Join us for this golden opportunity to ride from Canada to Mexico on one of America’s premier cycling routes: the Pacific Coast Route. This tour is so popular that it sells out in a few weeks, so if you’re interested, don’t hesitate to sign up.
We’ll experience some of the finest terrain and tour some of the coolest cities in the world — all pannier-free as we leave our luggage in the van! From our border with Canada, we’ll head south through the lush forests of western Washington before following the Columbia River to the Oregon coast, where we’ll encounter some of the nicest state parks in the country. Farther south, we’ll enter California and head inland to cycle among majestic redwood forests. After visiting San Francisco, we’ll enjoy the Monterey Peninsula, Big Sur, and Santa Barbara. Continuing south, we’ll end our tour in lively San Diego.
"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."
Week 1. Bellingham to Toledo, Washington
We'll set sail from our traditional starting point in Bellingham, Washington, with a quick spin up to the Canadian border before heading south from the 49th parallel. We'll flirt with the waters of Puget Sound for many miles, going from Anacortes to Whidbey Island and then on to the Victorian splendor of Port Townsend, perched at the northeast edge of the Olympic Peninsula. After passing through the shipbuilding center of Bremerton, we'll leave Puget Sound behind to trace a delightful series of backroads through the inland region of southwestern Washington. At the end of the week, we'll find ourselves in the vicinity of Lewis and Clark State Park, situated some 40 miles northwest of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
Week 2. Toledo to Florence, Oregon
Upon merging with the Columbia River in the Kelso/Longview area, we'll turn west to follow the mighty river to its mouth at the Pacific Ocean, riding first on the Washington side then crossing over to the Oregon side (on the only working ferry on the lower Columbia). After a layover day in hilly and historic Astoria -- where we can visit the world-class Columbia River Maritime Museum -- we'll continue through a chain of charming resort towns that include Seaside, Cannon Beach, and Nehalem. In Tillamook we won't want to miss taking in a tour of the famous Tillamook Cheese Factory. Fueled by one of the dairy's legendary ice cream cones (which come in 38 flavors!), the 3 Capes Scenic Drive will take us back to the Pacific Ocean in spectacular fashion. We'll stick close to the beach all the way to Florence, located midway along the Oregon coast (and one of the end points for the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail).
Week 3. Florence to Eureka, California
You might begin to think that Oregon's incredible coastline goes on forever as we continue riding south. Quaint towns such as Bandon and Port Orford boast saltwater taffy shops, bays inhabited by seagulls and lovable harbor seals, and small cafés dishing up some of the best clam chowder and wave watching anywhere. Separating the villages are stretches of pristine beach that simply boggle the mind in their beauty and scope. South of Gold Beach, where the storied Rogue River empties into the Pacific, we'll enter California near Crescent City before visiting Redwood National Park, home to giant trees over 2,000 years old and over 300 feet tall.
Week 4. Eureka to San Francisco, California
After riding a rugged and forested inland route south of Eureka and Arcata, we'll regain the Pacific at Cape Vizcaino north of Westport. We'll pass through the Fort Bragg/Mendocino area, a bountiful and beautiful mix of oceanfront real estate, redwood forests, wine making, and excellent food and microbrews. Among the highlights north of San Francisco are Point Reyes National Seashore and the wild Sonoma coast. Now, after having cycled through that portion of the Golden State lying south of the Oregon border and north of San Francisco, you'll understand why the residents here distinguish themselves as being Northern Californians -- the communities in the wild and largely rural north feel about as far from Hollywood as they could possibly be. We'll top the week off with a layover day in the cultural and culinary paradise of San Francisco, arguably the most beautiful city in the U.S.
Week 5. San Francisco to Santa Barbara, California
South of San Francisco, we'll continue riding along the coast, visiting other places with names known worldwide, such as Monterey, Big Sur, and San Simeon, home to the Hearst Castle. Nicknamed the "Middle Kingdom," this region encompasses some of California's most spectacular ocean vistas. It also harbors some outstanding wildlife habitat, including Point Piedras Blancas (not far north of the Hearst Castle) where hundreds and sometimes thousands of giant elephant seals arrive each winter to give birth and breed. We'll take a largely inland route from Morro Bay to Santa Barbara, situated on an east-west trending stretch of coastline -- a rare if not unique geographical aspect along our route between Canada and Mexico.
Week 6. Santa Barbara to San Diego, California
South of Santa Barbara, we'll again remain close to the Pacific, even through the urban sprawl of the City of Angels. We'll camp at several more great state beaches before making our final approach to the Mexican border and our ultimate destination of the funky, but chic, Point Loma Hostel in San Diego. It's a stunning finish to an extraordinary trip -- from the cool, green Canadian border to the golden sands of Southern California.