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Mountain Bike Trails: Marin/North Bay

East Bay Trails

Dan and Davin at Tamarancho

Mike's employees Dan S. and Davin P. enjoy some sweet singletrack at Camp Tamarancho. Photo: Jason Van Horn (San Rafael)

Check out some great ride ideas for weekend adventures and articles courtesy of Weekend Sherpa :





North Bay | Marin County:
(click on area names for more information)


Annadel State Park, Santa Rosa: This large state park is a little slice of mountain bike heaven. With miles of twisty, technical singletrack connected by blazing-fast fire roads, this is an excellent place for all-day excursions. Special care must be taken when encountering the many horseback riders that share the park's mountain bike trails. Any actions that lead to less bike access in this park would be extremely regrettable. Terrain is moderate-to-advanced with lots of elevation change.
Bolinas Ridge/Olema Valley, Bolinas: There are many beautiful loops through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on both well-marked fire roads and little-known singletrack in this region. The Olema Valley is a rolling landscape of grassland and forest that stretches ten miles from Tomales Bay to Bolinas Lagoon.
Camp Tamarancho, Fairfax: Owned by the Boy Scouts of America, a 'Friends Pass' is required to ride Tamarancho. At $5 for 1-day or $40 for the year, it's a very worthwhile investment to ride some of Marin's last legal singletrack. (passes available at our San Rafael location) This excellent 13-mile all-singletrack loop is one of the more exciting you'll find with terrain ranging from fast hardpack to twisty, rocky, technical sections. Lots of elevation change, beautiful redwoods, and sweeping views of mount Tam will keep you entertained again and again. Difficulty is intermediate-to-advanced.
China Camp State Park, Near San Rafael: A longtime favorite of many Bay Area riders, this popular park offers everything from easy rolling doubletrack to moderately technical singletrack with 1000ft of climbing to the highest point. The amount of riding here is deceptive- you can really spend all day if you ride every trail. Beautiful views await every turn as the park is completely surrounded on its eastern side by water. This is a great place for beginners to build confidence, but be aware that it is well used on weekends.
Jackson State Demonstration Forest : The largest state forest in Northern California, this park boasts nearly 50,000 open acres. There is a wide variety of legal singletrack ranging from tight and twisty to fast and rocky. If you go, be in an adventurous mood as much of this forest is at the time of this writing unmapped.
Pacific Union College, Angwin: The campus of Pacific Union College is surrounded by the Las Posadas State Demonstration Forest. While the Demo Forest is off limits, the surrounding trails are the site of the Napa Valley Dirt Classic and the Napa Knobular races. There are miles of rolling singletrack and fire roads - some claim it's the best riding in Napa County. Terrain should be moderate-to-advanced with lots of opportunities to get lost. Be well supplied.
Point Reyes National Seashore, Point Reyes: Located on 100 miles of unspoiled California coastline and only one hour north of San Francisco, Point Reyes is a wonderful place to explore on a mountain bike. Most of the riding is on fire roads, with some select singletrack open to bikes. The scenery is the true draw here, and there is none better in terms of rugged, stunning coast. Terrain is easy-to-moderate.
Rush Creek, Novato: A pleasant beginner ride, with lots of dappling shade while riding amongst the oaks and bay laurel. The trail runs northeast, parallel to and between Rush Creek and the lower slopes of Green Ridge east of Highway 101. A diverse waterfowl population uses the wetlands of the Petaluma River to the north of the creek, with excellent vistas of Mt. Burdell to the west and Sonoma Mountain to the north. There is very little elevation change and total distance out and back is approx. 10 miles.  
Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Kenwood:  This park is located northeast of Kenwood in the Mayacamas Mountains between the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Elevations within the large park range from 600 feet at the entrance to 2,729 feet at the top of Bald Mountain, which overlooks the Napa Valley with Mount Saint Helena to the north. Terrain ranges from easy to advanced with a mix of singletrack and fire roads.
Mount Tamalpais State Park, Mill Valley: It is well known and much-lamented that most of the singletrack trails on Mt. Tamalpais are now illegal for bicycles. However, the birthplace of the modern mountain bike continues to impress with the challenge of rapid elevation change and some of the most beautiful views anywhere in the Bay Area. There are many famous fire roads and a few sections of sweet legal singletrack that wind around Mt. Tam, along with some beautiful rides through the lakes area of the Tamalpais Municipal Water District. Terrain ranges from easy to difficult because of the sometimes rapid elevation change.
Tennessee Valley, Near Tamalpais Valley: Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the intermediate-level Tennessee Valley Loops are characterized by wide open ridgeland with sweeping panoramas and offer a variety of trail conditions. Summertime weather can vary, temperatures can drop 20 or more degrees in a matter of minutes when the fog comes in, so be prepared and pack a windbreaker. Expect anywhere from 1600-2500ft of elevation change.  
Tomales Bay State Park, Inverness: This Park is beautifully situated on Mt. Vision between Tomales Bay and the Point Reyes National Seashore. While there isn't a huge area to ride, the vistas and viewpoints make the 1300ft climb up Mt. Vision worthwhile. Terrain is easy-to-moderate.  
Boggs Mountain State Demonstration Forest, Whispering Pines : Some of the best mountain biking in Napa County can be found at Boggs Mountain. The area contains some fire road but a whole lot of fun singletrack, sparsely forested mildly sloped hills, and some challenging but short climbs. The state forest area covers the top of Boggs Mountain, which  stays between about 2800 and 4000ft elevation. Terrain is intermediate-to-advanced.


Related Links:

Bay Area Ridge Trail

Bicycle Trails Council of Marin

California State Parks

Cycle Point Reyes

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate Cyclists

International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA)

Marin County Bicycle Coalition

Marin County Department of Parks and Open Space

Mount Tamalpais State Park

Tamalpais Municipal Water District

Women's Mountain Bike and Tea Society (WOMBATS)

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