Norcal - Marin County - Mill Valley NickNames: #Mt.Tam-OldRailroad/Tenderfoot tenderfoot
Mt. Tamalpais is the birthplace of Mountain Biking as we know it. It is littered with fireroads and well-marked insanely technical singletrack, and the sweeping panoramic scenery is beautiful enough to make you cry.
Sadly, Mt. Tam is also the most visible battlefield in the war for MTB access on the planet. It is no secret that MTBrs as a group have been on the losing end of that battle. The MTB-legal singletrack trails can be counted on one hand, and illegal trail riding here will get you a very big ticket - to the tune of $250 or so the last time I checked. It really isn't worth it - if the rangers don't catch you, you will be verbally abused by hikers... and you might even get verbally abused by hikers for riding the legal trails. They really don't like us.
Here's a link to the court case that reduced MTB access on Tam to a trickle:
And if that pisses you off, here's our local representation:
If you are a biker and you live in Marin, you should be a BTCM member. Period.
All that said, Mt. Tam is something that we should all experience. Get out there and ride. It's where it all started.
From the GG bridge, head north on the 101 until you reach the Blithedale exit. Go L (west) on Blithedale, and continue through downtown Mill Valley. Park on W. Blithedale anywhere you like past the park - most people park between Bigelow and Cottage.
Please be courteous to the residents of this area, and clean up after yourselves.
As a general note, when the weather is favorable, Mt. Tam recieves insanely heavy usage on weekends. I recommend going mid-week, or at dusk if you want to cut down on the number of people - but even at off-peak times, you will see other people out on the trails.
Once you get on your bike, and continue up W. Blithedale. Eventually (0.5 miles from where you parked) you will reach the gate to Old Railroad Grade FR on the right side of the road. Turn onto Old Railroad Grade, toss it in the middle ring, and spin up the mountain. You will reach a gate, whereupon the fireroad becones Fern Canyon Rd. Continue on Fern Canyon Rd. past Summit, and all the way up to where the fireroad starts again. Take the fireroad up to the first fork - make a left at this fork, which is Gravity Car.
Descend Gravity Car past the gate, up the short hill, and onto Panoramic Hwy. On the left will be a restaurant, which is the Mountain Home Inn. On the opposite side of Mountain Home Inn is a road (Edgewood, I think). Take this road, and follow it until you see the trailhead for Tenderfoot on the left.
Tenderfoot begins with a bang. There is a switchback, followed by a section of off-camber tree roots. Follow Tenderfoot all the way to the bottom - the scenery switches from redwoods to manzanita about halfway down, that the trail surface changes from roots to rutted sandstone. There are several unmarked trails that deviate from Tenderfoot, but as long as you take the obvious well-traveled route, you can't get lost.
Tenderfoot will intersect with Cascade Rd. at the bottom. Follow Cascade until it intersects with Throckmorton, and jog left then right on Throckmorton. Throckmorton will funnel you through downtown Mill Valley.
When you reach the grocery store on Throckmorton, make a left on Corte Madera Ave. Follow this to the small park, where there are a few easter eggs to play around on.
To get back to your car, backtrack on Corte Madera to Gardner, make a left on Gardner, and make a left on W. Blithedale, which should look familiar.
Ride rating: Intermediate