Finishing the California Coast


Northern California Map

Our potential route to wrap up Northern California Coast.

A package came in the mail this week that has rekindled the bicycle touring itch in me.  The content of the package was the entire series of the Adventure Cycling Association’s Southern Tier route across the United States.  In addition to these maps, there was a single map for the 3rd section of the Pacific Coast route, which starts at Crescent City to San Francisco.  This is the sole map that is causing the most “itch” in me as I am pouring over this document in fine detail, as this would most likely be our next bike tour in 2014.

Finishing What We Started

Both Sang Hyun and I have rode down from San Francisco to the US / Mexico border on different occasions.  What is left to ride is Northern California.  This would be a major achievement as we can finally finish the entire California coast, which is one of the most breathtaking routes in the country.  We’ve considered starting the ride at the US / Canadian border, but I think we’ll have to start small and just wrap up California for now.  We can consider doing both the Washington and Oregon border next time.

Starting Point

How do we get to Crescent City?  Both of us have been up the coast by car, so I think the best way to get to our starting point is to take the Amtrak train up the coast.  Upon initial research, the closest train station that would get us near Crescent City would be at Klamath Falls, Oregon.  This is a 188 mile bike ride between the city.  Another consideration, which I’m formulating as I’m writing this blog entry, is to ride north up to Crater Lake and then start our journey to Crescent City.  There’s actually a train station in Chemult, OR which would put us closer to Crater Lake, but that isn’t a checked baggage stop, so that won’t help as we’ll be checking in our bikes.

Crater Lake - Discovery Point
Crater Lake – Discovery Point by Charles Dawley, on Flickr

Adding Crater Lake would add another 74 miles or another day or two to our trip.  I think it’ll be a great detour before our initial start at Crescent City as neither of us have ever been there.  I think we’ll stay 2 days there to ride around the rim of the lake.  We’ll finally get to navigate down to the coast afterwards for the next 2 days.

Our Stops

Here are possible cities for our stops after Crescent City.

I left out the 20 miles before San Francisco as that is where the ride starts to get into more of an urban environment.  The next step is to apply our constraints to each of our destinations starting at Crescent City.  These includes:

  • Our average mileage of 50 to 60 miles per day.

  • Elevation increases.

  • Lodging / camping stops.

  • Attractions to see.

  • Food stops.

Reader Help

For the last 3 items, we need your help letting us know where we should stay (or not stay), or an attraction we should not pass by, or a not-to-be-missed delicious hole-in-the-wall food spot to dine in.  We will compile this and use this information to plan out our trip for next summer.   We look forward for your feedback and suggestions, so please reach out to us either by commenting below, emailing us, Facebook reply, Twitter reply, or anything to let us know where we should go on our trip.


About Johnny Lam

Johnny is an avid cyclist who enjoys bicycle touring as well as anything bicycle related. Johnny has traveled the entire Pacific Coast by bike from Vancouver to the border of California and Mexico. He's also toured through-out locations in Southern California. Johnny is also a League of American Bicyclists League Certified Instructor (LCI) and also completed the Adventure Cycling Association's Leadership Training Course (LTC). He is an active member in Los Angeles bicycling community being involved in organizations like the Los Angeles County Bicycling Coalition (LACBC), C.I.C.L.E. (Cyclists Inciting Change through Live Exchange), and Bike San Gabriel Valley (Bike SGV) by taking part in ride marshaling, pedestrian & bike counts, and other volunteering opportunities.