want to, but who the hell cares? Becker's Grocery is right at the bottom of the hill. Grab some snacks and head for the beach!
Recommended Route: This is an alternative to the basic route discussed above....Start at Muir Beach, ride north on Hwy. 1 for .25 mi and veer right on Muir Woods Rd. After about 1 mi look for a gated fireroad on the left. This is Deer Park, which intercepts and coincides with the Dipsea Tr. for a ways. Ride up Deer Park until it intersects Coastal, then stay right, and right again (don't take Lone Pine). This brings you to the Pantoll RS. Cross the road to hit Stagecoach, which takes you up to the Westpoint Inn. Continue up Snailroad Grade to the paved road. Take a left and climb to very top, as you cruise down look for a fireroad on the right after about 2 mi. Take the fireroad for another two miles (if you get to Portrero Mdws you've gone too far)and look for a smaller road leading to the left - it's not marked (at least from this direction), but it starts as a small downhill leading into some obnoxious gravel that was recently put in). From here, it's just like everyone else says. Keep going, there are some smaller sideshoots, just stick to the main drag. A final climb brings you up to Ridgecrest; from there, take a left for about 200 yards to the trail leading down, down, down. ***This is the key to really enjoying this ride! From Stinson, take the BUS )it has a rack to load bikes) back to Pantoll, then ride back to Muir Beach down either Coastal (recommended) or Deer Park. There is no good way to get back to Muir otherwise; riding on the paved road is definately NOT recommended unless you are looking to become spam (especially if you are tired, which is likely at this point). The bus runs every day in the summer, but only on weekends otherwise, so check beforehand. Obviously a shuttle works too!
Other recommended trails in the same area: We are soooo lucky to have what we have in so close a proximity to a major metropolitan area. Ride it all with joy and be thankful, instead of whining that it isn't all singletrack or sick downhills or Colorado. I too, in a perfect universe, would live in the Bay Area but somehow walk out of my door each day to a ride in Crested Butte, Durango, or a million other places. But this is what we got, and it's really pretty awesome. So enjoy!
Review Date January 29, 2002
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Every few months
Reviewed by: johnnyb
, from San Anselmo
Summary: I plotted this route looking for something new and I like it. The trails you take to get their are for the cross-country type rider. Very few rider on these trails and during the weekday, next to none. Gary forgot to mention the ride back, I do not recommend going back up Willow Camp-it is too steep! You will be walking. I've taken Lone Tree and Coastal as ways back. Plan on making this a five to six hour ride. In the spring or cool day this is the best.
Recommended Route: Same as Gary's route. If you start in San Anselmo and go that far out, take some money and buy your food supplies in Stinson Beach. Less to carry on your back.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Bolinas Ridge and Wildcat Camp.