California Wine Country ? Sonoma Cycling

Trip Length 6 Days
Group Size 4-13
Difficulty
Starting from
$3,359 for REI Members
$3,628 for non-members
Departures May 2020-Aug 2020

Cycle and explore California?s Sonoma wine country for 6 days, sampling valleys, vineyards, redwoods and Pacific Coast.

There?s more to northern California winelands than Napa. Join your friendly co-adventurers and head for Sonoma County, Napa?s laid-back neighbor. The itinerary is a blend of experiences, refined and wild. Yes, expect the usual wine-country cycling activities: tastings, vineyard visits, winding roads through grape-lush valleys. We?ll also unbottle natural delights of the seashore and coastal range. (Ever had a curious otter pop up beside your kayak, whack-a-mole style?)

Begin with a bucket-list ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. From there, imbibe quaint towns and exquisite cabernets. And pinot noirs. And chardonnays. Breathe in salt breezes and rugged Pacific vistas. Ride up the Russian River into the heart of a valley with a hundred wineries. Kayak with a naturalist in Tomales Bay, floating across underwater meadows where California bat rays are born. Picnic at a farm store that made the cover of Wine Spectator. Walk in wonder among 1,400-year-old redwoods. Stay oceanside and drift off to the lullaby of waves. Our expert guides handle the details so you?re free to savor each moment.

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Trip Highlights

  • Ride out of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Treat your senses to Pacific vistas and the pastoral beauty of Sonoma
  • Cycle along the Russian River into the heart of Sonoma County wine country, including a valley of a hundred vineyards
  • Venture out on a coastal wildlife safari, kayaking Tomales Bay with a naturalist in search of creatures like osprey, harbor seals and California bat rays
  • Taste exquisite local wines, especially pinot noir and chardonnay

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Participants should be experienced riders who are comfortable in the saddle for 3-6 hours per day. They should be comfortable riding paved roads with light vehicle traffic.

Rides range from 30-55 miles per day with the ability to boost or add a few more miles. Terrain is moderate hills with a few steeper ascents and descents. Average elevation gains and losses are 2800' per day. Most hill gradients average 3-5% and a few short sections that can reach up to 8%. Vehicle support is always available when needed. E-bikes are available in a limited quantity upon request.

A kayaking active is part of this adventure, participants may kayak up to 2 hours.

  • Road Cycling
  • Cycling
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking

What's Included

Five nights accommodations; permits and associated fees; all meals as noted in the daily itinerary; bikes; kayaks.

Accommodations

Lodge or cottage accommodations, 5 nights

Your wheels for the journey

Every great tour begins with a great bike, and our top-flight fleet has been carefully curated for your cycling adventure.

Want to bring your own bike?  You can do that too.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

From San Francisco to a Seaside Lodge

After meeting in San Francisco at a hotel near Fisherman?s Wharf, your guides will transport you north across the Golden Gate Bridge for the one-hour transfer to the ride start in Petaluma. If it is a fog free day, we will cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge to take in the picturesque view of the Bay Area from the bridge. You?ll enjoy a gorgeous route past the pastoral beauty of the ranches and farms of rural Sonoma County. After finishing the ride to lunch, you can ride to the hotel or we?ll shuttle to Bodega Bay to tonight?s resort. Nestled on a hillside above Doran Beach, our lodge is a perfect place to take in the area?s natural beauty. From your balcony, enjoy views of Bodega Bay and the Pacific Ocean beyond. Dinner and a full-service spa are only steps away. Lunch and dinner included.

Cycling: 46 miles; Elevation gain/loss +3198'/-3180'; Van transfer: 1 hour

Day 2

Pacific Coast Kayak Safari on Tomales Bay

We?ll rise early this morning and drive to Tomales Bay. Mornings are typically best for placid paddling conditions on the bay. We?ll paddle out with a local naturalist to view a variety of bird and marine life such as osprey, harbor seals, pelicans, bat rays and more. We?ll spend about 3 hours exploring the coastline before paddling back to the hamlet of Marshall. Back on the beach we trade our kayaks back in for bikes to begin biking back towards Bodega Bay. After returning to our hotel, we?ll have some free time before dinner at a favorite nearby restaurant. All meals included.

Cycling: 26 miles; Elevation gain/loss +1425'/-1425'; Kayaking: 3 hours

Day 3

Ride the Heart of the Redwoods

As the morning sun burns off the nightly blanket of fog, you may choose to take a stroll along the tranquil bay before indulging in a hearty breakfast. Today we?ll head into the coastal range for a cruise into the heart of the redwoods. At the Armstrong Redwoods State Park, we?ll stroll among 1,400-year-old trees that tower over 300 feet high and create a unique microclimate. Shafts of light filtering through the canopy make for an enchanting experience. After lunch enjoy a cycle up to our new home for the night in Occidental. Breakfast and dinner included.

Cycling: 42 miles; Elevation gain/loss: +2195'/-1688'; Hiking: 30 minutes

Day 4

Vineyards & Vistas by the Russian River

Today you'll ride out of Occidental along verdant, tree-lined roads back to the Russian River. You'll continue east through the vineyards and into the town of Windsor. After lunch you'll continue to pedal up a local cyclists' favorite route over Chalk Hill and into the charming town of Healdsburg, your home for the final two nights of the trip. Breakfast and lunch included.

Cycling: 47 miles; Elevation gain/loss: +2093'/-2562?

Day 5

Cycle a Valley of a Hundred Wineries

More than 100, actually, in the whole of the Alexander Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA). Today will include some truly classic wine country riding on quiet back roads dotted with welcoming vineyards. Visit a winery offering stunning, vista views where we?ll enjoy a picnic lunch and a wine tasting. This afternoon you?ll have some free time and you may consider treating yourself to a massage at a nearby spa. All meals included.

Cycling: 40 miles; Elevation gain/loss: +2101'/-2101'

Day 6

Sonoma Backroads & Gourmet Picnic

We?ll start the day with an early pre-breakfast loop ride out along the eastside and westside roads where the magnificent vineyards of the Russian River Valley will seemingly stretch forever. The valley is one of the cooler wine growing regions in northern California, specializing in varietals like chardonnay and pinot noir. We?ll loop back to the hotel on what many will regard as their favorite ride of the week. You?ll have a chance to enjoy breakfast and return to your room to freshen up and pack before departing Healdsburg. We?ll then shuttle back to San Francisco where we will congratulate each other on an awesome week in wine country. Breakfast included.

Cycling: 20 miles; Elevation gain/loss: +747'/-747'; Van transfer: 1.5 hours

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary?this will help you and the field staff.

Collection of selected R E I Co-op cycling merchandise and snacks laid out to pack for a bike tour

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.