Pacific Coast Central - Van

Trip Dates:
Sep 21, 2014 -- Oct 05, 2014
Eugene, OR - San Francisco, CA
Booking Status:

Join us for this bike-touring adventure along a gorgeous segment of the West Coast and experience some of the most beautiful and remote sections of Adventure Cycling’s Pacific Coast Bicycle Route, its most popular.

As we ride from the spectacular Oregon coastline to the great redwood forests of Northern California, we’ll enjoy magnificent ocean views, explore long stretches of sandy beaches, investigate tidal pools, zip past rustic farmsteads, and cruise in the cool, quiet shadows of the world’s tallest trees. Imagine misty mornings, warm, sunny afternoons, and beachside bonfires.

Our group will also ride through towns like Crescent City, Trinidad, and Eureka, reminders of the logging and Gold Rush eras. As we proceed from Eugene to San Francisco, we’ll likely be aided by a northwesterly tailwind. We’ll also have the luxury of our support van, so all we need to do is pedal our bicycles and soak up the scenery.

Start Date: Sep 21, 2014 End Date: Oct 05, 2014
Start Location: Eugene, OR End Location: San Francisco, CA
Total Days: 15 Riding Days: 13
Rest Days: 2 Miles: 690
Average Daily Mileage: 53.1 Surface: Paved
Riders: 13 Airport: Eugene, OR ; San Francisco, CA
Tour Leader: Cammie Howard, Mark Brandt Meals: Shared cooking
Accommodations: Camping/Indoor Type: Supported
Physical Difficulty: Advanced Level of Support: Van Supported
Cost: $1,799.00

Day 1

Eugene, Oregon. We'll meet at picturesque Richardson Park, located on Fern Ridge Reservoir on the outskirts of Eugene. We’ll have our first map meeting and meal as we get acquainted for our two-week-long adventure. If you get to town early enough, you can explore Eugene's vibrant downtown and its extensive network of bike routes.

Day 2

Eugene to Florence, 65 miles. From Richardson Park, we'll put the Willamette Valley behind us over 1,023-foot Low Pass and head for the coast via Adventure Cycling's TransAm Florence-Eugene connector route. This terrific warm-up ride will bring us to peaceful Honeyman State Park for the evening. Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, where huge mounds of drifting sand form alongside crashing surf is not far from our camp tonight.

Day 3

Florence to Charleston, 56 miles. After breakfast, we’ll start our long ride down the Pacific Coast. If you didn’t have time to enjoy the sand dunes yesterday, today is your day, as the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area lines the route to our west. To the east, you’ll see Woahink Lake, Tahkenitch Lake, Clear Lake, and the Umpqua River. You’ll cross the Haynes Inlet as you enter North Bend, which sits on beautiful Coos Bay. Coos Bay is the largest community on the Oregon Coast and is known for its great fishing and kite flying. We’ll press on to Charleston and Sunset Bay State Park for our overnight.

Day 4

Charleston to Port Orford, 58 miles. We’ll ride a few miles inland for most of the day today, starting by passing close to Bullards Beach State Park, which makes for a nice detour. The lowland forest and grassy hills of the park surround the historic Coquille River Lighthouse, built in the mid-1890s. Continuing south, we’ll ride through Bandon, known as both the “Cranberry Capital of the World” and the “Storm Watching Capital of the World.” Then it’s on to Port Orford and Humbug Mountain State Park, where the park’s namesake mountain rises 1,756 feet above the sea.

Day 5

Port Orford to Brookings, 52 miles. We’ll hug the coast today, heading past the mouth of the Rogue River and Gold Beach, a popular salmon and steelhead fishing spot. We’ll pedal past Cape Sebastian, Pistol River, and Samuel Boardman state parks, enjoying stupendous ocean views. Some say that this is the most scenic stretch of the entire Highway 101 corridor. The van and all your gear will be waiting for you this afternoon at Harris Beach.

Day 6

Brookings to Crescent City, 41 miles. California, here we come! We’ll leave Oregon today and cross into the Golden State. On our left, the impressive Coast Range rises to heights of more than 3,000 feet. We may be tempted to brave a chilly Pacific plunge at one of the beaches to our right, provided the morning autumn fog has burned off. Finally, we’ll pedal into Crescent City, situated in the heart of redwood country. At nearby Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, you can explore stands of coastal redwoods at your leisure.

Day 7

Crescent City to Eureka, 71 miles. This will be a day to remember. The area’s state and national parks are cooperatively managed and contain almost half of all the old-growth redwood forests remaining in California. In addition to redwoods, the region’s forests hold an evergreen in the beech family called tanoak, as well as madrone, red alder, and big leaf maple. After pedaling along eight miles of coast line in Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park, we’ll visit Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and then return to the coast and Humboldt Lagoon State Park. We’ll ride through picturesque Arcata, home to Humboldt State University, before arriving in Eureka, our basecamp for two nights.

