Ride the Ridge
Mountain bike or hike the Bolinas Ridge Trail in Point Reyes
Galloping green hills, grazing cattle, great vantages … Bolinas Ridge Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore is a challenging yet visually rewarding intermediate-level mountain bike ride (you can also hike this multi-use trail). Winter and spring are ideal for an adventure here: The landscape is lush, the air crisp for clear scenery, and seasonal features like wildflowers can pop early.
This is an 11-mile (one-way) out-and-back trail that starts at the northern trailhead at Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and ends at Bolinas-Fairfax Road. Mountain bikers and hikers can turn around at any point and return the way they came (or map out a return route via connecting trails and roads). We recommend a 10-mile (round-trip) out-and-back mountain bike ride or hike up to a scenic picnic table beside a giant rocky outcropping.
You’ll start with a steady climb up to the ridge, and your first bit of scenery is likely to be pure Cowlifornia: Cattle nosh on grasslands here (give them space and be respectful; they’ll return the favor). Take in the big views of the loping grasslands as you ride up a dirt trail vacillating between wide open with some rutted sections and singletrack through forest, including some redwoods.
This trails flows, but there are some steeper grades as you make your way up and along the ridge (there’s no shame in walking your bike on these sections!). Keep going past the first picnic table you spy on the route, aiming for the second one higher on the ridge. It’ll clock you in at around 5 miles. The return trip is where you’ll find some flow on the downhill, with beautiful views of Marin’s Barnabe Peak and expansive Point Reyes—all the way out to Bodega Bay.
The Bolinas Ridge Trailhead is along Sir Francis Drake Blvd. There are pullouts for parking. Note: The entrance to the trail is a cattle trap L shape, so hikers can pass through, but bikers will have to hoist their bike over the fence. Mountain bikers should wear a helmet. The trail is 11 miles one way, so you can turn around at any point and retrace your route. Dog-friendly (dogs should be leashed as cattle are common).
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