Tamarancho Trail is a 9.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Fairfax, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
This loop is very popular by mountain Bikers. String together the Cascade and the Blue Ridge, (with numerous amounts of alternatives) for a fun afternoon full of views and wooded watershed. Keep your eyes out for bikers (try to head in a clockwise direction on the loop) The first 2.5 miles is a climb up a fire road and then you enjoy smooth cross country ride. This is one of the very good rides around the birthplace of mountain bike riding.
Excellent. Good mixed of technical, climbs with switchbacks and rolling downhills.
Difficult at times but great single track mountain bike course. Must have permit to bike here, Rangers spot check on trail. Easy to get day permits at local bike stores.
Bring lots of ICE! A sentiment I overheard from an anonymous young rider and fully endorse was "get me off this bitch!" You'll be lured by the climbs which are nothing; maybe 1000' vert and not steep. The trail however is pure gnarl. The most critical apexes of the numerous switchbacks are narrow and littered with huge boulders. Many turns are so sharp and vertical that you cannot put a foot down. So whether climbing or descending you're going to need lots of brake and a lower than normal saddle height. Before even starting the ride I saw one guy with a pinch flat, another with a snapped handle bar with his arm in a sling, another with a bent derailleur hanger. On the top of the ascent which I survived, I mentioned to my buddies that there was probably no dearth of helicopter "life flights" out of this place. Indeed I had my own near death experience on the descent. I have a Cannondale Flash 29er hardtail On Sat. I would have given a left nut for a full suspension rig. The rock gardens are numerous I started getting tired and went over the bars. I cartwheeled over boulders rag dolling for a good 10-15 feet. My back, shoulder, right elbow (contused), knee (contusion) and left wrist (contusion) got scraped and bruised up good (no breaks thank you sweet Jesus.) Returned to my bike to find both hydraulic brake actuators had disengaged from the plungers, handlebars off center by 20 degrees and chain off. I continued my folly by attempting the decent conservatively, that is with plungers attached to the brake actuators with constant hand pressure. Somewhere along the trail the brakes lost all pressure. I didn't make this revelation till hurtling toward a switchback and lost all brakes. I laid it down, snapping a finger and further embedding unneeded gravel and branches into my torn flesh. Crowded, exposed and potentially deadly. The ice? Ice that shit after you crash. You'll heal much faster.
Just to be clear, there is no actual trail called "Tamarancho Trail". Tamarancho is a system of trails located in Fairfax that is maintained by both the Boy Scounts and Volunteers (go on Sundays and help out!). It is Mountain Bike focused (which is a breath of fresh air in a place like Marin), but is open to hikers as well. The trails are 100% single track except for the new Flow Trail, which is a wider double track. There is not a single trail there for beginner bikers. Every trail is Intermediate to Advanced. Nothing overly difficult, but definitely challenging. The new Flow Trail is amazing and a great way to both test and develop your mountain biking skills. An important note is that most people ride the trails in a loop and do so clokwise. If you go counter-clockwise you will end up complaining that you had to get off your bike too many times to accommodate the other trail-users going the opposite direction of yourself. Another important distinction is that to ride these trails it is good etiquette to PAY FOR YOUR USAGE. You can get a day pass for $5 or a season pass for $45 (good for a full year) at Sunshine Bicycles in Fairfax. Paying for your pass helps to keep the trails maintained and fun to ride. You can also get your pass at the link I have attached. Happy riding!
Great switch backs and diverse terrain. Definitely challenging yet not bad for an intermediate rider like me.
Excellent loop with some nice views and some fun little descents.
Don't forget to pay your $5 trail fee at the bike shop in FairFax.