Cycling to Mt. Tamalpais West Peak from Muir Woods
Ride 8.9 miles gaining 2,484’ at 5% average grade.
Start - Muir Woods.
A bit about Muir Woods: Named after famed environmental activist John Muir, Muir Woods is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Bay Area, and for good reason. Run by the National Park Service, Muir Woods National Monument allows visitors to step back into time with a stroll through a forest filled with trees that are over a thousand years old. Established in 1908, the park itself has been around for over 110 years, and was a huge inspiration for its namesake’s passion for preservation and conservation of the nation’s awe-inspiring natural beauty. More information on Muir Woods can be found here. Visitors to the park should keep in mind that it is extremely popular (aka, very, VERY busy). To ease congestion in this beautiful park, and better control the flow of visitors, reservations are now required. More information on booking your reservation to visit the park can be found here.
Sign at mile 2.4 as we merge from Muir Woods Road onto Panoramic Highway.
Mt. Tamalpais is the highest peak in the Marin County and has two peaks, the East Peak (2,574') and West Peak (2,563'), and is part of the California Coast Range which is itself part of the Pacific Coast Range of Mountains. The white radar dome that sits upon Mt. Tam's slightly lower western peak is quite discernible from afar.
This climb is divided into four parts:
1. Muir Woods Visitor Center to Panoramic Highway: This segment is wooded at the bottom, opening up to views of the forested hillside and roadway we just travelled towards the top. The climb is 1.5 miles, gaining 550’ at 7% average grade.
2. Muir Woods Road/Panoramic Highway to Pantoll Road: This is the least strenuous of the four segments to the top of Mt. Tam at 4.5 miles, 960’ and 3.2% average grade. Along this route we initially have views of the West Peak of Mt. Tam, the distant Pacific Ocean, a brief glimpse of the white radar dome we will end just below, and finally wooded borders to the roadway. We end this segment at Pantoll Campground and Mt. Tamalpais State Park There is a Visitor Center here where information about the area and maps are gladly dispensed by the rangers.
3. Pantoll Road: The third leg is up Pantoll Road, from its intersection with Panoramic Highway, to Rock Springs Parking Area (staging area for many television commercials). Along this route we have great views down to the Pacific Ocean and as we climb higher, of Mt. Diablo, San Francisco Bay and San Francisco. This segment is 1.4 miles / 490' / 6.2%.
4. Ridgecrest Boulevard East: The final leg is along Ridgecrest Boulevard East and is the easiest segment, giving us more spectacular views of Mt. Diablo, San Francisco Bay, and San Francisco. This segment ends as Ridgecrest "crests" just east of the radio dome atop Mt. Tam’s West Peak and is 1.5 miles /510’ / 6.8%.
This climb can be done in conjunction with a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge.