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140 months ago

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From San Francisco to Calistoga to Harbin Hot Springs via Highway 29 - mountain elevation, switchbacks and twisties galore

Distance: 144.5 Km / 90.0 Mi Duration: 02:20:23

Calistoga to Harbin Hot Springs on Highway 29 is one of the best and technical motorcycle roads in the area. This incredibly twisty motorbike route through the mountain is also relatively quiet and about 22 miles long (35.4 km); it can be done in a glorious 30 minutes.

California Route 29 — The Road to Harbin Hot Springs

California Route 29 — The Road to Harbin Hot Springs

Getting there from San Francisco is about 90 miles but depending on traffic it can take you 2 to 3 hours with lane splitting. San Francisco is a kind of city state island jam packed with 7,400,000 people - I love this city. If you stop in San Francisco, visit Alcatraz but waiting lists require you to book the tour in advance. For more information on what to see, where to eat and sleep in San Francisco see: www.sfgov.org and check out this FunCheap City Guide

From San Francisco head out of town via Vallejo on Interstate 80 for approximately 30 mi (48.3 km) crossing the Bay Bridge. You'll pass through the cities of Oakland and Richmond. Unfortunately this route doesn't get you across the Golden Gate Bridge (that's the other direction out of San Francisco).

Be aware that the I80 is a toll highway and you can pay up to $6 to cross. Sections of the I80 can be excruciatingly slow. Get ready to lane split! It's legal here.

Once over the Bay Bridge, exit on Sonoma Blvd then head 2.7 mi (4.3 km) to reach Vallejo. This highway ride has great views of San Francisco and San Pablo Bay. Vallejo is a town of 116,000 people located on the Northeastern shore of San Pablo Bay. It's part of the San Francisco Bay Area metropolitan. For more information on what to see, where to eat and sleep in Vallejo see: www.civallejo.ca.us

The view of San Francisco Bay area

The view of San Francisco Bay area

From Vallejo to Napa, take the California Highway 29 (CA 29) North for 15.8 mi (25.4 km). The road here is straight, with a couple of big sweeping turns - but hell, you're in Napa. The Napa Valley is famous for its vineyards and a great stop over for wine connoisseurs. Here you're best to get off the motorcycle and take a bicycle tour of a couple of wine tastings. For more information on what to see, where to eat and sleep in Napa see: www.cityofnapa.org

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

From Napa to Calistoga continue on CA 29 for 25.6 mi (41.2 km). The highway is relatively straight forward, with the twisties coming up just North in to the mountains from Calistoga.

Calistoga is a cute town of 5,000 people in the Upper Napa Valley. The town prides itself on being biker friendly. Police here are nice to bikers and don't ticket loud bikes like in other Wine Country towns. A popular biker spot is Lincoln Avenue where you'll likely see Harleys dominating the street. Motorcyclists can find several friendly eateries like the old time dive bar called Susie's located at 1365 Lincoln Street, many riders enjoy a cold beer here. In Calistoga, you'll find a number of wineries, hot springs, mud bath's, biker friendly establishments. It's a biker's paradise. For more information on what to see, where to eat and sleep in Calistoga see: www.ci.calistoga.ca.us

Susie's on Lincoln Street, Calistoga, California

Susie's on Lincoln Street, Calistoga, California

From Calistoga head to Middletown and the Harbin Hot Springs, this is where the fun begins! The road here is spectacularly twisty. Continue North on CA 29 for 20.8 mi 33.5 km to reach the final destination. Along the way you will pass through Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, here you can see Mount Saint Helena: a large extinct volcano. But twisties is what you will enjoy most about this section of CA 29.

Before you hit Harbin Hot Springs, you'll roll through Middletown, seemingly located in the middle of nowhere and is the best place to get gas and food. Out of Middletown, take Road 107 then Harbin Springs Road, North for 3.2 mi (5.1 km) to reach Harbin Hot Springs.

CA 29 - The Road to Harbin Hot Springs

CA 29 - The Road to Harbin Hot Springs

California Route 29 - Twisty Motorcycle Roads

California Route 29 - Twisty Motorcycle Roads

CA 29 - The Road from Calistoga to Middletown, California

CA 29 - The Road from Calistoga to Middletown, California

The ride from San Francisco to Harbin Hot Springs in 94 miles (xx km). Depending on traffic give yourself 2 - 3 hours with lane splitting to arrive at the destination. From Calistoga on CA 29 you'll encounter one of the best motorcycle routes in the area: chock full of twisties and switchbacks on a relatively quite road. Enjoy the Ride! Eat Sleep RIDE.

CA 29: Riding the twisties from Calistoga to Middletown, California

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This is one of my favorites, can't wait to ride it again!