Sweeping ocean views, dense redwood forests, ridge-top vistas, and plenty of climbing and descending on quiet country roads. Oh yeah—it’s time to ride! Take a 24-mile road ride starting from Sea Ranch on the northern Sonoma Coast. The first four miles roll easily south along buttery smooth Highway 1 and the famed Sea Ranch coast, passing open grassland, old barns, and views of the Pacific. (If you can take your eyes off the road, you might even catch migrating gray whales heading for Alaska.) When you reach Stewarts Point-Skaggs Springs Road, take a left onto the yin to Highway 1’s yang. This little-used ribbon of asphalt climbs about 1,000 feet over a couple of miles, crossing Gualala River. Yep, thighs might burn! Bring your camera for photo ops on the historic Haupt Creek Bridge, originally erected in 1909. After 10 miles, make a left on Annapolis Road and follow it all the way back to Highway 1, with a couple more climbs and fun descents. You’ve just made the honor roll!
The ride takes about 2 to 2.5 hours and has 2,300 feet of elevation gain. Here’s a map of the area. If you eat or drink at the Sea Ranch Lodge you can park in their lot. There is also a turnout for parking on the right side of Stewarts Point-Skaggs Rd. near its junction with Hwy. 1.