Bike the Marin Headlands for the Ultimate Weekend Ride

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Head here on a mid-week morning and you’d be hard pressed to find a better spot in the Bay Area to get away from it all. The Gerbode Valley offers a hidden sanctuary mere minutes from downtown SF.


What You’ll See

Knock out views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Ocean and Mt. Tamalpais.

How to Get There

1. The trailhead is at the end of Tennessee Valley Road. Take Highway 1 to Highway 101. Exit Stinson Beach. 

2. Make a left at the stoplight before the Highway crosses Coyote Creek.

Transit options include the Muni #76 on weekends via Bunker Road to the south of Gerbode Valley. East Bay riders can take BART to the Embarcadero then take the Golden Gate Ferry to Sausalito. It's about a 20 minute ride to the trailhead from there.

The Ride

1. Starting from the parking lot at the trailhead, head towards the stables and immediately turn left onto Marincello Rd. 

2. The 650-foot climb provides impressive views to the northeast of the Tiburon peninsula in the foreground and San Pablo Bay in the distance.

3. At the crest, continue on the road as the view into Gerbode Valley comes into focus. At 2.2 miles you’ll get a slight rise and then intersect with the Alta Road and Bobcat Trail. 

3. When the Bobcat joins the Miwok at the valley entrance (4.3 miles), bear right and begin the climb up Miwok. The upper part can be a grind, with many stretches at a 11-14% grade.

4. As you reach the saddle, turn left onto the Old Springs Trail and enjoy the amazing view back into Tennessee Valley.

5. After the stables, you’re back at the trailhead for part two of the ride. Head through the gates and down the paved Tennessee Valley trail toward the ocean.

6. At the 1.2 mile mark, head uphill on the Coastal Trail fire road. It’s another 1.9 mile grind fest, but offset by non-stop scenery and views, as you ascend Coyote Ridge to the rides highpoint at 838 feet.

7. Descend and join the Miwok again, riding the spine of the ridge until you enter a eucalyptus forest.

8. You'll re-emerge after a short climb and the Miwok becomes a single track, followed by a steep and somewhat technical descent to return to the trailhead. 

Note: The upper part of the single track trail is fast, crossing numerous wooden plank sections over the spring-soaked ground. As this is a multi-use trail, keep a sharp eye out for hikers, runners, horses, and uphill cyclists. The lower half is a bit more technical with numerous little jumps over water bars and steps. Be sure to walk your bike through the stable area.

Things to Do Nearby

Those who want more riding can extend the trail by turning left at the last juncture with the Miwok, and do the Dias Ridge ride, which we profiled last year. 

At nearby Tam Junction you’ll find smoothies and good organic eats at Café Del Soul, and plenty of caffeine at either Starbucks or Equator Coffee. There are restrooms at the trailhead, but no water is available anywhere on this route, so definitely pack enough for two hours of riding.

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