Author Topic: PCH vs. Colo to Yellowstone (safer ride)  (Read 4080 times)

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Offline fr8doug

PCH vs. Colo to Yellowstone (safer ride)
« on: August 21, 2008, 07:19:53 pm »
Hello All,
I am searching for advice on riding PCH  (WA to San Fran) vs. Riding Colorado to Yellowstone.  Does the PCH have a shoulder, how safe is it?  Many Cyclist?
Colo through WY seems pretty desolate?  I will be solo.
Thanks in Advance...

Offline litespeed

PCH vs. Colo to Yellowstone (safer ride)
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2008, 02:02:55 pm »
The Pacific Coast Highway is wildly scenic and, yes, you will meet other cyclists but they are plenty amiable and won't interfere with your tour. Lots of short, steep climbs, especially along Route 1. You'll need MTB gearing. Safety is not a problem. Some winos in the campgrounds but not nearly as bad as southern California. Oregon state campgrounds are much better than those in California.

Colorado to Yellowstone will have a lot of long, empty stretches and probably some long climbs depending on your route. I like the high desert but it's not for everyone. Yellowstone can be crowded in the summer. After my last trip there I swore I wouldn't go there again between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Offline staehpj1

PCH vs. Colo to Yellowstone (safer ride)
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2008, 05:13:56 pm »
The PCH is a very scenic reasonably safe place to tour.  The road conditions vary.  I have only ridden a small part of it, but have driven a lot of it.  It is really pretty close to ideal touring.  For more details get the book:
Bicycling the Pacific Coast by Tom KirKendall and Vicky Spring

I rode the Colorado to Yellowstone section going the other way as part of our Cross country trip on the TA.  That section of the TransAmerica would be a godd choice if that is where you want to ride.  Colorado from Pueblo to Walden will be pretty nice.  Wyoming to the Tetons is desolate but we enjoyed it.

The Tetons were quite pretty and I liked Yellowstone.  Traffic was pretty heavy in Yellowstone, but doable.  Try to avoid the weekends until late Sunday when the park kind of empties out.

Check out our journal and other Trans America journals on CGOAB for more details about this area.

Given the choice between those two I would probably pick the PCH.  Or perhaps a loop in the Colorado Rockies, I loved the Rockies.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 8-29-08 @ 2:17 PM

Offline MrBent

PCH vs. Colo to Yellowstone (safer ride)
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2008, 11:33:37 am »
The PCH is generally pretty safe though unlike a lot of folks I really don't like the Oregon stretch, at least in summer.  The traffic is astronomical.  Some sort of loop in the Rockies would be awesome.  BTW, stopping the PCH in San Francisco means you'll miss Big Sur--bummer.  The stretch from just north of SF to Santa Barbara is one I've ridden twice and plan on doing again.  There was a big fire this year in Big Sur, but I don't know how that affected the scenic qualities of the ride.

Seriously consider a big loop through Montana. That's an awesome state.



Offline valygrl

PCH vs. Colo to Yellowstone (safer ride)
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2008, 05:50:40 pm »
I've done both.  Colorado to Yellowstone is probably safer, as long as you don't ride IN Yellowstone, which is quite unsafe, in terms of too much traffic and not enough shoulder.  And bison and elk and bears, oh my.

However, the section between Walden and the Tetons is VERY empty.  And VERY windy (NW, usually, so if you do that, it would be more fun to start in Yellowstone and head SE).  I just completed a tour in which I specifically avoided that stretch area, because it is just so very far between anywhere you can get water, and the scenery is so uniform.

I would recommend a loop in the Colorado Rockies (anywhere, really, in the middle of the state, and can talk more ad nauseum about this area if you are interested), Glacier to Jasper and back (just did that as part of my trip and it was FANTASTIC) or the PCH, which is also fantastic, most especially Oregon and CA between SF and Santa Barbara.

The two routes you suggest are very different in terms of scenery and climate, apart from safety concerns, and I personally feel that either is safe ENOUGH that I would not let safety make my choice for ME.