Beginner’s Guide to Biking in Marin
Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2018 by MCVB Staff
By Joe Kukura
Biking is built into the fabric and culture of Northern California’s famous getaway Marin County. Bike-friendly roads wind through the charming locales of Larkspur, Point Reyes, and Tomales Bay, and Marin County motorists have been courteously braking for bikers since long before bike paths became cool. And for mountain bikers, Marin County’s mountains and famous forests offer hundreds of miles of superbly scenic off-road trails suitable for any skill level and ideal for beginners.
Marin County is truly the birthplace of mountain biking, and a great choice for beginning mountain bikers or road bikers to take their baby steps. Whether you’re eager for pedaling past majestic views of the Pacific Ocean and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge skyline, or looking to trailblaze a path into mountain biking, you won’t find a more picturesque place than Marin County to get your biking skills in gear.
We’ve listed a few of Marin County’s best biking trails for beginners below. These road biking and mountain biking trails aren’t too long and their hills aren’t terribly steep, and we’ve included descriptions of what kinds of incomparable Marin County scenery you can expect to see.
Best Road Biking for Beginners
If you prefer to go road biking, there aren’t many roads more famous than the California coastal route popularly known as Highway 1. You can bike right across the Golden Gate Bridge on a road bike path known as the Golden Gateway, and the “sunny side of the Golden Gate Bridge” in Marin County offers several Golden Gate Bridge viewpoints like the Marin Headlands/Golden Gate National Recreation Area to serve as the scenic centerpiece of your ride. Cameras, of course, are highly recommended
Best Mountain Biking for Beginners
Beginning mountain bikers will want to trek further north to Novato, where the Indian Valley Open Space Preserve features flat and easy off-road trails that overlook a nonstop parade of natural wonders like canyons, creeks, rock formations and wildflower fields. Some trails are for hikers only, whereas others welcome mountain bikers, horseback riders and even your pooch if properly leashed.
Biking With Wildlife Watching
You’ll see the magnificent peak of Mount Tamalpais from all over Marin County and its surrounding areas, and Mount Tamalpais mountain biking presents a giant selection of trails on the very mountain on which mountain biking was invented. Those trails are teeming with deer and hundreds of bird species, but road bikers can also catch glimpses of these amazing animals from the mountain’s base in Corte Madera where the marshes are home to egrets, herons, hawks and more for a bird-watching bonanza.
A Sunday Ride With California Scenery
One of the best-known easy and casual Marin County rides is the Dillon Beach Ramble, a 52-mile figure-eight path that can easily be broken down in half for a beginner-friendly ride. The ramble is popular among bicyclists because of the low volume of car traffic along Dillon Beach and Tomales Petaluma Road, but first-time riders will love the sweeping landscapes of Marin County organic farms and the cows, llamas, and horses you’ll see grazing in the fields.
Biking With Beach Views
Stinson Beach is one of wine country’s best-kept scenic secrets, and the Stinson Beach Loop overlooks the beach with incomparable high-elevation views. There is some uphill pedaling required, but the descents are pleasant on this 24-mile ride that you can choose to wrap up by cruising south to the Muir Beach overlook or inland toward the famously trendy boutiques and cafes of Mill Valley.
There is even a Marin Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax, establishing Marin County as one of the best bicycling locations in California. So break away to the coasts, forests and green pastures of Marin County for a biking getaway suitable for any skill level.