Bay Area Jewels     August 2011
In This Issue
Fabulous Hike
Fabulous Bike Ride #1
Fabulous Bike Ride #2
Fabulous Bike Ride #3
Who is Douglas Herring & Associates?


Lucas Valley RoadIt's summertime, and you may be on vacation, or wishing you were. We're blessed to live in an area that is a major vacation destination spot for people from all over the world. So, for a change of pace, in this issue of our periodic eAlerts, I'm highlighting some world-class Bay Area hikes and bike trips, all of which I can personally vouch for.

I was drawn into the field of environmental planning because of my love of the outdoors, and I love living in the Bay Area because of its many outdoor treasures.

Several of my favorites are highlighted below. Please feel free to share your favorites with us.

We look forward to bringing you our expertise in environmental planning on city, county, or private development projects in California. In case you didn't know, we have a specialized team of CEQA experts and solve even the most vexing issues for public and private organizations.

Doug Herring, AICP

Archives:  Our previous eAlerts are now archived at:  DHA eAlerts Archive   
Photography by Doug Herring except as noted.   

Marin-SF panorama

Fabulous Hike    


Marin Coastal Trail Loop. This hike is an approximately 7-mile loop in Mt. Tamalpais State Park (Marin County), with great variety of ecosystems, including redwoods, and tremendous views of the coast and the Bay. Start at Bootjack Camp on Panoramic Highway (parking fee required) and pick up the Matt Davis Trail to Pan Toll Ranger Station, then continue west on the Matt Davis Trail and then the Coastal Trail. As you head north, after passing through a mixed hardwood forest, you'll come out on grassy coastal slopes, where there are great informal picnic spots with views of Bolinas Lagoon, far below, and the Farallon Islands about 23 miles offshore. Be sure to look back periodically for views of the San Francisco skyline.


When you come to a wide fire road (about 3.3 miles from Pan Toll), head briefly uphill on the steep fire road, then cross the paved road and continue down into the bay forest on Laurel Dell Fire Road. Next, turn right onto the Cataract Trail, which will cross and follow Cataract Creek before opening into a meadow near Rock Spring. Once you come to the Rock Spring parking lot, cross Ridgecrest Boulevard and pick up the Mountain Theater Fire Road on the far side of the parking lot. Climb the nearby boulder-strewn slope for gorgeous views of San Pablo Bay, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and San Francisco. Continue on the fire road to Mountain Theater, where summer plays are held, and from here, follow Bootjack Trail back to the Bootjack trailhead and parking lot. You can also start this hike from the Pan Toll Station, but parking is difficult on nice weekends.


Coastal Trail Map 


Pan Toll Road panorama

Fabulous Bike Rides      

I'm starting with another beautiful Marin County trip here, but also have recommendations below for those of you in the East Bay or South Bay.


Marin Stinson Beach/Muir Woods Loop. This 30-mile bike loop has some challenging climbs, well rewarded with a variety of beautiful views, just a few of which are shown here. Like the previous hike, this route takes you through hardwood forests, redwood forests, and over rolling grasslands. A good place to start is at the junction of Panoramic Highway and Muir Woods Road, about three-quarters of a mile north of Highway 1. Follow Panoramic Highway north, then west, for about 2.7 miles until you come to Pan Toll Road/Mountain Theater Road. Turn right on Pan Toll Road and follow it for about 0.6 mile to Ridgecrest Boulevard. Turn left and follow Ridgecrest north for about 3.2 miles, turning left onto Bolinas-Fairfax Road. Bolinas Lagoon


You now have a couple of miles of curvy downhill through beautiful hardwood forest. Even on glorious summer weekends you will encounter few cars on this road, which brings you out to the north end of Bolinas Lagoon. Turn left on Highway 1 and follow it alongside the large lagoon, which provides great opportunities for viewing wildlife, including seals and many bird species.


Continue south on Highway 1 to Stinson Beach, where you can buy lunch at the general store or eat in one of the restaurants lining the main drag through town. Recharge your batteries with a rest on the beach, then head north on Highway 1 for about 4.3 miles, enjoying beautiful coastal views that extend well down the San Francisco Peninsula. Turn left onto Muir Woods Road, which will take you through the redwood groves of Muir Woods back up to your starting point at Panoramic Highway.

Stinson-Muir route map 

Fabulous Bike Ride #2      

Mines Road. This country ride with very little traffic (after the first several miles) starts on the east side of the City of Livermore and climbs up into beautiful grassy hillsides and oak woodlands, paralleling Alameda Creek for many miles. My favorite time to do this ride is in April or early May, when some of the high meadows are covered with orange, purple, and yellow carpets of wildflowers. Be advised that Mines Road 1temperatures can exceed 100 degrees in the summer. The route is simple: just follow Mines Road as far as you like, then turn around and come back. You can take Mines Road all the way south to the top of Mt. Hamilton, about 46 miles one way (about 23 miles out the road becomes San Antonio Valley Road/Highway 130).


You can start in town or drive east on South Livermore Avenue, which becomes Tesla Road, then turn right on Mines Road. If you start in town, such as from the library, be sure to pick up the nice paved bike path that runs between Concannon Boulevard and Mines Road, on the south side of the road. If you start at the beginning of Mines Road, you can warm up on about 3.4 miles of flat road through vineyards and ranch land, or you can bypass the heavier traffic on this stretch and begin at the junction Mines Road 2of Mines Road and Del Valle Road. Either way, don't miss this junction, where Mines Road continues via a left turn. From here on out you have nothing but solitude and beautiful views. You'll climb for a couple of miles, then enjoy many miles of roller coaster hills along ridge tops. 

Mines Road Map   

Fabulous Bike Ride #3      


Calaveras Road. This is another out-and-back route on winding hillside roads, with scenic views of Calaveras Reservoir. Start in the City of Milpitas on the east side of town, at Calaveras Road and Evans Road. Follow this scenic hilly route for about 16 miles to Interstate 680, then turn around and retrace your tracks. Keep an eye out for bald eagles.

              Calaveras Reservoir 

                  (Thanks to Tage Bjorklund for this photo!)


Calaveras Road Map


Who Is Douglas Herring & Associates?

Douglas Herring & Associates (DHA) works with public agencies, developers, and other businesses in California to expertly obtain the environmental and planning approvals needed to move projects from the conceptual stage to physical, benefit-generating reality in an efficient and cost-effective manner.  Since 1997, DHA has helped dozens of California cities and counties and scores of other businesses and organizations save money while obtaining high-quality planning and legally defensible environmental analysis services necessary to get their projects expeditiously approved and built. Learn more on our website:  Douglas Herring & Associates.
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