Waterfalls, Ice Caves,
mountains, Redwood forest,
and an Ocean
Highlights: Jellys Ferry Rd • Ash Creek Rd • Ponderosa Way • Oak Run Rd • Burney McArthur Falls • Cassel Fall River Rd • Highway A19 • Medicine Lake Rd • Jot Dean Ice Cave • Stewart Springs Rd • Parks Creek Rd • Highway 3 • Callahan Cecilville Rd • Salmon River Rd • Highway 96 • Highway 299 • Titlow Hill Rd • South Fork Mountain Rd • Highway 36 • Avenue of the Giants
Route planning for a new motorcycle tour often starts with the simple question of 'What if?' What if we planned a super-twisty route through Northern California that included an ice cave, massive waterfall,14,000 ft tall mountain, redwood forest, & wilderness regions of Northern California.
Oh, and an ocean.
Could we do that? What if that were possible?
Our tour begins in Red Bluff, at the northern edge of the Central Valley. Rolling foothills give way to a remote volcanic region, punctuated by vast tracts of forest land & cinder cones. Lava tubes and lava flows... we got those.
Leaving Red Bluff, this tour flows into the southern fringes of the Cascade Range, easing into foothills where roads are twisty, bucolic and challenging. The destination... The Southern Cascade Range.
Burney Falls is a waterfall nearly 300 feet wide and dropping 130 feet. And, it has a flow rate of 100 million gallons per day. Every day. What's unusual about the waterfall is that 100 million gallons of water comes from underground springs above and at the falls. The majority of the water is shooting out of the rock wall face rather than over an edge like every other waterfall you have seen before, it takes your breath away just to look at it. A National Geographic article declared the site to be one of 'Northern California’s most spectacular waterfalls'.
The Jot Dean Ice Cave is one of the most interesting things I've ever stumbled onto while riding Northern California. Lava tubes were created by ancient lava flows from nearby Glass Mountain, but once the lava stopped, the tube remained creating a cave system. Air temps can be 90 plus degrees at the surface, but within sight of sunlight above is a layer of year-round ice that sits on the floor of the cave. Temps stay steady year round at a cozy 31 degrees, and the ambient temp drops 60 degrees while descending a short distance into the cave. There are no stairs and one must climb down a jumble of rocks. But it's worth it. Ice everywhere. Fascinating.
Here's the bad news. The problem with Mount Shasta is there are no paved roads that ply & claw at its sides. While the 400-mile length of Sierra Nevada to the south is crisscrossed with an endless list of dreamy motorcycle roads, here there are simply... none.
Mount Shasta, at 14,162 feet, is the tallest volcano in California and the second highest in America.
Mount Shasta is just... there. And what makes it unique of all the peaks in California is it sets on a flat plain. Rising some 2 miles into the sky, it dominates the view from any direction. And it's beautiful. Spectacular. Even mesmerizing. Snow covers the peak year round and a glacier or two round out the summit. So we'll ride the base, ever in the shadow of this massive rock.
There's something exciting about discovering a new road. You mean, I've been riding right past that all these years & never noticed it? Well, yes, you have. Where's my pencil? Need to cross that off.
Leaving Mount Shasta, the tour group will start making our way west across Far North California out to the Pacific Ocean. We'll ride our mystery road crossing over the Pacific Crest Trail & to the Scott Mountain summit. Meet you at the top via an aggressive climb to the top. Chicken strips? Not anymore.
Meet me at Bobs Ranch House Restaurant for lunch. Etna is located at the foot of the Marble Mountain Wilderness in the Siskiyou Mountain (Cascades) Range. Population 737. And Mrs. Bob? She's been serving up good eats for 36 years. No lie. Time stands still, we think, in these parts.
Gold was discovered along the banks of the Salmon River and miners flocked. They've long-since faded away. Occasionally we'll see a lone person standing in the middle of the river sucking up sediment in search of the precious gold. Then again, despite two billion dollars in gold pulled from the ground in California, they say 80% is still there.
Where's it all lead? To Highway 96 - a sinuous ribbon of black betrothed and mated to the adjacent Klamath River. The river bends, so does the road, the river weaves to & fro, so does the road. If you want to hire the ultimate road design engineer with motorcyclists in mind, hire nature.
The Klamath defines Northern California, flowing 263 miles cutting through the Cascade Range to empty into the Pacific Ocean while draining an extensive watershed of almost 16,000 square miles. It's mountainous terrain. And we'll ride its contours, savoring every moment.
Avenue of the Giants...
Nearly 40 stories tall, the Avenue of the Giants contains the tallest living things on the planet. The California redwood is said to be a prehistoric tree. All trees are descended from the redwood. The coastal climate along the Pacific Ocean protected them from the great ice sheets that covered much of North America during previous ice ages. Although the Redwoods can reach heights of nearly 40 stories tall, their root systems are only 10 feet deep. Instead of growing down, the shallow roots of the Redwood tree grow out, and spread sideways up to 250 feet from the trunk. Even better, sixty percent of the world's tallest trees can be viewed along this 31-mile stretch of pavement.
Sign up today...
Tour: April 19, 2024
Meet: 520 Adobe Rd, Red Bluff, CA
Arrive: 7:00 AM, Safety Brief 7:30, Depart 8:00 AM
Cost: $460 per rider, $119 Passenger
This tour includes numerous narrow single lane paved mountain roads. The ride includes steep grades to 20% and negotiating tight hair-pin corners. All roads on this tour are paved except a 3-mile stretch of gravel on Bald Hills Rd.
EXPERIENCED RIDERS ONLY:
This tour is strongly not recommended for beginner riders, cruisers, three-wheeled motorcycles or Very Large Motorcycles. Riders are expected to have at least five plus consecutive years of enthusiastic experience on their motorcycle riding remote challenging paved mountain backroads along with at least 5000+ miles of concurrent recent experience.
This tour is limited by the amount of rooms at our host lodging. We have booked rooms months in advance and our tours sell out by the end of January. Get on our mailing list to be the first to know about new rides. Tours are planned & announced in the late fall of each year Book early to ensure a spot on this all new tour. Check with us to see if any spots are open. Once the tour sells out, your name will be added to a waiting list to join the tour group in case someone cancels.