The Oregon Coast Bike Route—also known as U.S. Highway 101—is the only game in town to travel south from Bandon. However, you’ll follow a country road along the coastline for the first few miles out of Bandon before turning onto the coastal state highway. Traffic will be much lighter than on the central or northern Oregon coast, but it still can be moderate. Remember to stay single file on the available shoulder when being passed by cars, trucks, and RVs.
Most of the coast highway until Port Orford (27 miles south of the start in Bandon) is inland without ocean views. The scenery along this stretch of the route consists of wind-swept coastal forest and acres of cranberry bogs. Oregon produces about 7% of the cranberries grown in the U.S., in approximately 27,000 acres of bogs between Bandon—Oregon’s cranberry capitol—in southern Coos County and northern Curry County.
For a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, an optional out-and-back loop to Cape Blanco is available. This 10-mile option ends at the western-most point in Oregon, and the headland extends farther west than any point of land in the contiguous U.S. except Cape Alava, in Washington. The Oregon State Park at the end of the road consists of a campground, the historic Hughes House, and the Cape Blanco Lighthouse, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (tours are $2). We expect beautiful sunny weather, but even if the wind is not blowing on Highway 101, expect gusty winds at Cape Blanco.
If you decide to skip the ride to Cape Blanco, you’ll still have a spectacular ocean view when arriving in Port Orford, the oldest town on the Oregon coast and the most westerly community in the lower 48 states. The route follows the large “Ocean View” hand-painted sign on the city street to a view of ocean stacks south of town and the port of Port Orford. This port has the only “dolly dock” on the west coast, where vessels are launched and retrieved using cranes, and housed on homemade dollies. When leaving town, another outstanding view of the ocean is at the Battle Rock Wayfinding Point Park.
After leaving Port Orford, six miles of riding on Highway 101 leads to lunch at Humbug Mountain State Park. This campground is located on the east side of Humbug Mountain, which protects the park from potentially cool and windy weather on the ocean beach. Traveling south from lunch offers both ocean vistas and protected areas slightly inland. Ten miles after lunch, the route turns onto a county road through forested and agricultural fields for the last 12 miles before arriving in Gold Beach. After crossing the Rogue River, we travel through town to arrive at the overnight site at Gold Beach High School. Gold Beach purportedly has more sunny days than any other town on the Oregon coast, so skies should be clear!