Mt. Tam via Fairfax-Bolinas Road Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

3.6
FIETS
9.8 mi
DISTANCE
2,638 ft
GAINED
4.7 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

INTRO

Like many of these extremely peaceful and scenic western Marin County climbs, we are surrounded by redwoods much of the way. The climb begins at the northern end of Bolinas Lagoon and climbs to the three way intersection of Ridgecrest Boulevard (the route from this point to the top of Mt. Tam) / Fairfax-Bolinas Road / Bolinas Ridge Road and then on to the Western Peak of Mt. Tamalpais and the greatest views of San Francisco and San Francisco Bay in the area. 
Average grade is 4.7% (6.1% if we eliminate descent).  30% (2.9 miles) is at 0-5% grade, 44% (4.3 miles) is at 5-10%, 9% (0.9 miles) is at 10-15%, and a fraction of the climb is between 15-20%.  The steepest quarter-mile is 10.3% and steepest mile 8%.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway: Fully paved and in good condition. The road is very narrow with no center stripe for the first 4.4 miles on Fairfax-Bolinas Road.  The road and view open up for the remainder of the climb after turning right onto Ridgecrest Boulevard.
 
Traffic: Minimal - this is a safe ride.

Parking:  There is parking on the side of the road at the beginning of the climb - MapStreet View
Provisions: None on the route, but there are at the quaint Stinson Beach Market four miles south on Highway 1 or Fairfax 15 miles northeast. 
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
There are five primary routes to the West Peak of Mt. Tamalpais; the Panoramic Highway North is the most challenging. Our favorite is Mt. Tam via Alpine Dam which overlaps Mt. Tam via Fairfax-Bolinas after mile 4.4 (junction of Fairfax-Bolinas and Ridgecrest Roads).  See all routes here - Marin County.

Also consider riding across the Golden Gate and up to the top of Mt. Tam and back - Golden Gate - Mt. Tam  

Use the “Routes in Area” button on the menu bar above to see other bike climbs in this area. 

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CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling Mt. Tamalpais from Fairfax Bolinas Road - Cyclist at West Peak with SF in background

Cycling Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County from Fairfax-Bolinas Road

Ride 9.8 miles gaining 2,638’ at 4.7% average grade.

It doesn’t get more quintessentially Marin County than cycling Mt. Tamalpais.  Mt. Tam is commonly considered the symbol of Marin County, and cycling this gorgeous climb up a landmark mountain in a world class cycling area is bound to be the making of a great day in the Bay.  Like many of these extremely peaceful and scenic western Marin County climbs, we are surrounded by redwoods much of the way.  The climb begins at the northern end of Bolinas Lagoon and climbs to the three-way intersection of Ridgecrest Boulevard (the route from this point to the top of Mt. Tam) / Fairfax-Bolinas Road / Bolinas Ridge Road.

Before heading to the bay area on your cycling adventure, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.

 There are 3 segments to Alpine Dam to Mt. Tam road bike climb.

SEGMENT ONE - HWY 1 TO INTERSECTION OF BOLINAS FAIRFAX AND RIDGECREST

 

This climb begins at the intersection of Fairfax-Bolinas Road and Hwy 1. This segment is a climb onto itself at 4.3 miles gaining 1,470’ at 6.5% average grade.  These 4.3 miles are on a narrow and minimally travelled road - this is just a great climb onto itself!

Start of the climb - Hwy 1-Fairfax-Bolinas Road

1600’ view of climb start - Fairfax-Bolinas Rd bottom-middle of photo

Bike climb Mt. Tamalpais from Fairfax Bolinas Road - start of climb - stop sign and road

After a very brief open section we are initially surrounded by oak and high brush . . .

. . . then by redwood trees.

Photo at the finish of this segment.

SEGMENT TWO - RIDGECREST TO PANTOLL

From Fairfax-Bolinas Road we turn right and follow rollers along Ridgecrest Boulevard for four miles to the intersection of Pantoll Road and Ridgecrest Boulevard.

Beginning of the second segment . . .

. . .  RIDE 4 MILES AT 2.4%

Views open up at mile 3.

Ride the rolling roadway atop a true ridgeline for 2 ½ miles at 3% average grade.

Alpine Dam as seen from 1600’ above the ridgeline.

View north - photo left center is where the views open up.

Aerial view of the southern portion of the 3 mile ridgeline ride.

 Along these four miles are the Pacific Ocean to our right and views of Eastern Marin to the left . . . .

Some stunning views on this segment (Bolinas Bay to the left).

Bicycle ride Mt. Tamalpais from Fairfax Bolinas Road - poppy and ocean

Cycling Mt. Tamalpais from Fairfax Bolinas Road - Mt. St. Helena in distance

. . .  and, on a clear day ,Mt. St. Helena in Napa/Sonoma County to the north.

SEGMENT THREE - EAST RIDGECREST BLVD TO WEST PEAK

The final leg up to the top of Mt. Tam West Peak is 1.5 miles at 6.5%, with a gain of 517'.  The views of San Francisco and the Bay along this segment are absolutely spectacular - the best anywhere, in our opinion.

Pass the entrance to the old Cold War Air Force Station ¼ mile from the top.

We took a detour to the old radar dome (note - the road is marked “no trespass”)

A bit hazy this day, but San Francisco is center of photo.

    cycling Mt. Tamalpais from Fairfax Bolinas Road - view of San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay from the top.

Come for the ride, stay for the views.

That’s a wrap . . . for Mt. Tam anyway . . .

Cycling Mt. Tamalpais from Fairfax Bolinas Road - Golden Gate Bridge by aerial drone

And we are just a stone’s throw from the Golden Gate and San Francisco.