Skip to main content

Disaster Tourism Trip Part 5; Muir Woods Road and The Panoramic Highway

After exiting the Robin Williams Tunnel I took US 101/CA 1 north to where the latter split towards Stinson Beach.








The section of CA 1 between Tamalpais Valley and Stinson Beach was closed due to mudslides from the winter storms.  In fact as of 11/30/17 when I'm writing this blog this section of CA 1 is partially closed until the 1st of February 2018.  Given the closure on CA 1 I took the Panoramic Highway over the Marin Hills to get to Stinson Beach.





I haven't been to Muir Woods National Monument since 1993.  Given that I was right on time for the Monument to open I took a turn south on Muir Woods Road.





The drop on Muir Woods Road is absolutely huge with almost sheer cliffs.  I'm not sure what the grade was but it felt close to a good 10%.  The roadway is extremely narrow, possibly too narrow to have a center stripe.







The Muir Woods National Monument dates all the way back to 1908.  The land where the Muir Woods lies was once considered for a reservoir but was granted to the Federal Government in 1907 after eminent domain was threatened.  Unfortunately the Monument wasn't open on time for some reason and I didn't feel like sitting behind a bunch of angry Bay Area residents so I made my way back up Muir Woods Road back to the Panoramic Highway.






The Panoramic Highway is a 11 mile route over the Marin Hills that loops to/from CA 1.  The Panoramic Highway opened as a Marin County toll road in 1933 and appears on the 1935 Division of Highways Marin County Map.

1935 Marin County Map

The San Francisco Gate covered the history of the Panoramic Highway along with it's high rate of crashes back in 1995.

San Francisco Gate on the Panoramic Highway

The route of Panoramic Highway east of Mount Tamalpais follows the generalized path of the Mount Tamalpais-Muir Woods Railroad which ran slightly to the north of the modern roadway.  The Mount Tamalpais-Muir Woods Railroad was a 8.2 mile standard gauge which ran from Mill Valley west to Mount Tamalpais from 1896 to a fire destroyed it in 1930.  The Mount-Tamalpais-Muir Woods Railroad was reportedly one of the most crooked railroads in the world at the time in it as in operation. 

As for the Panoramic Highway itself, the name certainly is fitting considering how many vistas of the ocean it has high up in the Marin Hills.







Really the best view along the Panoramic Highway is of Stinson Beach and the Bolinas Lagoon west of Mount Tamalpais.





The western terminus of the Panoramic Highway is where I picked up CA 1 again to continue north towards Point Reyes.






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Niagara Falls

  Arguably the world's most famous waterfall, or rather a set of waterfalls, Niagara Falls may not need much of an introduction, as it is a very popular tourist attraction in both New York State and the Province of Ontario, a destination of plenty of honeymooning couples, vacationing families and college students out for a good time for a weekend. Niagara Falls is also the site of many daredevil activities over the years, such as tightrope walking and going over the falls in a barrel. It is always nice to have a bit of a refresher, of course. Niagara Falls is made up of two main waterfalls, American Falls (also known as Rainbow Falls), which is on the American side of the border and Horseshoe Falls (also known as Canadian Falls), where the border between the United States and Canada crosses. There is also a smaller waterfall on the New York side of the border, which is Bridal Veil Falls. The height of the waterfalls are impressive, with Horseshoe Falls measuring at

The Smithtown Bull in Smithtown, New York

  Before I moved to Upstate New York as a young man, I grew up in the Long Island town of Smithtown during the 1980s and 1990s. The recognizable symbol of Smithtown is a bronze statue of a bull named Whisper, located at the junction of NY Route 25 and NY Route 25A near the bridge over the Nissequogue River. Why a bull, you may ask. The bull is a symbol of a legend related to the town's founding in 1665 by Richard "Bull" Smythe, with a modernized name of Richard Smith. It also so happens that there is a story behind the legend, one that involves ancient land right transfers and some modern day roads as well. So the story goes that Smythe made an agreement with a local Indian tribe where Smythe could keep whatever land he circled around in a day's time riding atop his trusty bull. Choosing the longest day of the year for his ride, he set out with his bull Whisper and went about riding around the borders of the Town of Smithtown. As legend has it, Smythe t

Route 75 Tunnel - Ironton, Ohio

In the Ohio River community of Ironton, Ohio, there is a former road tunnel that has a haunted legend to it. This tunnel was formerly numbered OH 75 (hence the name Route 75 Tunnel), which was renumbered as OH 93 due to I-75 being built in the state. Built in 1866, it is 165 feet long and once served as the northern entrance into Ironton, originally for horses and buggies and later for cars. As the tunnel predated the motor vehicle era, it was too narrow for cars to be traveling in both directions. But once US 52 was built in the area, OH 93 was realigned to go around the tunnel instead of through the tunnel, so the tunnel was closed to traffic in 1960. The legend of the haunted tunnel states that since there were so many accidents that took place inside the tunnel's narrow walls, the tunnel was cursed. The haunted legend states that there was an accident between a tanker truck and a school bus coming home after a high school football game on a cold, foggy Halloween night in 1