Bicycle Travel > Temporary ACA Route Road Closures

Pacific Coast Section 4 Hwy 1 rockslides south of Big Sur 1/2023

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I don't know if anyone is riding in this weather, but just in case, storms in the past week have caused Highway 1 to close in various places.  Might be open in a few days, or a few months.

When this happened 5 or so years ago, I took Hwy 25 and other backroads, then jumped on Hwy 101 at San Miguel.  101 is legal for cyclists in some sections, but I wouldn't recommend it going into San Luis Obispo.  The Cuesta Grade is too fast (80+ mph cars), and the shoulder is often clogged with debris.  A better option might be to take the train/bus from Salinas to San Luis Obispo.  Hopefully Adventure Cycling will come out with an official detour, soon.

Below is the detour we have used to get around landslides on Highway 1 in Big Sur in previous years:

The 147.9 mile detour begins in Marina, and rejoins the Pacific Coast route just south of Cambria. The detour does not use US 101 at any point.

California is currently undergoing historic flooding, so parts of this detour may also be currently flooded as well, particularly where it crosses the Salinas River. Please ride with caution and never attempt to cross floodwaters.

Does anyone know if the road closures at Big Sur are passable by bicycle now? I'm planning on doing this route in early March.

Thanks for sharing the detour Amy! Can you comment on the quality of the detour? I saw that there's an Amtrak route from Salinas to SLO, so I'm wondering if I should just bypass the section by train if the detour is unpleasant/unsafe.

Also, if anyone has biked through Carmel Valley I'd love to hear how that is! I think that could be an alternate route for the detour.

Here's a good article from several days ago that gives a good status:


--- Quote ---Can you comment on the quality of the detour?
--- End quote ---

A couple things to note about the Salinas Valley Detour:

-If you ride the detour in summer, it will be MUCH hotter than the coastal route. The average high in Soledad in July/August is 99°F, vs. the average in Big Sur is 76°F. Proximity to ocean affects the temperature/weather significantly. Check the weather forecast before riding to ensure will not be riding in extreme heat.
-The detour will have significantly less tourist traffic than the coastal route in the summer, but you will have to deal with more farming trucks/equipment on the road. The Salinas Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country, nicknamed the "Salad Bowl of the World" producing primarily lettuce, spinach, strawberries, and tomatoes.
-The detour does NOT use US 101 at all, although it crosses it twice.
-There are limited services between King City and Paso Robles, a distance of about 62 miles. This section is also quite hilly.
-Most of the detour does not have shoulders, but it is also mostly rural with low traffic. Traffic will increase around the small towns, and recreational traffic will increase near Lake Nacimiento.
-The last 22 miles of the detour uses SR 46 from Paso Robles back to the coast. Traffic will be much higher on this 2-lane highway, but it has wide paved shoulders.

Here is a blog post of someone who rode the Salinas Valley Detour in 2017:

--- Quote ---Also, if anyone has biked through Carmel Valley I'd love to hear how that is! I think that could be an alternate route for the detour.
--- End quote ---

We do not recommend biking through Carmel Valley. The road is very narrow, hilly, and curvy with no shoulder and short sight distances, making for dangerous biking conditions.

Here is the link to the forum thread from the last time this detour was posted in 2017:


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