Author Topic: Sierra Cascades in april  (Read 1325 times)

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Offline Outstream

Sierra Cascades in april
« on: November 17, 2013, 04:17:20 pm »
Hi there,
We (2 bicycle enthusiasts from Europe) have about a month next April for a trip to the us and we would absolutely LOVE to do the pacific crest trail from San Fran to Vancouver (CA) (or the other way around)

However, as mentioned we will be doing this in April... Does anyone know if this is possible that time of year and what weather we might expect? (Although the last question calls for kind of a broad answer I guess :)

We have 2 options: either travel north south (Van - San Fran) or start in San Fran. The first option logistic wise would be much better but this would mean starting to cycle around Vancouver at the beginning of April...

It would be a HUGE!! Help if anyone could give us some advice!!!

Thanx!


Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Sierra Cascades in april
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2013, 07:25:52 pm »
I'm afraid that April is too early for this route as the North Cascade Highway is often closed until early May.

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Traffic/Passes/NorthCascades/closurehistory.htm

Why not do the Pacific Coast route instead?  It's a lot prettier...
Hoping to do the North Star with ACA in 2014.

Offline Outstream

Re: Sierra Cascades in april
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2013, 02:25:55 am »
Hi there Cyclesafe,

Thank you for your reply!! Although it was the kind of reply that I was most afraid of..... :( Is the pacific route really that nice? I have the feeling that cycling along the coast will just be very boring....  (I'm from Holland, and over here cycling along the coast is... BORING!) ?

I looked at your link for the opening dates of the cascades highway. Looks like there's little change that it will be open at the beginning of April. Do you think though there might be a change to combine the pacific and cascade routes? Starting along the coast and as we progress further south move to the sierra's? I guess my question is ; are they opening/ closing the cascades highway in segments or as a whole?

Thanx again!!!


Ps: if anyone has any other suggestions for a nice route starting in San Fran for about 4 weeks let me know!!!
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 04:59:04 am by Outstream »

Online staehpj1

Re: Sierra Cascades in april
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2013, 09:58:25 am »
The Pacific Coast route is far from boring.  It is very hilly and very scenic.  The only part of my ride there that I was less than crazy about was in Washington state and that was an inland section of the ride.  Oregon is spectacular and has really nice camping opportunities at a very cheap price.  California is similar in that regard.  Both have hiker biker sites in their state parks for less that $10 per person per night.

I think April would likely be very wet though.

Offline JMilyko

Re: Sierra Cascades in april
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2013, 10:07:36 am »
Is the pacific route really that nice? I have the feeling that cycling along the coast will just be very boring....  (I'm from Holland, and over here cycling along the coast is... BORING!) ?

For what it's worth, in corresponding with a Dutch friend who has seen parts of the Washington, Oregon and California coast (albeit not by bike, yet), he states the the Pacific Coast is one of the most stunning landscapes he's seen. As stated by someone else, I think your bigger issue is the high likelihood of rain in April.

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline indyfabz

Re: Sierra Cascades in april
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2013, 10:18:50 am »
guess my question is ; are they opening/ closing the cascades highway in segments or as a whole?

The lynch pins are Rainly and Washington Passes between Newhalem to the west and Mazma to the east. The road is either open across the passes or it's not. Having crossed twice in late May, I recommend cold/wet weather clothing if you happen to tackle it in April. I got snowed on both times and it was pretty darn cold at the summits. Still plenty of snow piled up along side the road. Also, pay attention to the forecast. Not a place you want to get caught in a storm.

Offline zzzz

Re: Sierra Cascades in april
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2013, 10:35:36 am »
Or for something completely different....

You can do the Western Express route. It starts in SF, you get some of the most stunning scenery the US has to offer, and for large parts of the ride the temps and the weather should be good.

April is tough though, you will have several passes that you won't want to be on if a storm is blowing through.

And when you're done you ride from Pueblo to Denver and fly home.

Pete

Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Sierra Cascades in april
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2013, 11:33:05 am »
I've done the Pacific Coast route three times, one of them the unpopular - for good reason - south to north direction.  I've also done the eastern section of the Western Express route.

Definitely the best of the "three" in terms of scenery is north to south - Vancouver to SF - on the coast route.  Weather will probably not cooperate though as rain and fog will obscure views and make traffic a bit more threatening. The inland portion of the ACA route in Washington can be avoided by going around the Olympic range.  Then you can rejoin the Pacific Coast route at Calumet for the ferry across the Colombia River or brave/risk the Astoria bridge and rejoin at Astoria.

As mentioned, there are several passes on the Western Express, likely open however, that will be dangerous if you attempt to do by bike unassisted during periods of inclement weather. OTOH, you will be stopped frequently by motorists offering assistance when conditions turn sketchy so death will not be imminent.
Hoping to do the North Star with ACA in 2014.

Offline Outstream

Re: Sierra Cascades in april
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2013, 04:16:03 pm »
Wow thanx a million everyone! I didn't expect so manny (useful) input!


I think Cyclesafe convinced us into doing the pacific coast route. Especially up north and maybe once we progress further south and the weather permits we head over into the sierra's.

As for the western express route. I've actually did that one as part of a transam cycling trip. That great trip took us from NYC to San Fran and I always kinda regret that we weren't able to go further north (back then we where in Colorado late October).

I think we're going to take the risk and just hope the weather won't be too horrible in the north west (if it's anything like the April's over here, it just means we can expect any kind of weather. I believe I checked all the "average weather" statistics for the north west available on the internet :)
Doing the north - south route.

So if anyone has some good shelter , warm up or great coffee suggestions please let me know! We might (though I really hope not..) need it!

Thanx again!
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 04:19:15 pm by Outstream »

Offline PeteJack

Re: Sierra Cascades in april
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2013, 02:43:35 am »
With the Sierra-Cascades route the hardest part (for me) was the North Cascades at the very beginning when you are not in the shape you will be in 1000 miles later. Also, Elk Pass, south of Mt Rainier will almost certainly be impassable, I couldn't cross it in June! I would suggest you go round the Olympic Peninsula from Vancouver BC. It's hilly enough to be interesting but much less strenuous than the North Cascades, a great way to get your touring legs. It can be wet both on the peninsula and the NC at that time of year but the wet will be warmer on the Peninsula. I rode from Utrecht to the Hook of Holland a couple of years ago and I can assure you the Peninsula is nothing like it. http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=9648&v=M1