Coastal Trail: W. Ridgecrest Blvd to Bolinas-Fairfax Rd, Mt Tamalpais State Park - McKennan Gulch Trailhead, San Francisco: Marin Headlands - Mt Tamalpais - Point Reyes, California
Coastal Trail: W. Ridgecrest Blvd to Bolinas-Fairfax Rd - 4.0 miles
Mt Tamalpais State Park - McKennan Gulch Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||4.0 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||1,719' - 1,516' (1,722' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||-203' net elevation loss (+714' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Coastal Trail: W. Ridgecrest Blvd to Bolinas-Fairfax Rd - 4.0 Miles Round-Trip
The Coastal Trail stretches 17 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge through the Marin Headlands and Mt Tamalpais State Park. The northernmost section runs two miles from West Ridgecrest Blvd in Mt Tamalpais State Park to Bolinas-Fairfax Road in the GGNRA.
This 2 mile segment features mild grades, open coastal hills, redwood forests and views of Bolinas Lagoon. It's scenically comparable to the section between Pantoll Ranger Station and West Ridgecrest Blvd but shorter, more ecologically diverse and lightly traveled.
It drops gradually toward the head of Morses Gulch and bumps up against West Ridgecrest Blvd for just a moment before making a decisive turn away from the road (1.25 miles : 1,485'). Note orchard trees in the vicinity planted by John Wright.
The Coastal Trail turns west and drops quickly through mixed timber, interrupted once by a short stretch of diminutive chaparral and views of Bolinas Lagoon. It nadirs in a thick laurel forest (1.65 miles : 1,380') and turns uphill on a winding climb through redwoods of increasing size and number. The trail edges back east through dense redwood columns to its terminus on Bolinas-Fairfax Road (2.0 miles : 1,516').
Extend your trip by crossing Bolinas-Fairfax road and continuing on the Bolinas Ridge Trail, which runs 11.3 miles to Sir Francis Drake Blvd near the Bear Valley Visitor Center in Point Reyes National Seashore.
- N37 55.466 W122 38.406 — 0.0 miles : McKennan Gulch Trailhead on West Ridgecrest Blvd
- N37 55.842 W122 38.732 — .6 miles : Rolling grade through open coastal hills
- N37 56.115 W122 39.126 — 1.25 miles : Trail turns sharply west into forest
- N37 56.106 W122 39.341 — 1.65 miles : Descent ends; trail turns uphill
- N37 56.362 W122 39.514 — 2.0 miles : Coastal Trail ends at Bolinas-Fairfax Rd
- Consider a short .12 mile walk up the McKennan Gulch Trail to an overlook with great views across Stinson Beach and Bolinas Lagoon.
- The Coastal Trail's full roundtrip distance between Pantoll Ranger Station and Fairfax Bolinas Road is 12.3 miles. It's considered one of the most scenic trail runs in Mt Tamalpais State Park.
- The Coastal Trail is part of the greater Bay Area Ridge Trail system, a 310+ mile route that runs through all nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Backcountry camping is not permitted within Mt Tamalpais State Park.
- The Pantoll Campground is located on Panoramic Highway adjacent to the Pantoll Ranger Station. It has 16 campsites, each with a table, rock barbecue, food locker and space for a tent. Phones, faucets, firewood and flush toilets are nearby. There are no showers. Sites are first-come, first-served.
Steep Ravine Environmental Campground
- The Steep Ravine Environmental Campground is located on a coastal terrace off Highway 1, one mile south of Stinson Beach. It has nine rustic cabins and seven primitive campsites. Each cabin has a wood stove, picnic table, benches, sleeping platforms and outdoor bbq.
- The cabins do not have running water or electricity. Primitive toilets, faucets, and firewood are nearby. Primitive campsites are located a few hundred yards from the parking area. Each site has a table, fire pit, food locker and space for a tent. Primitive toilets and water faucets are nearby. There are no showers at Steep Ravine Campground.
Alice Eastwood Group Camp
- Alice Eastwood Group Camp is located off Panoramic Highway on Alice Eastwood Road. It has two campsites. Site A holds up to 50 people; Site B holds up to 25 people. Both sites have tables, flush toilets, water faucets with sinks, bbq grills and a large area for tents.
Frank Valley Group Horse Camp
- Frank Valley Group Horse Camp is located 1.5 miles West of Muir Woods National Monument on Muir Woods Road. It has 12 pipe corrals, water faucets, watering troughs, picnic tables, fire rings and a pit toilet. The minimum group size is 2 horses; the maximum size is 12 horses.
- To reserve a campground visit www.reserveamerica.com or call 800.444.7275. For specific camping and campground questions, call Pantoll Ranger Station at 415.388.2070.
- Backcountry camping is not permitted within Mt Tamalpais State Park.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs and Bikes are not permitted on this section of the Coastal Trail.
Directions to Trailhead
Mt Tamalpais State Park is located north of San Francisco in Marin County. The McKennan Gulch Trailhead is located 12.1 miles from Highway 101 on Panoramic Highway. The McKennan Gulch Trailhead is located 3.5 miles northwest of Pantoll Ranger Station on West Ridgecrest Blvd.
From Highway 101, exit Stinson Beach - Highway 1 and follow the exit ramp west .6 miles to the Highway 1 - Almonte Blvd intersection. Turn left on Highway 1 toward Stinson Beach. The road winds up the mountain to the Panoramic Highway split (3.2 miles) - veer right on Panoramic Highway (anticipate this quick turnoff).
Remain on Panoramic Highway and follow signs for Mt Tamalpais State Park to the Pantoll Ranger Station (keep straight at the Muir Woods - Mill Valley fork at 4.0 miles). From the Pantoll Ranger Station, veer right up Pantoll Road and continue 1.4 miles to West Ridgecrest Blvd. Turn left on West Ridgecrest and travel 2.2 miles to the McKennan Gulch Trailhead and parking area on the west side of the road. Spaces are limited.
Mt Tamalpais State Park
801 Panoramic Highway
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123-0022