Sierra to the Sea Tour Overview

Once again the starting point will be “up in the Sierras” at 7100 feet.  This year's route will be essentially the same as last year, with some minor tweaking and simplifying, just to give the route director something to do!  

Day zero:
For those who purchased a bus ticket, we’ll gather Saturday morning in San Jose for the bus ride to our start location. In the afternoon we will open registration where you will be given your route sheets, and other material. A welcome reception will be held, followed by a dinner that evening.

Day one
has granite outcroppings, lush meadows, very tall pine trees and upper Gold Country byways and vistas seldom seen by the tourist crowds. The initial 45 mile descent from the start location will give you a thrill. Today's route will take you through beautiful rustic terrain with amazing vistas. While there are no extremely steep climbs today, the many small uphills will still add up to a noticeable challenge. Be sure to rest, refuel and rehydrate often as you visit our two well placed rest stops and explore the many shops and services available in the towns you will pass through in between. Although the elevation at our destination in Jackson is almost 6,000 feet below Bear Valley, you will still be climbing nearly 5,000 feet today, which means the total descending will be over 11,000 feet in 70+ miles. Ya can't do that in Kansas! See map and links.


Day two travels north from Jackson up to Sutter Creek then out through Ione and through some playful rolling grass and oak studded hills.  Pass along the north shore of Camanche Reservoir before navigating “the staircase” on quiet Central Valley agricultural back roads. After lunching at a cool shaded winery, continue west and back in time to our second overnight location, out in the Sacramento River Delta at the Ryde Hotel! Once a hideaway for the rich and famous, this delightfully original art deco speakeasy has 30+ rooms, shady lawns, a swimming pool, patio dining before sunset and a nine hole golf course! See map and links.

Day three heads north out of Ryde. In the morning, as you pedal down Holland and Netherlands Roads, you will feel like you have been transported to a Dutch cycling paradise. Enjoy beautiful, but seldom traveled back roads through the delta under tree canopies and along picturesque rivers and canals. Visit the tiny town of Clarksburg before reaching the first rest stop where you can enjoy wine tasting from one of the many vintners present at the Old Sugar Mill. In the afternoon, you will ride through Davis, California, one of the most cycling friendly towns in the country. End the day with a tour of the little town of Winters followed by the delightfully rural and scenic beauty that is Putah Creek Rd. Today, your legs will get some welcome relief from the climbing of the past two days because just like all roads in Holland, this route is completely flat. Today's ride is 68 miles with less than 500 feet of climbing. See map and links.

Day four route continues west via Hwy 128 and crosses the tour's half way point! It first ascends into the river canyon, climbs past Monticello Dam and then over "Cardiac Hill" in Napa County. You will head north through vineyards and forest into Pope Valley and a new stop at Family Farm on Ink Grade Rd. This will give you a chance to catch your breath during the challenging four mile climb up Ink Grade to the quiet burg of Angwin. Your reward is the amazing descent down into the Napa Valley; it's one of the best! While camping is provided at the Napa County Fairgrounds, this might also be a good night for a mid tour hotel room splurge! Dinner tonight is on your own at one of the many great restaurants in downtown Calistoga. See map and links.

Day five heads for the famous Sonoma wine region via delightful back roads then north to the Jimtown Store and into and the world famous Dry Creek Valley. You'll enjoy two winery rest stops today! So after a sample or two, have the Sag van carry your purchases to camp so you can enjoy the Russian River towns of Rio Nido, Guerneville and Monte Rio while marveling at the mighty Sequoia Sempervirons en route to our camp beside the Russian River in Duncans Mills. If you arrive in Guerneville early enough, consider taking a ~5 mile round trip detour to Armstrong Redwoods Park, a great place to eat a picnic lunch or just ride through the majestic trees. There is a non-supported "hard" option available today that tackles the challenging and steep Sweetwater Rd. Option A bypasses the second rest stop and adds ~1000 ft of gain in the same 59 mile distance. See map and links.

Day six the tour finally reaches the other part of its name sake, the beautiful Pacific Ocean! The route to the coast takes us first to Duncan’s Mills for breakfast at the Cape Fear Café. From there, the tour follows Route 116 to the world famous Hwy 1 which it follows along the stunning Pacific Coast into Bodega Bay. This route provides spectacular views of the ocean, provided the fog has pulled back. If the fog persists, you can avoid the coastal chill by choosing the alternate “Inland” route up Bohemian Highway to Occidental. There, you can relax and warm up over a snack or second breakfast at the famous Howard’s Café. The alternate route rejoins the main route in Valley Ford, but not before passing the Wild Flour Bakery where you can sample many baked goods, including some truly delicious (and monstrous) sticky buns. The food options only become more plentiful as you pass Valley Ford, the rest stop in Tomales, the many seafood restaurants near Marshall and finally the diversity of restaurants and cafes in Point Reyes Station. Maybe you can sample something from every town before arriving at our last overnight in Olema, just south of Point Reyes Station. The main coastal route has 3300 ft of gain in 49 miles, while the Option A “Inland” route reduces the climbing to 2300 ft and the distance to 45 miles.
 See map and links.

Day Seven has just 38 miles. The last day's route is fairly easy compared to the first few days. We cruise along Bolinas Bay, stop for coffee in Stinson Beach, then hit the 1500 ft climb over the shoulder of Mount Tamalpias. The fast descent into Mill Valley is followed by the world famous views along the bay in Sausalito. Your first views of the now 75 year old Golden Gate Bridge come into view in Fort Baker, then a short climb, onto the western sidewalk of the Golden Gate Bridge, and south through the city by the bay as you roll the last mile into Golden Gate Park for a delicious catered lunch spread! 4000 ft gain in 38 miles. Total for the tour: 400+ miles & 27,000+ ft gain in seven days of riding! See map and links.

We hope this quick overview is sufficient to entice you to train hard this coming winter and spring so you can join your fellow cyclists on the challenging and rewarding Sierra to the Sea!

This page was last updated on May 28, 2015
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