Bolinas Ridge

Mount Tamalpais Watershed, California

Elevation Gain3,432ft
Trailhead Elevation368ft
Elevation Min/Max363/1683ft
Elevation Start/End368/368ft

Bolinas Ridge

Bolinas Ridge is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Marin County, California. It is within Mount Tamalpais Watershed and Samuel P. Taylor State Park. It is 11.0 miles long and begins at 368 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 22.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,432 feet. Along the trail there is a picnic site. This trail connects with the following: Mccurdy, Bourne Trail Fire Road, Randall Spur, Shafter Grade and Jewell.

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"

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"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."

"One of the most scenic and popular mountain bike trails in Marin County, the Bolinas Ridge Trail winds 11 miles from Olema to Fairfax - Bolinas Road, meandering over hills and through forests and cow pastures, offering expansive views of the Bolinas lagoon, Inverness Ridge, Tomales Bay and Black Mountain. this ride only covers half of the actual trail."

Bolinas Ridge Reviews

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Good dog trail. The first mile or so is through cow grazing pastures so your dog should be kept on a leash. In fact, a sign warned that the cows can aggressively protect their calves. If your dog treats manure like Cliff Bars, like mine does, he'll love this place - a poo buffet. After about 4-5 miles through rolling scenic meadow hills, you enter the forest. So, you get diversity in the meadows and forest. Bring plenty of water for you and your dog as it gets pretty warm.
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One of the best in Marin County. Allow yourself 3 hours. Start from the Olema end & ride up to Fairfax/Bolinas Rd & back down....the other direction is tedious. Not very technical but some steep grinds at the end of the climb (just when your legs are giving out). Watch the last 3 miles on the downhill leg for potholes & wash-outs. Close to the coast so the weather can be unpredictable so bring warm clothes. Great views from the ridge, redwood sections & open pastures. Our gang loves this ride.
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This is a great ride on a well-constructed trail, with gorgeous views. Ranges between single-track and narrow trail, a combination of dirt and rock surface, but not rocky or technically challenging. Nice gradual climbs to top, with views south to Novato and north to San Francisco and the Bay. Adjacent trails down into beautiful redwood and mixed forest are unfortunately on private land. The biggest complaint about this trail is it's too short, with no loop options. Even on a beautiful June weekend, there were few other riders and hikers on the trail.

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Trail Information

Mount Tamalpais Watershed
Nearby City
Mount Tamalpais Watershed
Skill Level
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Fort Mason, Bldg. 201, San Francisco, 94123; (415)561-4700;
Local Contacts
USGS Inverness, San Geronimo; National Park Service Point Reyes National Seashore
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018