Start: Fort Bragg, CA
On a recent bike tour, I left Highway 1 and cut over to Highway 101 on dirt. I had just come down through the Lost Coast on my bikepacking bike so I was eager to leave the busy traffic and pavement of Highway 1. This route was a real surprise. The first time I tried to ride it, I was stopped by mud in the spring. This time the road was dry and easy to navigate. After climbing the first few miles on pavement, you are challenged by some seriously steep gravel grades. Once on the ridge you will be constantly climbing and descending along the ridge towards Willits. Over the 41.8 miles you will gain 5626 feet. There is very little signage along the road but most forks are gated and the main road was pretty obvious.
At milepost 6, I was chased by a loose dog at the last house after leaving Ft. Bragg. It was pretty persistent until I stood my ground. Judging by the looks of the property, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a regular occurrence.
Once you leave Ft. Bragg, you will be high up on the ridge away from water sources, except for a wonderful year-round spring at milepost 26. Bring plenty of water during the summer.
The road surface is native dirt with a few ruts. A gravel bike or mountain bike would be best especially if you are touring with a load. I road a Salsa Cutthroat in bikepacking mode with a 32 x 46 low gear. This was a perfect setup, although I did hike a couple of steep sections.
You are traveling through private timberland so expect to see logging trucks during the summer. There are no public campgrounds or other facilities along the way.
RidewithGPS link Here