3 Gaps Trail Initiative Update Easy Grade Trail Moving Forward
Following closely on the heels of Azalea Hill’s recent approval, another 3 Gaps Trail Initiative project is primed to move forward. State Parks on July 17 confirmed that they will pursue a change-in-use for Easy Grade Trail, improving off-road bicycling connectivity on Mt. Tamalpais and moving us closer to the completion of a continuous bike-legal dirt route from Golden Gate Bridge to Pt. Reyes!
Once improved and adopted for bicycle use, Easy Grade Trail will provide an alternative to a narrow and curvy section of Pantoll Road, linking Pantoll Station with Mountain Play Theater and Rock Springs Fire Road (approximate alignment shown below with a dotted line). The project will provide a car-free route to the Theater, reduce vehicle trips, and close a bicycling gap in the Bay Area Ridge Trail.
MCBC met with State Parks and other stakeholders last week to preview the project and review outcomes from several rounds of input on issues ranging from potential user conflicts to environmental impacts. Challenges to be addressed in the trail adaptation include a trail intersection realignment to improve sightlines, the creation of pinchpoints to minimize the likelihood of user conflicts, and the avoidance of a serpentine habitat.
The change-in-use approach avoids the cost and environmental impacts associated with building a brand new trail, instead taking advantage of a redundant trail. Old Mine Trail (hiker/equestrian) and Bootjack Trail (hiker only) will remain bike-free alternatives.
A notice of determination was issued by State Parks in 2019, we are waiting for funding to implement the safety and resource enhancements associated with the project. CLICK HERE to see the planned enhancements. The trail will remain closed to bikes until work is completed.
ABOUT 3 gaps initiative
Many people choose off-road bicycling specifically to avoid motor vehicle traffic and the fear of being struck by a car. Consequently, most mountain bikers report a diminished experience when doing riding any real distance in Marin, due to the need to ride roads to connect trails.
MCBC’s 3 Gaps Initiative identified key gaps in Marin’s trail network that do just this: Dias Ridge, Azalea Hill, and Easy Grade Trail. Once all three are complete, you will be able to ride a bike-legal, natural surface route from Golden Gate Bridge to Pt. Reyes without exposure to vehicle traffic.
MEMBERS MAKE IT HAPPEN!
We’re excited to build on this momentum with several more projects that will increase access and improve trail connectivity, headlined by our campaign to create new gravel and mountain biking opportunities in Pt. Reyes National Seashore and throughout Marin. Are you with us?
MCBC’s work to make bicycling more safe, fun, and accessible relies on your generous giving. Please support the organization making your rides better by joining us today, or making a one-time or recurring gift to MCBC’s Off-Road Program.