Just the name itself of the “Avenue of the Giants” should be enough of a calling to ride.
Our redwoods are a national treasure and to cycle within them in solitude is the only way you want to experience them.
With only 23 miles and 2,100 feet of elevation, this lies in the jaunt category as it’s mostly paved with one serious climb to contend with..
Coming from the south, I started out of the town of Myers Flat which lies right on the Avenue of the Giants alignment on old Highway 101.
While you lose some of the enormity on the faster, modern option, that leaves you to enjoy the peace on the former.
It doesn’t take long to nestle yourself deep within the forest as these behemoths absorb as much light and sound as possible.
I find in everyday life, we experience our environment at eye-level, but looking towards the sky while cycling down this lane is amazing shift in perspectives.
You will see the occasional driver here and there, but you know they’re not here to zoom through otherwise they’d be on the main highway.
Hitting the Founders Grove at mile 7 is where you could make the case to start your ride because of the short hike to visit the Dyerville Giant and Founders Tree since you’re not allowed to bike on these trails.
Turning onto Dyerville Loop Road, the redwoods soon disappear as the foliage is inline with what survives along the occasional flooding Eel River.
There’s a couple of short 1k climbs that aren’t challenging in steepness, nor surface, but the bigger oddity is coming across these abandoned rails.
While I’ve have read about the potential Great Redwood Trail for years, I didn’t realize I was crossing it’s proposed path thinking it would be more coastal.
Nonetheless, a 320 mile path connecting the San Francisco and Humboldt Bays would be an epic accomplishment that would instantly launch to the top of many bucket lists.
Unfortunately, after the last crossing you say goodbye to friendly grades.
You’re now on gravel which doesn’t help this two and a third mile climb that lingers around 9%.
It’s not just the slope or the humidity, but the times you have to pause for the dust to clear from passing traffic.
You’re enclosed, so the views won’t help you pass the time, but the pavement at the top is a fair enough signal the vert is over.
From here it’s a steady, but curvy decent that’s easy to navigate back into town.
With its short distance, I think you can make a case to ride counter-clockwise for the beginner mainly to spread out the big climb.
While not the most robust route, the Avenue of the Giants does what it promises…go big!