Day 8

Layover Day in Eureka. Today we can opt to sleep in or rise early to the heady scent of saltwater and begin our explorations of Eureka and Arcata, named by Outside magazine as top places to live. We can explore quite roads on our bicycles or go kayaking, fishing, visit art galleries, or tour the wetlands, home to egrets, herons and other waterfowl. We can also meet up in the late afternoon to sample some of the excellent craft brews here.

Day 9

Eureka to Ferndale, 27 miles. Today, we’ll enjoy a relatively short ride to allow for sufficient exploration time in Ferndale, one of the best-preserved Victorian villages in all of California; this magnificent hamlet’s main street is on the National Register of Historic Places.. The truly adventurous may also opt to check out a brief section of the remote Lost Coast while here. We’ll stay the evening at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds, home of the famous Wild West Turkey Stampede.

Day 10

Ferndale to Benbow, 60 miles. Today we’ll pedal through the world-famous Avenue of the Giants. Beyond the sound of your tires purring along the pavement, there is little else to break the silence as you ride amid the hushed natural chapels of giant trees. Among the attractions are the “Immortal Tree” (nearly 1,000 years old and 250 feet high), the Founders Grove, and the Drive-Through Tree, as well as the shimmering Eel River. After this day of breathtaking bicycling, we'll overnight near Benbow in Richardson Grove State Park.

Day 11

Benbow to Fort Bragg, 65 miles. We’ll follow steep winding roads through pleasant forested terrain and top out on Leggett Hill, the highest elevation of our entire tour. After a thrilling 10-mile descent, we’ll head southwesterly back to the coast, where we’ll skirt Mendocino County’s famous Cape Vizcaino and the tiny town of Westport. From this point on, we’ll stay along the coast for nearly the remainder of the trip. We’ll overnight in the vicinity of Fort Bragg, site of the world’s largest salmon cook-off.

Day 12

Fort Bragg to Manchester, 43 miles. The wild and gorgeous coastline of Mendocino and Sonoma counties will keep us transfixed from one bend to the next. Be sure to keep an eye on the water for an occasional whale, too. If we get on the road early enough, we should be able look around a bit in the charming town of Mendocino. We’ll camp at Manchester State Park and have the opportunity to visit the nearby Point Arena, one of the smallest incorporated towns in the United States, home to the West Coast’s tallest lighthouse, at 115 feet. One other bit of trivia: Point Arena is the closest town in the contiguous 48 states to Honolulu, Hawaii, which lies a mere 2,045 nautical miles away.

Day 13

Manchester to Bodega Bay, 68 miles. Today we’ll have many more miles of spectacular oceanfront to negotiate. Fortunately, Labor Day has come and gone, which should translate to less vehicle traffic along this popular Sonoma County coastline. As we hug the coast, we’ll hopefully enjoy a late-summer tailwind that will whisk us through the small town of Jenner at the mouth of the Russian River, named for the Russian trappers who explored the area in the early 19th century. We’ll overnight in Bodega Bay, a fishing hub where Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds.

Day 14

Bodega Bay to Olema, 43 miles. As we pedal through Sonoma County into Marin County, we’ll visit a series of small towns with restaurants that feature lots of local seafood, including the famous Hog Island oysters. We’ll proceed inland through rolling dairy country before regaining the saltwater at Tomales Bay, where a slim band of water lies between us and the Point Reyes Peninsula. Next, we’ll ride through Point Reyes Station, which boasts an outstanding bakery and a barn-like emporium of fresh local foods. Olema is only a few miles away, where our gear awaits us for our final night on the road.

Day 15

Olema to San Francisco, 31 miles. We’ll savor the last day of our tour with a spin through lovely rural countryside, much of it protected by local conservation efforts. We’ll follow a series of bike paths and roads over rollercoaster hills and tight turns until suddenly the Golden Gate Bridge will suddenly appear and we’ll begin our glorious entrance to San Francisco. As you look back on your adventure, you’ll realize for yourself why this tour’s slogan is, “Big Trees, Big Waves, Beautiful Beaches.”

"This tour made me realize how blessed I am to be where I am, and be able to ride a bike in such a scenic part of the world. I am very thankful to ACA for having this tour in their lineup."

2013 Tour Participant

"This ride is the most photogenic I've seen."

2011 Tour Participant

"This whole tour was just like a fairytale."

2012 Tour Participant

"This was truly one of the best vacations I have ever had, and memories of the staff, tour participants, and scenery will always bring me happiness."

2011 Tour Participant

Photo by Tom Robertson