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128 months ago

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CA - The Lost Coast Highway, Cliff Hugging from Ferndale to Usal Beach, California

Distance: 182.3 Km / 113.6 Mi Duration: 04:41:49

Motorcycle riding along Usal Road, California

Motorcycle riding along Usal Road, California

Photo by mcarbiener/Flickr

If getting far off the beaten track is your thing, The Lost Coast Hwy is for you. This stretch of coastline is named for the steep mountain roads that were too costly for California state highway development, leaving it the most undeveloped and remote portion of the California coast road system.

USA Beach, California - Scenic Motorcycle Roads

USA Beach, California - Scenic Motorcycle Roads

Redwoods Road

Redwoods Road

Get ready! The Lost Coast Hwy is like riding "narrow, paved lanes that seem as if they were scribbled on maps by earthworms dipped in ink". Sfgate.com

This epic motorcycle route takes you north to south ending in Usal Beach. Here, you'll find a quiet surf sanctuary, and a breathtaking sandy cove. The state parks-run camp ground is first-come, first-served. Water must be drawn from the creek, and be boiled or treated before use. On weekends hard-partying locals can turn Usal Beach into a modern facsimile of the old Wild West. On weekdays, it's calm and quiet.

Or if camping is not your style, continue south on CA-101 to Rockport Bay.

There are no real highway numbers along the Lost Coast Hwy, all the roads are named. If you go, you'll be rewarded with soul altering challenges and spectacular views along the cliffs of this stretch of remote coastline.

Now, for a warning: the road can be rough, bumpy and even has a section of dirt in the middle.

Usal Road is the wildest part of the Lost Coast and is the most very difficult segment when dry, and possibly impassible when wet. Hybrid motorcycles like dual-sport, on-road/off-road bikes can transit well. Even then, it's wise to probe mudholes with sticks before crossing. Bring a tow-rope (just say'n), even CAA won't come get you at Usal Rd.

Usal Road, CA after rain fall

Usal Road, CA after rain fall

To avoid Usal Road, continue on CA-1 to Rockport Bay. Regardless which detour you take, if the sense of adventure and finding the road less traveled is your thing, you'll need to add this incredible motorcycle jouney to your bucket list. The Lost Coast may become a favorite, despite the less than optimal road conditions.

Lost Coast Highway, CA

Lost Coast Highway, CA

Directions

Start in Ferndale, the northern gateway to California's Lost Coast. Take Wildcat Ave. out of town to Mattole Rd. and head south. The road wanders south west until it reaches the coast line. Continue south on Mattole Rd until you reach the tiny town of Honeydew. Here the road changes names to Wilder Ridge Rd.

At Briceland Thorn Road go west near the town of Redway. Take a little northern detour at Miller Creek Road for a joy ride. Or continue on Briceland Thorn Road until you reach a fork in the road.

At Ettersburg, the road changes names to Ettersburg Honeydew Rd - continue south through Humbolt Redwoods State Park, which by the way, is spectacular.

Take CA-101 south, aka Redwood Hwy to CA-1 where you'll head west towards the coast to find Usal Road leading to Timber Hall Road and the Usal Beach campground. The first 5.8 miles on Usal Rd provides a warning. This part is tight, steep and winding, with few places to pass and even fewer spots to back up or turn around. Dual-sport bikes recommended. If it looks too narly, head back on your tracks to CA-1 and south to Rockport Bay.

Here's a few trip reports for your reference:

RiderMagazine.com

BackCountryByways.com

Zeegman on ADVRider

Enjoy the ride.

Lost Coast Area Map, CA

Lost Coast Area Map, CA

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FelixAC

127 months ago

Thanks for this. Been planning a ride from LA to Nor Cal via PCH. Can't wait to see the sites along the shore.