Old Railroad - Tenderfoot loop - This is not meant to be a complete ride - the whole loop will take an intermediate rider 45' from start to finish. However, there are an enormous number of legal options stemming from this basic loop, so it is worth knowing. Also, Tenderfoot is the best legal singletrack on Tam. Other trails to include in longer loops are Hoo Koo E Koo FR and Eldridge Grade.
As a general note, when the weather is favorable, Mt. Tam recieves insanely heavy usage on weekends. I recommend going mid-week, or at dusk if you want to cut down on the number of people - but even at off-peak times, you will see other people out on the trails.
Once you get on your bike, and continue up W. Blithedale. Eventually (0.5 miles from where you parked) you will reach the gate to Old Railroad Grade FR on the right side of the road. Turn onto Old Railroad Grade, toss it in the middle ring, and spin up the mountain. You will reach a gate, whereupon the fireroad becones Fern Canyon Rd. Continue on Fern Canyon Rd. past Summit, and all the way up to where the fireroad starts again. Take the fireroad up to the first fork - make a left at this fork, which is Gravity Car.
Descend Gravity Car past the gate, up the short hill, and onto Panoramic Hwy. On the left will be a restaurant, which is the Mountain Home Inn. On the opposite side of Mountain Home Inn is a road (Edgewood, I think). Take this road, and follow it until you see the trailhead for Tenderfoot on the left.
Tenderfoot begins with a bang. There is a switchback, followed by a section of off-camber tree roots. Follow Tenderfoot all the way to the bottom - the scenery switches from redwoods to manzanita about halfway down, that the trail surface changes from roots to rutted sandstone. There are several unmarked trails that deviate from Tenderfoot, but as long as you take the obvious well-traveled route, you can't get lost.
Tenderfoot will intersect with Cascade Rd. at the bottom. Follow Cascade until it intersects with Throckmorton, and jog left then right on Throckmorton. Throckmorton will funnel you through downtown Mill Valley.
When you reach the grocery store on Throckmorton, make a left on Corte Madera Ave. Follow this to the small park, where there are a few easter eggs to play around on.
To get back to your car, backtrack on Corte Madera to Gardner, make a left on Gardner, and make a left on W. Blithedale, which should look familiar.
Ride rating: Intermediate
Posted on 3/10/05