Ready for two and a half weeks of some of the finest bicycle riding in the world? So are we! Starting in Bellingham, Washington, we’ll zip up to the Canadian border before starting our trip south along a section of Adventure Cycling’s Pacific Coast Route. We will skirt Puget Sound, heading toward the mountainous, heavily timbered Olympic Peninsula, where we’ll ride up Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park and stay at the Sol Duc Hot Springs. From there, we’ll head down the Washington coast before crossing the Columbia River into Astoria, Oregon. We’ll then proceed down the Oregon coast, dazzled for 200 miles by the sights, sounds, and scents of the Pacific Ocean, enjoying some of the most pristine beaches and pleasant state parks in the U.S.
|Start Date:||Sep 02, 2014||End Date:||Sep 19, 2014|
|Start Location:||Bellingham, WA||End Location:||Eugene, OR|
|Total Days:||18||Riding Days:||15|
|Average Daily Mileage:||57.5||Surface:||Paved|
|Riders:||13||Airport:||Bellingham Int'l, WA, Eugene, OR|
|Tour Leader:||Jerry Hughes, Randy Walsh||Meals:||Shared cooking|
|Physical Difficulty:||Intermediate+||Level of Support:||Van Supported|
Bellingham, WA. We’ll meet up in the afternoon in the vibrant university town of Bellingham. We’ll begin getting to know one another over a home-cooked meal, and find out a little more about what to expect on our upcoming adventure. Then it’s off to our tents for a good night’s sleep to ready us for the open road.
Bellingham to Peace Arch State Park/Canadian border and back, 68 miles. After breakfast we’re off on our only northbound day of the trip. Our turnaround point will be the Canadian border and Peace Arch State Park, dedicated by the citizens of the United States and Canada in 1921. The namesake Peace Arch was built in honor of the 100th anniversary of the treaties resulting from the War of 1812 with Great Britain. From there, we’ll head back south to Bellingham.
Bellingham to Deception Pass State Park, 42 miles. Pack ’em up and move ’em out; we’re off and heading south today, skirting the shores of Samish, Padilla, and Skagit bays as we go. Tonight’s destination is Deception Pass State Park, known for its old-growth forest, wildlife, breathtaking views of rugged cliffs, and the turbulent tidal rapids and whirlpools that froth beneath twin bridges connecting Fidalgo and Whidbey islands.
Deception Pass State Park to Fort Worden, 34 miles. On this relatively short day, we’ll have extra time to enjoy our stunning surroundings. Not long into the day we’ll pass through the town of Oak Harbor, a perfect spot to grab brunch. Then, after a short ferry ride, we’ll reach our camp at Fort Worden State Park, where we can spend the evening hiking, swimming, or bird watching. The place may look familiar if you’ve seen the 1982 movie An Officer and a Gentleman, which was filmed largely in and around Fort Worden.
Fort Worden to Port Angeles, 45 miles. We’ll ride car-free today on the Olympic Discovery Trail, a paved non-motorized pathway spanning 130 miles between Port Townsend and La Push. The trail twists and roller coasters through dense forest, farmland, and over high, repurposed railway trestles.
Layover Day. We’ll take our first layover day in Port Angeles, gateway to Olympic National Park. Among the several day rides available in the area, Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge is perhaps the most spectacular. However, if you crave a day off the bike, plenty of options are there to keep you occupied. Plan on hitting the Olympic National Park visitor center to learn about the history and geology of one of the wettest places in the continental U.S.
Port Angeles to Sol Duc Hot Springs, 55 miles. We’ll ride into the mountains of Olympic National Park today, past the shimmering waters of Lake Crescent before arriving at Sol Duc Hot Springs, our camp for the night. The springs include three hot mineral pools and a freshwater pool, so we’ll be able to soak away the evening in style.
Sol Duc Hot Springs to Bogachiel State Park, 42 miles. We’ll ride back out of the mountains today and along the banks of the Sol Duc River, before traveling along Highway 101 to Bogachiel State Park. Okay, we have to warn you: Watch out for vampires. Nearby Forks is the setting for the popular Twilight series.
