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Fairfax-Bo Ridge Gravel Grinder

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.3 (16) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Maximum dirt, minimum traffic, amazing views along this big, mostly fire road, loop.


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Map Key

43.3

Miles

69.6

KM

10%

Singletrack

1,664' 507 m

High

70' 21 m

Low

3,638' 1,109 m

Up

3,638' 1,109 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

28%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Overview

Gravel grinders on MTB Project? Sure!

This is a 40+ mile mostly dirt loop from Fairfax. It is the type of loop we would want to ride if we were visiting Fairfax on a bike trip. Maximum dirt, minimum traffic, epic views, tough climbs, shady forests, etc. This ride has it all.

This ride is mostly fire road and ranch road doubletrack, linked together by lightly traveled pavement sections. It flows best as a clockwise loop, but can be ridden in either direction. Clockwise does most climbing on pavement, most descending on dirt.

You can do this ride on any knobby tire bike (and I have done it on my full suspension bike), but it is best suited to modern gravel/adventure bikes. At 40+ miles, it would be a long day on a big travel bike, but totally doable. Recommended bikes for this would be gravel bike with 35mm-40mm tires (your most fun), cyclocross bike, or hardtail mountain bike. You can have an epic day on a full suspension bike, of course, it's just going to be slower on the road sections.

This ride is designed for those wanting maximum views AND good mileage.

This ride is not very technically challenging but does have lots of short steep climbs, rutted rooty descents, and lots of miles. Technical rating is moderate. The ride is tough because of distance.

Need to Know

As always, be prepared with plenty of food, water, tube, pump, multi-tool. There is a 20+ mile section with no services on this ride.

There is water at the Meadow Club, in Samuel P. Taylor campground, and stores in Lagunitas and Woodacre.

Keep cattle gates closed on Bolinas Ridge! Expect cows and dodging cow pies on the lower half of Bolinas Ridge.

Description

This ride starts in Fairfax and climbs through the Marin Municipal Water District watershed around the Meadow Club golf course. You'll climb on the pavement of Fairfax-Bolinas road for approximately one mile before hitting the dirt again on Pine Mountain Fire Road.

Grunt through a steep, exposed, rocky climb before turning onto Oat Hill Fire Road/ Old Vee Road for a rolling (mostly descending) ride to Kent Pump Road.

Enjoy the shade of Kent Pump Road as you make your way to Alpine Dam for a shady 2.4-mile pavement climb to Bolinas Ridge. Bolinas Ridge is an 11-mile section of rolling dirt with shady forests and open grass on old ranch doubletrack. Bolinas Ridge features gorgeous views, shady redwood groves, ferns, flowers, wide open grasslands, cows, and some short steep climbs.

You'll hit the pavement again on Sir Francis Drake Blvd for a 1/2 mile before turning onto the Cross Marin bike path where you'll have no vehicle traffic until you cross back over the creek at Shafter Grade Trail (Kent Dam to Bolinas Ridge).

It's a road burn on lightly traveled back roads through San Geronimo Valley to the last dirt section on Old Railroad Grade Trail back to the neighborhoods in Fairfax.

I placed the start of this ride at Sunshine Bikes in Fairfax because there is a bike shop, brewery, coffee shop and health food store within a 1/2 block. You can start this ride anywhere in Fairfax since parking in downtown Fairfax gets crowded on weekends. There are also numerous options to extend this ride into a true long-distance gravel grinder epic.

Please let me know in the comments what you think of the route!

Shared By:

S. Lengyel

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 16 votes

#2

in Marin County

#675

Overall
  4.3 from 16 votes
5 Star
50%
4 Star
31%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
6%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#2

in Marin County

#103

in California

#675

Overall
576 Views Last Month
31,264 Since May 13, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
14%
29%
57%
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Photos

Alphawanderlust.com -Ride into the sunset- Bolinas Ridge
Jun 5, 2018 near Lagunit…, CA
Alphawanderlust.com | Overlooking Stinson Beach | Bolinas Ridge
Jun 5, 2018 near Bolinas, CA
Bo Ridge in Spring.
May 14, 2016 near Lagunit…, CA
Bolinas Ridge
Apr 11, 2013 near Bolinas, CA
Alpine Dam, start of the second paved climb.
May 13, 2016 near Bolinas, CA
Descending old doubletrack/cow trail with Tomales Bay in the background
May 14, 2016 near Lagunit…, CA

Weather


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Check-Ins

Mar 6, 2021
Stephen McCord
Feb 7, 2021
Joel Winter
Sep 26, 2020
F PS
Jul 19, 2020
Pieter waco
41.9mi — 7h 04m
Apr 25, 2020
Andy G
Mar 21, 2020
James Rajasingh
Mar 8, 2020
adrian lu
Sep 23, 2019
Grant Oakley
Rode this on a CX bike, which made the descents pretty tricky in spots. 40.7mi — 3h 51m