Bolinas Ridge Professional Reviews and Guides
"Bolinas Ridge Trail is a long, point-to-point affair that spans the just more than 11-mile gap between Fairfax-Bolinas Road to the south and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the north. The ride described here is an out-and-back affair beginning at and returning to Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. However, if you’re not up for a 23-mile mountain bike ride, you can do the trail in two halves, or perhaps have someone pick you up at one end, for a true point-to-point experience. Starting at the gate on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, you enter through a tight, serpentine pedestrian walkway designed to keep the cows in. The gate is relatively low, so most will have no problem hoisting their bikes over. Ride past the Bolinas Ridge Trailhead sign and go about"
--Skye Craft, Mountain Bike! San Francisco and the Bay Area (Menasha Ridge Press).
"Bolinas Ridge Trail provides commanding views of bald hills, wooded ridges, and expansive Tomales Bay as it escorts you past large coast live oak and eventually through Douglas fir. Be sure to take in the great views of rolling hillsides and Tomales Bay."
--John R. Soares & Marc J. Soares, 100 Classic Hikes in Northern California (The Mountaineers Books).
"This ride has just about everything a person needs to be happy: cool redwoods, wide open grasslands, great views, neat rocks, long climbs doing double duty as long, sweeping downhills, and a little bit of technical stuff (some tree roots, some rocks). There's enough to hold your interest, but not so much that you're not demoralized if you ain't exactly Hans Rey."
--Delaine Fragnoli & Robin Stuart, Mountain Biking Northern California's Best 100 Trails (Fine Edge Productions).
"This hike takes you up gently rolling open terrain along a dirt ranch road where cattle graze unfazed by dogs or bikes. Seeing the endless undulation of rich green pastures interrupted by oak groves surrounded by pristine views, you’ll quickly understand why California cows are called “happy cows.” This is an easily accessed trail in a geologically remarkable region of coastal Northern California.With the exception of three beaches, dogs are not allowed on the trails in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Fortunately the Golden Gate National Recreation Area has a remote finger of land called the Bolinas Ridge that reaches north to the Olema Valley and parallels the forested ridge of the Point Reyes National Seashore where you and your dog can enjoy a romp in this unique and accessible pocket of Northern California."
--Linda B. Mullally and David S. Mullally, Best Dog Hikes Northern California (Falcon Guides).
"The Bolinas Ridge Trail begins on the pastoral ridgeline east of Olema Valley. Especially popular with mountain bikers, the trail crosses rolling coastal rangeland, enters towering redwoods, and breaks into open chaparral before it reaches its southern trailhead at Alpine Road on Mt. Tamalpais. You’ll enjoy far-reaching views of Bolinas Lagoon, Tomales Bay, and the Pacific Ocean. In sunny Olema Valley, this trip is a good choice when fog blankets the coast."
--Jessica Lage, Point Reyes: The Complete Guide to the National Seashore and Surrounding Area (Wilderness Press).
"If sweeping views and a certain amount of solitude are your idea of a weekend escape, the Bolinas Ridge Trail just might be your cup of tea. The trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers, and leashed dogs, of course."
--Jason Fator, Best Hikes With Dogs: San Francisco Bay Area and Beyond (The Mountaineers Books).
"The trail starts from a wooden gate and gains 700 feet in elevation is the first 2.5 miles, cutting through rough granite outcroppings as the wide and inviting path inches up the ridgeline. You’ll come to your first spot to look around at a little over 0.5 mile. Look northwest for good views of Tomales Bay and the Point Reyes peninsula. Look east to Barnabe Peak.
At 1.3 miles, you’ll get to a signed trail junction for the Jewell Fire Road. A little farther on, you’ll come to a field that from which you can see the dark forested Iverness Ridge as well as the Olema Valley. The trail gains its highest point nearly 5 miles into the trek, where eucalyptus trees stand guard."
--Thom Gabrukiewicz, Best Hikes with Dogs: Bay Area & Beyond (The Mountaineers Books).
"The Bolinas Ridge Fire Road is such an easy trail to follow, you probably won’t need a map. It’s well signed and the route is an obvious dirt road. Basically a hardpacked dirt and gravel road, masquerading as a double-track in some spots, its general smoothness makes it mildly technical terrain. Though there are numerous steep hills, none are unforgivingly long, generally about a quarter-mile in length. Riding the route as an out-and-back from north to south is mostly uphill with steepness up to a 9% grade, forcing some beginners and youngsters to dismount and walk. Not to worry. There are plenty of welcomed flat and coasting sections throughout. Keep in mind that as you grind up all those rolling hills of open pasture and carry on into a redwood forest, the return from south to north is mostly downhill. Unobstructed views of nearby ridges make the return simply exhilarating."
--Linda Austin, Mountain Bike! Northern California (Menasha Ridge Press).
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