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Golden Gate to Tennessee Beach Loop

Intermediate
 4.3 (33) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Mountain biking near the "City by the Bay" - with a bit of singletrack.


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Map Key

17.9

Miles

28.9

KM

5%

Singletrack

897' 273 m

High

34' 10 m

Low

2,443' 745 m

Up

2,477' 755 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

17%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

Overview

Close to the city, iconic views, and a few challenging hills with an isolated beach - the Marin Headlands, even though it lacks significant singletrack, is your best dirt this side of Mount Tam.

Need to Know

Most of the trails are well-signed except for where the Coastal Trail runs along Bunker Road and connects with Rodeo Valley Trail. Summers can get foggy with fall and spring being the best weather. The trails or fire roads hold up well in wet weather. There is a 15 mph speed limit, and many of the other trails in the park are not legal for mountain bike use, so please follow the designated route.

Description

This ride starts at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. The ride can also be started from the city side, just cross the bridge on the bike path (west side). For visitors, bikes can be rented at many locations in the city. Sports Basement is located in the Presidio at the base of the bridge. A light hardtail 29er is perfect.

If you're a local yokel and don't want to ride up the paved road from the bridge, there's parking at the Coastal Trail trailhead at the traffic roundabout off McCullough Road.

From the parking lot, paved Conzelman Road climbs up the hill to Battery Spencer where you're practically on top of the Golden Gate Bridge with expansive views of the city and the Bay. Continue up for about a mile to the traffic circle mentioned above. Ride past the restroom through the parking area to the Coastal Trail. This section of the Coastal Trail is a smooth downhill run all the way to Bunker Road and the junction with the Rodeo Valley Trail. The only obstacles are a few water bars as it gets steeper near the bottom. Keep left and follow paved Bunker Road a short distance to the horse stables, and the trail will be to the right. Cross the wooden bridge then left take a left on Rodeo Valley Trail, then left again on Bobcat Trail. Bobcat ends at the Miwok (South) Trail. Turn right to start the obvious climb.

This section of Miwok is the first and most challenging climb. It's smooth, wide, and the gradient isn't too bad at the start, but it doesn't let off and gradually gets steeper - just keep plugging for a mile and a half to the top of Wolf Ridge. After leveling off, it looks like it gets very steep but this is where you turn off onto Old Springs Trail.

Old Springs Trail is the closest thing to singletrack you'll find in this area. From Miwok, it's a downhill run all the way to the Tennessee Valley trailhead. You'll cross several wood bridges and it starts off fairly smooth with nice views down Tennessee Valley to the Pacific Ocean. It gets steeper and more rutted as it drops off the ridge with some wood "steps,"rock drains, and a few switchbacks to make things interesting. It's over too soon in a little over a mile as you reach another horse stable and the trailhead.

Continue down the Tennessee Valley Trail to the beach in a couple miles. Retracing back to the trailhead, you'll find the Marincello Trail past a gate on the east side of the parking area. Like Miwok, it's a steady climb on a smooth fire road for nearly two miles where it joins the Bobcat Trail.

At the top of the Bobcat Trail, you'll catch glimpses of the city and the Bridge but it drops quickly into the Gerbode Valley in sweeping and a few tight turns. In a couple miles, you'll reach the junction with Rodeo Valley Trail on the left (watch for the steps) and at this point you'll be retracing your way back and up the Coastal Trail and down to the parking area (or to the city).

History & Background

Marin Headlands was a military installation (Fort Barry and Fort Baker) protecting the entrance to San Francisco Bay which, in turn, protected the landscape until the area became a park.

Contacts

Shared By:

Bob Gardner with improvements by A B

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 33 votes

#423

Overall
  4.3 from 33 votes
5 Star
39%
4 Star
52%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
3%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#60

in California

#423

Overall
335 Views Last Month
23,419 Since Dec 17, 2015
Intermediate

3%
3%
77%
3%
13%
0%

Photos

Biking at Marin County
Apr 15, 2013 near Marin City, CA
Tennessee Valley
Dec 18, 2015 near Tamalpa…, CA
Beautiful view of the valley helps the climb.
Sep 16, 2017 near Sausalito, CA
Going down Bobcat Trail (from Marincello Trail) back to Rodeo Valley Trail. Large trail, peaceful view of the valley.
Sep 29, 2018 near Marin City, CA
Tennessee Valley from Old Spring Trail.
Dec 18, 2015 near Tamalpa…, CA
One of the nicer stops on Old Springs; get your fog while you can as it is going away.
Aug 24, 2019 near Tamalpa…, CA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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All Clear 42 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Mar 23, 2021
Jose Fernandez Orozco
Feb 24, 2021
Waldir Ribeiro Vinagre
Feb 5, 2021
Albert Feeny
Jan 24, 2021
Andrew Buell
13mi — 1h 53m
Dec 12, 2020
Wesley Yun
Oct 31, 2020
Mike Rox
Started from Sportsbasement, completed the loop, and back. 30.9mi — 3h 13m
Oct 25, 2020
Arto K