Author Topic: Crescent City, CA to Sierra Cascades Route  (Read 9427 times)

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Offline CoBikeJunkie

Crescent City, CA to Sierra Cascades Route
« on: March 08, 2021, 05:03:10 pm »
I'm trying to figure out a route going from Crescent City over to the Sierra Cascades route. I'm starting out in the Bay area and riding north on Pacific Coast route. I would like to head over to the Sierra Cascades route from Crescent City to loop back down the SC route to Western Express and back to San Fran.
The googles throw out three options to connect over to Mt Shasta. One going up through Grants Pass, Medford and meeting up with the SC route in Ashland. Another riding up to O'brien then heading down to 96 and riding that over to just north of Yreka. That route looks super pretty, but the shoulder on 96 does not seem to be consistent.  Which would not be a huge problem if traffic is reasonable. I found one post in this forum about 96, but that was back in 2014.  The third route was a route in between the first and second.

There is not a significant mileage difference, so just looking for the route that will be the nicest ride.  96 caught my interest since it follows the Klamath river which would be nice.  Anyone have suggestions or info on how to link Crescent City to the SC route?

Offline EmilyG

Re: Crescent City, CA to Sierra Cascades Route
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2021, 01:58:57 am »
This is a tough question, because the roads west-east in this area are either super rural with few services, or major roads with high traffic volume, especially in the summer. I'm originally from northern California.  I would not want to ride from Crescent City to Grants Pass, but mostly due to the section from Crescent City to Collier Tunnel.  LOTS of RV traffic and big trucks, with very little to negative shoulder on curvy roads wrapping around giant trees.    But if your tolerance for traffic is high, it is gorgeous.      96 is beautiful, VERY rural, so you'd want to check services and plan accordingly.  Does the route you are taking go from O'Brien to Happy Camp on Grayback Rd?  Or where do you drop onto 96?    If it is to Happy Camp, that section is beyond rural, so plan accordingly. You won't run into much traffic.  Lots of no cell service areas out there.

We are doing a loop this summer, combining Sierra Cascade and Pacific Coast, too, July and August.     Bend, OR north to Sedro-Woolley, then South on Pacific Coast to SF, then east to Truckee and back North on the Sierra Cascades. So maybe we'll cross paths!

P.S., If you are flexible in direction, I recommend doing the coast section from north to south, due to prevailing winds on the coast.   So north on Sierra Cascades and south on Pacific Coast.....

Offline CoBikeJunkie

Re: Crescent City, CA to Sierra Cascades Route
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2021, 09:21:33 pm »
The exact route the googles came up with to keep from going all the way to Grants Pass is
Crescent City -> O'Brien on 199
O'Brien -> Happy Camp on Waldo Rd/Greyback Rd
Then 96 across to 263 and into Yreka

I see what you are talking about with the shoulder disappearing on the tighter turns on 199.  The lack of alternatives makes me think I'll just have to deal with it and make sure to have my safety triangle out, blinky light going strong and wear something bright. 

I think we could deal with the lack of service fairly easily. There appear to be quite a few camping options along 96 and there's a market in Happy Camp.  There are a few small markets along the way and 96 follows the river so we can always filter water if necessary.

I had not thought of prevailing winds off of the ocean.  That's an excellent point.  Thanks for bringing that up and we are definitely flexible on direction.

Thanks for replying EmilyG!

Offline CoBikeJunkie

Re: Crescent City, CA to Sierra Cascades Route
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2021, 03:46:52 pm »
We managed to pull this off! We did reverse our route and went north on the Sierra Cascades and south along the coast.  That was the right call!

The route up to Happy Camp was suggested by a local and was super nice. 
Mt Shasta --> Gazelle
Gazelle --> Callahan
Callahan --> Ft Jones via E Callahan Rd
-- E Callahan Rd is the old road that parallels the east side of the river.  Highway 3 would work as well.  From what I could tell it was less busy than Highway 3.  I saw other cyclists on E Callahan, so guessing it might be the better of the two for bikers.  And it was a really cool ride.  Ray's market in Ft Jones was a great stop for dinner stuff.
Ft Jones --> Indian Scotty Campground via Scott River Road -- WOW.  This road is beautiful!  Low traffic when we rode it during the week.  SO pretty.  Indian Scotty campground was 'closed' according to USFS.  But the bathrooms were open and stocked and super clean.  The water was on.  We were 1 of 3 groups in the entire site.  Awesome!
Campground --> 96 -- The Scott River road was absolutely beautiful.  It got busier as we got closer to 96 and was a little busy in places which made the lack of shoulder inconvenient.  It was manageable, but just had to be alert.
96 --> Happy Camp -- Seiad Valley Store was fun to stop at to pick up something cold to drink, but not much fresh food.  Be sure to grab your 'State of Jefferson' sticker for the collection.  Kingfisher Market in Happy Camp is a good market to stock up at.
Happy Camp --> O'Brien -- That was a brutal climb.  In the Indian Creek Fire scar on 100 degree days.  We stopped and camped along the way.
O'Brien --> Crescent City -- DON'T DO THIS.  IT'S A DUMB IDEA.  199 was super pretty to ride.  The canyon is beautiful. The road is narrow with absolutely no shoulder.  The road ends and the cliffs begin at the right side of the white line.  The traffic is unforgiving even on the weekdays.  Once you are out of the narrows it is a nice ride.  The entire road isn't that bad.  But that stretch through the canyon is death-defying.

« Last Edit: August 24, 2021, 03:49:18 pm by CoBikeJunkie »

Offline EmilyG

Re: Crescent City, CA to Sierra Cascades Route
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2021, 08:25:21 pm »
Way cool!  Thanks for providing a status report of the route.  I am so glad it worked out for you, and you enjoyed it.  Especially glad you survived 199. That road scares me in a car!   I wish there was a shuttle. 
Did you do a travel journal or blog?

Offline CoBikeJunkie

Re: Crescent City, CA to Sierra Cascades Route
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2021, 08:44:04 pm »

Did you do a travel journal or blog?   

Didn't put it on crazy guy because it wasn't just a summer bike tour.  I doubt I'll re-new this URL so it will become another link to nowhere in 6 months or so.  I might get ambitious and copy the California tour over to crazy guy though.  I thought it was pretty cool that we tied Western Express, Sierra Cascades and Pacific Coastal together.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2021, 11:55:18 pm by CoBikeJunkie »

Offline EmilyG

Re: Crescent City, CA to Sierra Cascades Route
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2022, 07:41:18 pm »

We are doing the Pacific Coast route from Bellingham to Santa Barbara (where Jay's daughter is in college) during this April/May. So I was reviewing posts about the route, and came across this thread!  I forgot to let you know I enjoyed your trip log and seeing your adventures from last year, after talking in the forum about routing. Thanks for sharing it! 
Will be wet, but going to be an adventure.  Has always been a dream to ride through my home town on my bike.