Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dyerville Loop Short

Distance: 22.87 miles
Climbing: 2559 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Start: Weott

The Dyerville Loop ride is a must-do ride in Humboldt County. You will experience the magnificence of the giant redwoods, the power of the Eel River, and the serenity of back country roads. Once thriving towns like Dyerville, South Fork, and McCann are now just mysterious points on the map. You should allow 2 to 3 hours for the ride depending on how often you stop to take in the scenery. Even though it is a short ride, there are plenty of hills to climb on Dyerville Loop Road including one two-mile stretch of gravel with gradients over 15% in places. This route takes a clockwise direction. However, by doing it in reverse you could avoid the steep gravel climbs and instead have an easier climb up Elk Creek Road. The perfect bike for this ride is a cyclocross or touring bike set up with good climbing gears and fat tough tires for the rough pavement and gravel. I have done the ride several times on a road bike with skinny tires, but have really had to grunt and grind up Dyerville Loop Road. The ride could also be accomplished on a mountain bike if you are not in a hurry and don't mind buzzing around on the pavement with knobby tires. The ride can be enjoyed any time of year but I prefer the non-tourist season when the Avenue of the Giants is quiet. During the winter you may not see anyone on Dyerville Loop Road. However, during the summer tourist season expect to share the road on Avenue of the Giants.

  • 0- Start at Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitors Center, 17119 Avenue of the Giants, Weott, CA. The visitors center has a bathroom and source of water as well as some cool displays.
  • 1.5- Weott is located up Newton Road. There is a post office and fire station but no other services. It is hard to believe that you are standing where the old town of Weott once thrived before the 1964 flood.
  • 3.96- Turn right onto Dyerville Loop Road. Traffic will really die down now. I have travelled this road and not seen one other soul before. During the summer you will likely see a few log trucks.
  • 4.1- Founders Grove. There is a bathroom located here. Take a short detour out to the 346 foot tall Founders Tree.
  • 4.5- As you leave the giant redwoods start to watch out for dogs which may be on your left coming up.

  • 5.0- You made it past the dogs. Enjoy the quiet, but narrow country road for the next few miles. The road rolls up and down making for a challenging ride.
  • 10- McCann- This was once a station on the stage route and was named for an early lumber mill owner who had a mill here. Nothing remains of the town today but the beautiful scenery of the Eel River. During the winter residents have to ferry from the west side to the east side of the river since the summer bridge is overtopped. The gravel road starts here as you cruise along the Eel River.
  • 10.82- You will start a difficult gravel climb which can be over 15% in places. It only lasts for about 2 miles. The Old Mail Ridge route ran between Bell Springs and McCann. Due to the steep slopes in this location there was a one-way hairpin turn called Devil's Elbow. The switch back turn has been bypassed by the modern road.

  • 12.93- Turn right to stay on Dyerville Loop Road. You have finished climbing. The remainder of the ride is flat or descending.
  • 14- Turn right on Elk Creek Road. You leave Dyerville Loop Road, which continues all the way to Alderpoint Road. You can do the longer Dyerville Loop ride and end up in Garberville. You are near Fruitland, which was established by Dutch settlers near Elk Prairie with plans for fruit tree farming which never fully succeeded because of the distance to market (Turner, 1993, Place Names of Humboldt County, California).
  • 16.78- Turn right on Avenue of the Giants. The road is narrow but traffic is light in the off season. I find is easiest to just relax and pull over if traffic backs up behind me. This is one ride you will not appreciate if you don't stop and enjoy the redwoods and river.
  • 17.84- Hidden Springs Campground. This campground is only open seasonally.

  • 18.69- Meyers Flat- Services include a market, coffee shop, wine tasting at River Bend Cellars, two restaurants, and the Drive Thru Tree. You may find things a bit quiet during the winter.

  • 22.87- End where you started!

Here is a link to GPS ride data and a google map via Garmin Connect

Below is a map from Clicking on the map will direct you to the website where you can view the map through Google Earth or download a Garmin Course or GPX file. You can also print the map with notes.

Below is a portion of a USGS topographic map published in 1951. It shows the towns of Dyerville, South Fork, McCann, and Weott before the floods. You will notice that there are several buildings at each townsite which are no longer there. Click on the map for a larger view.

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