County of Marin - News Releases - Fairfax-Bolinas Road Closure

For Immediate Release
February 14, 2017

Fairfax-Bolinas Road Closed Until Further Notice

Six-mile stretch of the West Marin artery will remain off limits to public

San Rafael, CA – Despite a few recent days of beautiful weather, Fairfax-Bolinas Road, a rural and hilly two-lane artery for West Marin residents, remains closed. The full 12.3 miles of roadway originally was closed January 6 as a precaution for the first round of storms that hit Marin County on January 7-8.

An eroded and deteriorated road shoulder along Fairfax Bolinas RoadRoadside erosion on Fairfax-Bolinas Road, such as this section shown last fall, has continued during recent storms and remains a threat as new fronts move in.

Damage sustained during the first storm cycle, compounded by three subsequent storm fronts and multiple rain systems, have kept a six-mile stretch of the road closed for the duration. The closed section is from Azalea Hill Trailhead (about three miles southwest of downtown Fairfax) to Ridgecrest Boulevard (in the hills above Stinson Beach). The closure includes access to the popular Cataract Falls trailhead on the southern end of Alpine Lake.

Since the first storm hit, crews from Marin County’s Department of Public Works (DPW) have cleared debris and hazards on the road on more than a dozen occasions. One such event even required bringing in a crane to remove a 130-foot tall pine tree that was blocking the roadway.

“Due to continuing rains, the fully-saturated ground has resulted in persistent rock-fall, mudslides, and downed trees along this specific section of road,” said Ernest Klock, DPW’s Principal Civil Engineer. “We realize this is a popular area, but it’s safest to leave it closed until things stabilize out there.”

After thorough analysis, geotechnical specialists have determined that the risk of additional landslide and tree fall activity along the roadway remains high. Even with the storm drainage repairs that were put in place last fall, the intensity of continued soil saturation has left slope stability weak along the road’s shoulders and areas directly above the roadway. In key locations there are large, leaning trees upslope from the road that pose significant hazards, including in the vicinity of Cataract Falls trailhead. Given that several trees recently have fallen near the trailhead, more are expected to come down because of soil instability.

The incoming storm, expected to hit Thursday, February 16, is predicted to only extend the time of closure for Fairfax-Bolinas Road. However, geotechnical engineers will continue to check the passage’s stability on a regular basis and the public will be notified as soon as the area is once again safe.


Ernest Klock
Assistant Director
Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive.
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6552
Email: Ernest Klock
Public Works website