The Pacific Coast Bike Route

World Map

 

This route starts in San Luis Obispo. Perhaps you’re traveling from Seattle or San Francisco, or maybe you took the Pacific Surfliner from San Diego or Los Angeles. Either way, before continuing your southbound journey take a break here, you’re probably due for a layover day.

Downtown San Luis Obispo

This route begins at the San Luis Obispo AMTRAK Station and takes you downtown before heading south.

San Luis Obispo offers many amenities including fine dining for every budget, many downtown restaurants abut San Luis Obispo Creek – you’ll welcome the cool breezes on hot summer nights.

Find yourself in SLO on a Thursday night? Check out the Farmers Market on Higuera Street in the heart of downtown. Friday night? Learn more about the Summer Concerts in the Plaza. Whatever your schedule, linger downtown before beginning your journey.

Visit Avila Beach and Pismo Beach

As you head south look for the latest off-road trail updates as SLO is busily expanding its bicycle network. The route has you passing by Avila Beach, but you can go where you want, right? Take the beautifully canopied Bob Jones Trail to visit this charming beachside town. After lunch you’ll be back on the trail that follows Hwy 101 into Pismo Beach. Spend the night here on the coast at the Dolphin Bay Resort, or press on to Santa Maria.

A fork in the road

Heading to San Diego or points south? Continue along the Pacific Coast Bike Route to Santa Barbara. Alternatively, an overnight in Santa Maria positions you for a beautiful ride into the Santa Ynez Valley.

 
 

San Luis Obispo to Santa Maria


San Luis Obispo to Santa Maria

Welcome to San Luis Obispo. Coming from the north? You’re probably due for a layover day. Or maybe you took the Pacific Surfliner from San Diego or Los Angeles. Maybe you’re on a tight schedule, but however you arrive, take your time on this segment. It’s worth it – you’re entering wine country.

The Central Coast

This route begins at the San Luis Obispo AMTRAK Station and takes you downtown before heading south. Linger in downtown SLO where the people-watching is excellent with the food and beverage to match. A favorite is the Granada Hotel and Bistro on Morro Street near Higuera. Consider holding court in their outdoor patio where you enjoy an excellent view of your bicycle as the world passes by.

Avila Beach

But time passes and it’s time to get moving. As you follow the route south look for the latest off-road trail updates as SLO is busily expanding its bicycle routes across town. The route has you passing by Avila Beach, but you can go where you want, right? Take the beautifully canopied Bob Jones Trail to visit this charming beachside town. After lunch or a round of golf at the Avila Beach Golf Resort, you’ll be back on the trail that follows Hwy 101 into Pismo Beach.

Pismo Beach

Spend the night here on the coast at the bicycle-friendly Dolphin Bay Resort, or press on to Santa Maria.

 
 

Santa Maria to Santa Barbara


Santa Maria to Santa Barbara

If you’re in Santa Maria you’ve got options: press on to Santa Barbara directly and skip the lovely, amenity-rich Santa Ynez valley, or take the best-in-the-valley route to Los Olivos – you decide.

The Pacific Coast Bike Route

This segment of the Pacific Coast Bike Route offers the most direct route south from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara.

Lunch in Lompoc

Amenities are few along this route today, so make Lompoc your lunch stop.

Gaviota

This route gets you over the Santa Ynez Mountains to the coast via Gaviota State Park. You’ll be riding along the 101 Fwy, direct but noisy. In most places you’ll enjoy a wide shoulder, with one significant exception: there’s an overpass on the southbound 101 Fwy where the roadway narrows, making safe passage will require your full attention. Flashing lights alert approaching motorists of your position on the narrow bridge, but typical highway speeds will have you long remembering this short, but risky segment of today’s ride.

Santa Barbara shortcut

Take the recommended route shown here from Modoc Road to enter Santa Barbara like the locals do. This route diverts you from the official Pacific Coast Bike Route to take advantage of the latest infrastructure.

 
 

Santa Barbara to Ventura


Santa Barbara to Ventura

Enjoy great bicycle infrastructure?
You’ll love this Carpinteria to Ventura bike path along the shoreline.

Passing Through?

Whether you’re passing through on the Pacific Coast Bike Route or you’re out for local ride, you’ll enjoy this most modern bicycle infrastructure.

Advocates wanted an off-road alternative to riding on the 101 Fwy; their wishes came true with this 2-way, off-road trail between the freeway and the ocean.

The Route

The route starts in Santa Barbara and follows the Pacific Coast Bike Route through Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria. Note that as you depart Carpinteria the well-signed route south directs you onto the 101 Fwy for only a short distance to the Rincon trailhead.

Ride essentials

You’ll need extra sunscreen and maybe a windbreaker, for this easy, flat ride.

Where to go from here

Keep riding south on your way to Malibu and Santa Monica, or head north along another off-road trail, the Ojai Bike Trail. Check out the Ventura-Santa Paula-Ojai Loop route for another option. You can hop on the AMTRAK Surfliner in Ventura, too.

 
 

Ventura to Malibu


Ventura to Malibu

Say goodbye to the Central Coast as you head south along the Pacific Coast Hwy.

Pack a picnic lunch for one of the many scenic state parks along Pacific Coast Hwy.

PCH is a busy road with spotty accommodations for cyclists, so pick your travel time to avoid peak traffic.

Photo credits: Michael Becker, Kate Faulkner & Frank Peters

 

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