Highway 101 between Portland and San Francisco by Bike - Side Trips?
April 14, 2014 6:42 PM   Subscribe

A group of 6-10 of us are going to be biking between Portland and San Francisco along Highway 101. What would be the best places to stop for day side trips?

We have the Bicycling The Pacific Coast book and Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast route section 2 and 3 maps. We'll probably have time for 3 side trips of a day each.

General route advice welcome as well, of course!

posted by saul wright to Travel & Transportation around San Jose, CA (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What kind of side trips? Food? Wine? History? Scenery? Odd/Unusual Places? How much (if any) time have you spent along the coast already? And what time of year will you be going?

That's a long route and there's a lot to see along the way already, so it might help people if you can fill in a little more about your group and your interests.

My suggestion would be to think about splitting from US-101 and following California Highway 1 (aka Pacific Coast Highway/PCH) when the two diverge near Leggett.

When driving, PCH is a much slower route, but you're on bikes, you're not going to be cruising at highway speeds. You will get plenty of coastal scenery along 101 in Oregon but to get much California coast you ought to at least consider Highway 1.
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:02 PM on April 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: We're late 20 somethings with interests in History, Architecture, Craft Beer, and Nature. Odd places are always good as well. Most of us have spent very little to no time along the coast outside of Portland and SF. We'll be going in July. We're open to anything including the PCH. Thanks again!
posted by saul wright at 7:35 PM on April 14, 2014

Arch Rock Brewery in OR. Tiny (3 beers!) but awesome.

In CA, of course the Redwoods. I was told about this amazing Redwoods hiking resource in a previous Ask (take a look, not all of that question will be useful to you, but some might).
posted by atlantica at 11:29 PM on April 14, 2014

Speaking as someone who's recently driven along CA 1 towards Portland, definitely be aware that the route has lots of steep inclines, narrow shoulders, sharp/blind corners, and cliffs. Fortunately there's less traffic, but definitely don't expect an easy ride.

All that said, there is some gorgeous scenery along the way. :)
posted by Aleyn at 12:20 AM on April 15, 2014

If you're only going one way, look into prevailing wind direction; I believe (but I'm not certain) that the wind will usually be in your face on the Oregon leg of the trip if you're going north-- and the wind added tremendously to the difficulty when my girlfriend and I biked from Corvallis Oregon, hitting the coast at Waldport, to Seattle one July some years ago.

Even if you're planning a round trip, I think you should arrange to start with the wind in order to build up strength you'll need when you turn to face it.
posted by jamjam at 8:22 AM on April 15, 2014

Good luck on your trip.

My suggestions are not bike specific, but hopefully you will find something you like.


The old houses around Ferndale.

Near Eureka. The Samoa Cookhouse. Old lumber mill cook house that serves traditional food lumber camp style - and as much of it as you want. Menu varies daily.

Prarie Creek Redwoods State Park and campground. See the elk on the beach and walk up a vertical walled box canyon.

For a MUCH MUCH more scenic route, get off of 101 at the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. The views are breathtaking!


Take a look at this website the from Oregon Coast Visitors Association.

Stop at the Oregon State Darlingtonia Natural Site to view the carnivorous pitcher plants.

South of Bandon the West Coast Game Park Safari is a tourist trap wild animal park. Cheesy and fun at the same time. You may be able to pet a tiger cub (I have) or a Ocelot (I have). You can feed the animals in the park. Don't expect too much from it and you will like it.

Shore Acres State Park near Bandon. A beautiful well tended garden and some history awaits… Bandon offers world class golf, small town charm and wonderful sandy beaches with large rocks and formations.

Stop at Mo's in downtown Newport and enjoy some famous Clam Chowder. Then head to Depoe Bay. The shops are cool and watching the boats come into the worlds smallest navigable harbor is fun.

In Lincoln City you can be on the beach standing in the 'D' River and look West and see the ocean, look East and see Devils Lake. From low tide at 440 feet to highest tide at 120 feet it is the worlds shortest river.

Head north to Tillamook and go to the Cheese Factory and get some yummy ice cream. Sorry that is just me, get some of their famous cheese while you are there.

Stopping at Canon Beach can be fun. Astoria is always nice. The Victorian style houses, the Clatsop Column, the Lewis & Clark history and if you are lucky some tall sailing ships will be in in port.

Have fun!
posted by Leenie at 6:02 PM on April 15, 2014

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