Biking: Coast North of San Francisco - Guided Multi-Day
Overview - California North Coast Guided Bike Tour
The California coast north of San Francisco is an enchanting mix of towering redwood forests, rugged coastline, and seaside villages. The Russian River wine country also beckons.
***ALL CENTRAL COAST OUTDOORS BIKE TOURS ARE PRIVATE***
Quick Links to Page Contents
- Standard Itinerary
- Custom Bike Tour Questionnaire (Start here for booking a tour)
- John's Tour Thoughts
- Traffic, Road Conditions and Terrain
- Overview Map
- Different Routes within the Zone
- Start and End Tour Transportation
4 Days / 182 Total Miles / Daily Average = 46 Miles / Daily Range = 30-54 Miles
*** Please see John's Tour Thoughts for information about tours within the North of San Francisco Coastal Zone for different start/end points and/or different numbers of days and mileages. ***
Day One - Avenue of the Giants - 30 miles (elevation +1548/-1383 ft)
At the start of this California North Coast bike tour we meet in the San Francisco Bay Area in the morning and shuttle four hours north to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, home to some of the tallest trees in the world. In the afternoon, we cycle down the Avenue of the Giants, a winding road right through the heart of redwood country. At the end of the day's bike ride, we usually stay in or near Garberville, a small town nestled among the towering trees.
Day Two - Leggett to Mendocino - 54 miles (elevation +4242/-5091 ft)
In the morning we shuttle over a busy stretch of US 101 before starting our ride in Leggett. Get ready for the biggest climb of the California North Coast bike tour over Leggett Hill with just under 2000 feet of elevation gained. From the top the descent is a long rollicking one toward the Pacific Coast. The climbing is not over as we also tackle Rockport Hill before cycling down a remote and stunningly beautiful stretch of coastal Highway One. Today's ride on the California North Coast bike tour ends in the restored old logging town of Mendocino.
Day Three - Mendocino to Gualala - 49 miles (elevation +3768/-3810 ft)
More spectacular California coastal bicycling on our North Coast bike tour beckons as we follow Highway One down the Mendocino coast, biking by the historic Pt. Arena lighthouse as well as several state parks. Although there are no major climbs, the terrain is mostly up and down with many hills and scenic vistas. After a full day of cycling on this California North Coast bike tour our destination for the day is Gualala, a small coastal village at the mouth of the Gualala River.
Day Four - Gualala to Bodega Bay - 49 miles (elevation +4111/-4164 ft)
Continuing down the coast from Gualala, we'll pass through the ecologically oriented development of Sea Ranch and Salt Point State Park before passing the old Russian settlement of Fort Ross. Past Fort Ross we tackle the climb and descent of Jenner Hill and gain the mouth of the Russian River near Jenner. From here, we cycle further down the coast to Bodega Bay, a charming fishing village.
**Please note that all mileages and elevation gain/loss data (in feet) are approximate only and will vary according to hotel location and actual routes ridden.**
After reviewing the information on our website, if you'd like to see an alternate itinerary, doing the above itinerary in more or less days and/or gettin the process of planning a multi-day bike tour with us started, please use our Custom Bike Tour Questionnaire. You can always give us a call at 805.528.1080 as well.
- If you wanted some classic California wine country cycling, the above California North Coast bike tour itinerary could be modified to head inland along the Russian River Valley to Guerneville or Healdsburg.
- A longer California North Coast bike tour can be done by starting farther north in Eureka and cycling all the way to San Francisco, a distance of about 320 miles. This could be done in 6 days at about 50-55 miles per day.
- A shorter California North Coast bike tour can be done by starting in Garberville and ending in Jenner at the mouth of the Russian River. The total distance is 165 miles and could be done in 3 days at about 55 miles per day.
- For long distance California Coast bike tours we ALWAYS recommend going from north to south (one way) due to prevailing winds along the coast from the north and northwest.
Traffic along the California North Coast bike tour route is highly variable. Some stretches are on remote roads that have little to no traffic. Much of the cycling route is on Highway One, which has differing traffic volumes on different portions. Highway One also has highly variable shoulders and long stretches that have little to no shoulder. Summer tends to see the heaviest traffic on Highway One. However, motorists are used to seeing lots of cyclists along the route and are normally courteous. Cyclists doing the California North Coast bike tour should be comfortable riding with traffic for portions of the tour.
The terrain for the California North Coast bike tour route is also highly variable. Most days will have some combination of relatively level riding and some hill climbing. Most of the sustained climbs (i.e. 1/2 mile or longer) are of moderate steepness (5-8%) and there are no sustained climbs that average over 10%. There are two sections of the standard tour with major climbs - Leggett/Rockport Hills on Day Two and Jenner Hill on Day Four. Each day of the California North Coast bike tour itinerary has the elevation gain and loss (in feet) listed. Cyclists contemplating doing the California North Coast bike tour should be comfortable with riding hilly terrain.
We offer three levels of support for guided bicycle tours down the California coast: Vehicle Support Only, Vehicle Support plus Bikes and/or Lunch, and Fully Inclusive. Follow the links for more explanation of how pricing might work for your group. Prices for guided bicycle tours down the California coast north of San Francisco are usually based on a daily rate multiplied by the total number of days on the bicycle tour. Please don't hesitate to contact us or send in a Custom Bike Trip Questionnaire to find out how much the tour you are interested in might cost your group.
Sorry, but we do not offer a self guided version of this itinerary.
There is a very remote section of coast and river valleys to the west of Humboldt Redwoods State Park called the Lost Coast. The accommodations are few and far between and the hills are big, but there is little to no traffic and the scenery is stunning. We cycled it once a long time ago and would welcome the opportunity to plan a trip there.
San Francisco Bay Area
There are three major airports (San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose) serving the San Francisco Bay Area. Most major airlines fly in to all three airports. For California North Coast bike tours, we usually pick up in the San Francisco Bay Area on the first day of the tour and shuttle back at the end of the tour.
- Central Coast Outdoors Bike Tour FAQs - (What kind of bikes do you supply?... etc.)