#6 Ninja Loop
Location: Start at the (west) Parking Lot on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge
Distance: 11.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2151 ft of Gain and Loss
Overall Runs: 655 Attempts By 138 People
CR: Brett Rivers 1:21:48 and Devon Yanko in 1:27:12.
My place: none, just never started and finished from that parking lot
Why: The Ninja loop is on here because it has been a standard weekly run of many of the Marin trail running community for some time (pre-Strava?). Plus I have to include at least one segment where the Godfather (and owner of SF Running Company) has the CR. At 11.5 miles with more than 2k of climbing it is a challenging route, but it hits many of the best trails in southern Marin (including a segment to be included in the top 5). Its not the most popular segment (due to its length), but it is aesthetically pleasing in so many ways. My personal favorite is the stretch of SCA trail that ribbons along the hillside providing intermittent views of SF and the Pacific. EARLY Thursday mornings is when the group meets, but you are rewarded by the pre-dawn wake-up call with sunrises over SF.
Insider tip: If you are doing this run on your own arrive early. The tourist crowds can be overwhelming and the parking lot overflowing. If you are not a Marin/SF resident be sure to follow Trailhapa on Instagram to experience the ever changing views of the Ninja run (both pictures you can find on his Instagram account).