Traffic While Biking the Redwood ForestCycling the Redwoods requires strength, stamina and most of all, fearless fortitude! These roads around Jedediah Smith, Mill Creek, Elk Prairie parks are stunning roads with massive towering trees pressing into the sides. The highway itself whips and curves, dips and dives between the giants, built to be a road to be savored, a road where one cannot help but gawk at the magnificent trunks that squeeze the sides. A squeeze every year that becomes slimmer as the trees grow. A road built around the soaring Goliaths bathed in shadow. A road filled with the sounds of pounding ocean surf and filled with the fresh smell of deep forest. Built also at a time when cars were smaller and traveled slower, it is a glorious beautiful ride. However, the biggest problem is the road shoulders are basically nonexistent.
Because the road shoulders are intermittent and narrow, to ride this road, one must insert themselves into the actual flow of traffic. Bikes at best travel at 20 mph while the cars are traveling at 60. (Note here most of the Redwoods are in California and the traffic signs say 50 which means traffic flow is 70.) Couple logging trucks, RV’s and road construction into this parade and it becomes a scary ride. Oddly enough, some of the worse parts are the Redwoods themselves, where their shallow roots lift the asphalt and create localized speed bumps.
Redwood Tree Root Speed BumpsDo not take my words here as a deterrent and let them prevent you from these spectacular roadways. I do suggest two things: Try to travel before or after school break, the month of October is often glorious with dry weather and relatively lighter traffic. The road itself is full of heart pumping climbs so if you can do those hills without panniers or extra weight on the bike you may find it much more enjoyable. But by all means, go!
Clear Stream in the Redwood ForestThe cost to bike camp at state and national parks is $5 or $7 depending on the park and if you are traveling after the Labor Day holiday, relatively open and spots can be had without reservations. Mountain biking is not allowed in any of these parks. The roads I specifically have ridden are Hwy 199 in Oregon, Hwy 101 in California and Avenue of the Giants.

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