2013/15: Cycling the Lost Coast from Ferndale to Petrolia

  Stage 2013/15 [A015]
Ferndale - Mattole Road - Cape Town - Lost Coast - Petrolia
36 mi / 58 km
1392 m (garmin etrex)



Cycling from Ferndale to Petrolia (lost coast). Pacific coast Vancouver - San Francisco on a bicycle

Cycling from Vancouver to San Francisco following the Pacific Coastline.  

Stage from Ferndale to Petrolia ob the Loast Coast cycling the Mattole Road.

One of the most epic cycling tours of the world.


For the next two days we’ve decided for the more exhausting but more beautiful variant across the Lost Coast. Therefore, today starts with a steep rise. We cycle up to a height of about 580 m with a gradient of up to 10 %.

After the mountain is before the mountain: Before crossing the coastal mountains isolating the Lost Coast from the rest of California, we must cross the Bear River about sea level and pedal up the next mountain. By the way, the term Capetown is a bluff package: It’s rather a farmstead than a city.

This time it’s only 300 meters up in altitude, but at that with a gradient of 12 %. Since there aren’t any possibilities to eat before Petrolia, our bikes are heavily loaded with water and food. Under these constraints, this rise is already borderline.

On top of the mountain, there is a fantastic view of mountains, coast and Pacific.

On the West side of the mountain, we cycle down Mattole Road, the deep-blue Pacific in front of our eyes.

The rise is not less steep with a gradient of -13 %.

Lost Coast is not only the most western part of the USA (except for Alaska) but also the only coastal line in California, where no highway passes. When there were building works in the 1920 of the highway 1 along the coast, the planners thought the mountains insurmountable for the construction of a road. A development through the railway has failed years before that for the same reasons.

In the background you can see the steep descent.

Mattole Road leads directly along the coast, which . . .

On today’s stage, there are about 5 cars approaching us.

After having cycled about 10 km directly along the coast, we leave the Pacific.

At the southern end, the road leads into the heart of the country to Petrolia (with about 400 inhabitants). There is a small shop here where we augment our supplies.

Animal of the day: alpaca. Alpacas originally come from the South American Andes Mountains and are presumably kept because of their wool. I do however believe that they are kept because of their cuddly looks.

Since the Lost Coast does not offer any hotels (we stayed at the one which was closest last night), we have to stay at a camping site. We decide for the Arthur W. Way Park north of Petrolia.