The route travels south from Gold Beach using Highway 101 for about 28 miles to arrive at the northern city limits of Brookings. For those who choose to ride today—and would like some additional miles, and more climbing en route back to Gold Beach after lunch—an optional route avoids Highway 101 for most of the trip back to camp.
Everyone who rides will travel south on Highway 101, which contains a multitude of awe-inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean. Your first stop is at a viewpoint at the Pistol River State Park, located almost on the ocean. This area is internationally known for windsurfing—in fact, a professional windsurfing event has been held here for the last six years.
After the first stop, the route enters the Samuel Boardman State Park, a 12-mile forested corridor with a rugged, steep coastline interrupted by small sand beaches. In an article titled “This Secret Slice Of Oregon Coast Is The Most Beautiful Place You’ve Never Heard Of,” The Huffington Post described Samuel Boardman Park as quiet and untouched, and completely other worldly.
The park was named in honor of Samuel H. Boardman, the first Oregon Parks superintendent. Seaside prairies, spectacular vistas, secluded cove beaches, rugged cliffs, and forested sea stacks come one after the other throughout this park. Most notable are 300-year old Sitka Spruce trees, Arch Rock, Natural Bridges viewpoints, and the Thomas Creek Bridge, the highest bridge in Oregon. It spans 371 feet and is 345 feet above Thomas Creek.
Lunch is at Harris Beach State Park in a day-use area just above the beach, offering a great view of the ocean. After lunch, you’ll need to decide on a route back to camp—retrace the morning route using Highway 101, or take the optional route using Carpenterville Road (the original Highway 101).
The optional route, which adds 11 miles to your day, has very light traffic and travels through forested areas most of the way, with some clear vistas to the west. If you choose to ride the option, you will initially climb about four miles to a plateau, but climb for a total of 12 miles before descending for about 10 miles to join the main route on Highway 101. There are many views of the ocean from high on a ridge, but the ocean is about two and a half miles away. The community of Carpenterville no longer exists, but it once held the distinction of being the highest point on the Oregon Coast Highway, before the present Highway 101 was constructed in 1960.
After both routes merge, everyone will use Highway 101 for the last seven miles before arriving back at the overnight camp in Gold Beach.