Bogachiel State Park to Hoh Rainforest, 26 miles. Today will be a short riding day as well to permit as much time as possible for the exploration of the Hoh Rainforest. Lush temperate rainforests with both coniferous and deciduous tree species once stretched from southeastern Alaska to central California; the Hoh is one of the most intact remnants. You might want to stop at the visitor center and take a hike on the Hoh River Trail, which is lush with moss and ferns.
Hoh Rain Forest to Lake Quinault Lodge, 70 miles. We’ll hit the road early for a long and hilly day. But our efforts will be rewarded by a night at the historic Lake Quinault Lodge. Built in 1926, this lodge was featured in the PBS show “Great Lodges of the National Parks.”
Lake Quinault Lodge to Raymond, 69 miles. We’ll bid farewell to Olympic National Park today as we head leave the lush rainforest to rejoin Highway 101. We’ll pass through Aberdeen, a great place to acquire an afternoon pick-me-up before our final climb into Raymond. If time permits, the Northwest Carriage Museum in Raymond offers a vivid glimpse of the region’s past.
Raymond, WA to Astoria, OR, 64 miles. After hugging the shoreline for most of the day, we’ll leave Washington, cross the Columbia River, and prepare for our long ride down the spectacular Oregon Coast by spending two nights in lovely Astoria.
Astoria, Layover Day. Founded as Fort Astoria in 1811 by John Jacob Astor of the American Fur Company, a visit here is never complete without a look around the Columbia River Maritime Museum, and a bowl of clam chowder. You may also want to hop aboard the Astoria Riverfront Trolley for a tour of the hillside town, where the 1985 movie classic The Goonies was filmed. Plenty of outdoorsy activities beckon as well, from day rides to short hikes.
Astoria to Nehalem Bay State Park, 52 miles. We’ll hug the coast today, passing through a chain of charming resort towns including Seaside, Cannon Beach, and Nehalem; all great places to stop for chowder or salt water taffy! We’ll also pass through several state parks, including Sunset Beach, Ecola, Arcadia Beach, and Oswald, before heading to our camp in Nehalem Bay State Park.
Nehalem Bay State Park to Cape Lookout State Park, 48 miles. Today you may find it hard to take your eyes off ocean. Luckily, there are plenty of pull-offs where you can pause to admire the grand Pacific. In Tillamook, you can tour the famous Tillamook Cheese Factory and refuel on one of the dairy’s legendary ice cream cones — they come in 38 flavors! Next, the Three Capes Scenic Drive takes us back to the Pacific Ocean. We’ll stick close to the beach all the way to Cape Lookout State Park.
Cape Lookout State Park to Beverly Beach State Park, 63 miles. We’ll spend first half of the day riding through coastal forest and catching glimpses of the Pacific as we proceed south. After passing through the busy town of Lincoln City, we’ll parallel the coast once again. Waves crashing into basaltic headlands make for some of the most spectacular surf action in the world. Wave features with descriptive names like the Devil’s Churn, Cook’s Chasm, and Spouting Horn give you some idea of what to expect.
Beverly Beach State Park to Jessie M. Honeyman State Park, 60 miles. Continuing south, we’ll pass through Newport, home of the Oregon Coast Aquarium. From there, we’ll continue past South Beach, where kayak tours of the quiet Beaver Creek wetlands are an option. We’ll stop next at Seal Rock State Wayside, where you can explore a two-mile-long span of partially submerged ledge rock that attract seals, sea lions, and sea birds, and where tidal pools contain mollusks, starfish, and other marine life.
Honeyman State Park to Eugene, 60 miles. Wave goodbye to the Pacific! This morning we’ll return inland by way of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail’s Florence-Eugene connector. We’ll surmount 1,023-foot Low Pass before descending into the Willamette Valley and tour’s end in Eugene. With the sea breeze and salt air still fresh in mind, we’ll say farewell to our new friends, but not to the many memories that are ours to treasure forever.
"This whole tour was just like a fairytale."
2012 Tour Participant
"This ride is the most photogenic I've seen."
2011 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
"Camping can be an added challenge, however, we really got to know one another quite well. I enjoyed seeing the different personalities working together. I also appreciated the background, expertise and stories of the leaders."
2013 Tour Participant