It's the dream road. Suspended above the Pacific. Hugging the edge of the continent. It winds down the California coast, flirting with majestic redwoods, rugged cliffs and crashing waves. Yes, those ocean vistas are incredible. But did you imagine anything else? Like sea lions, lighthouses, historic missions and charming Carmel-by-the-Sea? Luxurious inns and sun-kissed Santa Ynez Valley vineyards? More than coastal scenery will take your breath away on this trip.
We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.
Traffic, Terrain and ShuttlesWhile Backroads strives to find routes that are quiet and off the beaten track, we bike 17-Mile Drive and Highway 1 through Big Sur, which are both popular with cyclists and drivers alike, especially during holidays and the busy summer season. The majestic Highway 1 along the California coast includes long climbs and steep downhill stretches, exposed overlooks and at times little or no shoulder. Just remember to keep to the right, ride single file and go at your own pace. Of course, if you decide to skip some of the hills, you can hop in a support van and enjoy the view.
Day 1 Bike famous 17-Mile Drive to enchanting Carmel-by-the-Sea Browse boutiques, art galleries, cafés and visit an 18th-century Spanish colonial mission in this seaside haven.
Day 2 Point Lobos, "the greatest meeting of land and water in the world," according to landscape artist Francis McComas The call of playful sea lions invite you to take a break and explore the tide pools and bluffs Test your legs on the rolling ascents of the cliff-clinging Cabrillo Highway past wind-torn cypresses.
Day 3 The rugged Big Sur coast, known for redwoods and staggering views The Twin Sisters, two substantial back-to-back ascents, are on the horizon so be sure to fuel up during lunch at Sand Dollar Beach Pedal by Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, whose cove is a hangout for elephant seals Plans to remodel? Find inspiration at Hearst Castle, where optional tours reveal an astounding 58 bedrooms, 60 bathrooms, 18 sitting rooms and sublime grounds featuring formal gardens.
Days 4-6 Discover the vineyard-laden Santa Ynez Valley A pastoral inland route leads to Los Olivos, with Victorian buildings, eclectic artwork and alluring tasting rooms Get to know Solvang, a delightful dash of Denmark in California The afternoon is yours to taste wines or olive oils, visit a lavender farm or pamper yourself at a spa Ride through weather-worn mountains—with a steep climb and technical descent for the brave.
- Bike along iconic Highway 1 on California's central coast
- Rugged cliffs plunging into the deep blue Pacific—talk about stunning scenery!
- Experience the epic beauty of land and sea at Point Lobos
- Taste award-winning wines in the picturesque Santa Ynez Valley
- California cuisine at its best—as varied and exceptional as the rides themselves
Tradewinds Inn Carmel (1 night): Enjoy the serenity and ocean views offered by this Asian-inspired inn centrally located in charming Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Ventana Inn & Spa (1 night): This luxurious getaway tucked in wooded hills overlooking the Pacific earns rave reviews from Condé Nast Traveler and the Hideaway Report. (pool, spa)
Blue Dolphin Inn (1 night): Ocean views abound at this cozy inn nestled in a grove of mature cypress trees on Moonstone Beach.
Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa (2 nights): Each room at this elegant boutique hotel, which dates back to 1888, features a private fireplace. (pool, spa)
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of
interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one
day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat
from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each
day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.
Routes For All Abilities
|Daily Route Options|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5|
|miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain|
* Includes a shuttle
2015 Dates & Pricing*
- 5/24-29 Price: $3298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1020 for sgl. occ.)
- 6/14-19 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1020 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/5-10 Price: $3298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1020 for sgl. occ.)
- 7/26-31 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1020 for sgl. occ.)
- 8/23-28 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1020 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/6-11 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1020 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/13-18 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1020 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/20-25 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1020 for sgl. occ.)
- 9/27-10/2 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1020 for sgl. occ.)
- 10/4-9 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1020 for sgl. occ.)
- 10/11-16 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1020 for sgl. occ.)
- 10/18-23 Price: $3098 pp dbl. occ., (+ $1020 for sgl. occ.)
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
Private Trips Options & Pricing
Gather your favorite people to share a Backroads adventure on a ready-to-book Private Trip - featuring all the legendary Backroads hallmarks from expert leaders to unforgettable activities.
You can pick from a large selection of dates for your group of 8 or more. Call us for date availability.
If your party has fewer than 8 guests, or if your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you.
Pricing for Private Trips (prices may vary based on departure date)
|2 - 3 guests from $4,798 pp dbl. occ.||8 - 9 guests from $3,798 pp dbl. occ.|
|4 - 5 guests from $4,198 pp dbl. occ.||10 - 11 guests from $3,398 pp dbl. occ.|
|6 - 7 guests from $3,898 pp dbl. occ.||12 or more guests from $3,098 pp dbl. occ.|
All Private Singles-Solos trips require a minimum of 16 guests.
Guest Trip Reviews
Like the other trips with Backroads, this was a wonderful trip with incredible scenery, exceptional leaders, an interesting and varied itinerary, and a really fun, nice group of people with various backgrounds but still very compatible. It was everything that was promised and more. We never worry when we are contemplating a Backroads trip.- Highland Park, IL
I had never cycled and always said I hated riding a bike. My friend talked me into this trip. So 2 months before departure I borrowed a road bike and began riding twice a week. My goal was just to survive the trip. Not only did I survive but I loved every minute of it! The guides and the other guests encouraged and inspired me to push myself to new levels of strength and endurance. After a hard day of riding it was SO nice to arrive at a beautiful hotel with my bags waiting for me in my room.- Sarasota, FL