Bicycling California's Sonoma Wine Coast (TourzPlus™)
Spectacular scenery, fabulous cycling, world-famous wine and luxurious lodging highlight this phenomenal tour through the best of Sonoma County. Bicycle along quiet roads through lush vineyards, immersing yourself in the hidden delights of the Wine Country. Follow the Russian River as it winds through stands of ancient redwoods before reaching the sea. Feel the salt air on your face while spinning down the stunning coastline. This is California at its best.
Learn more about our TourzPlus™ partner tours
and how they differ from regular ExperiencePlus! bicycle tours.
Tour Dates & Prices
Sep 22-27, 2019
* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
- Length / 6 Days
- Total Distance / 138 - 255 miles
- Avg. Distance / 30 - 40 miles per riding day
- Tour Level / 2.0
- Countries / USA
- Begin/End / Healdsburg / Occidental, CA
- Price / From USD$2995
Daily Ride Summary
Tour Level Note: Includes gently rolling and level terrain mixed with longer hills, occasionally a mile or more in length. Longer and shorter options available
**We use Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) to calculate elevation and mileage information. Due to variance between mapping technologies, totals may differ slightly across devices and applications
DAY 1: Meet in Santa Rosa
Highlights: Bike fitting, welcome dinner
Your tour leaders will meet you this afternoon at the airport in Santa Rosa. Your initial ride begins high above the Dry Creek Valley, famous for a diverse selection of wines ranging from Zinfandel to Mediterranean and Bordeaux varietals. Visit a number of renowned wineries and enjoy a tour and tasting before arriving at the inn which was recently named to the top ten of Travel & Leisure's Top 100. Dinner this evening will be in the inn's highly acclaimed dining room.
- Distance: 35km (22mi)
- Meals: Dinner
DAY 2: Chalk Hill & the Alexander Valley
Highlights: Ride options, wine tastings, fabulous food
Your ride today will quickly have you gliding through the quiet farmland of the tiny Chalk Hill sub-appellation. Olive orchards as well as vegetable and flowers gardens share the land with vineyards in this diverse agricultural region. Strong cyclists might choose the stunning option that winds high into the hills. We'll enjoy lunch and a wine tasting on the estate grounds of one of our favorite wineries. After lunch we'll have a private tour of the winery's vineyards and caves. A respected family winery hosts a delicious private dinner and tasting for us this evening.
- Distance: 85km (53mi)
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 3: The Russian River Valley & the Pacific Coast
Highlights: A picture perfect ride
Leave the Mediterranean climate behind and bicycle west through the lush Russian River Valley to the sea. Hillsides of vineyards give way to stands of towering redwood trees before reaching the coast. Observe a resident colony of harbor seals then take a walk high above the surf before spinning south along the dramatic coastline to Bodega Bay. The final 10-miles of the ride offers continuous views of the ocean. Tonight dine overlooking the bay in the inn's private dining room. Lunch is on your own.
- Distance: 77km (48mi)
- Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 4: Bodega Bay Coastal Wander
Highlights: Today you decide, a pro cycling race route, kayaking, horseback ride
As J.R.R. Tolkein wrote, "all those who wander are not lost". Enjoy a leisurely morning to pursue your own interests. Kayak in the bay, walk the beach, bird watch, ride a horse on the beach, or enjoy the inn's spa and pool. Strong cyclists can tackle a route used during California's pro cycling race. Meet the group for lunch and a short bike ride, and then spend a couple of hours walking along a spectacular coastal trail high above the surf. Spot seals and sea lions in the waters below, and in springtime look for grey whales during their annual migration. Dinner this evening is on your own.
- Distance: 56km (35mi)
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 5: The Sonoma Coast Region
Highlights: Rolling farmland, eucalyptus forest
The scenery changes yet again as you ride south through rolling farmland on very lightly traveled routes. Pause to watch dogs herding huge flocks of sheep over grassy fields. Ride through groves of fragrant eucalyptus. This quiet corner of the county is a fabulous area for cycling through peaceful countryside. Tonight toast the week's adventures during a wine and cheese gathering before joining your new friends for dinner at a wonderful local restaurant.
- Distance: 108km (67mi)
- Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 6: The Land of Pinot Noir
Highlights: Russian River Valley, private tasting
The Russian River Valley is the heart of one the finest Pinot Noir regions in the world. Visit a selection of wonderful wineries including one with lovely gardens which hosts our farewell picnic and private tasting. You will be transported back to the airport in Santa Rosa during the later afternoon.
- Distance: 48km (30mi)
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Mostly Flat Terrain
Mostly flat terrain has just a few rolling hills that rarely require you to change gears. It might contain a bit of climbing, but those climbs will be short and at a very gentle slope with little need for increased pedaling or downhill breaking.
Rolling hills refers to multiple gentle slopes (3-4% grade) with minimal need for changing gears or increasing in pedal power. Elevation gain should be less than 100m per hill and braking may not be necessary to control speed on downhills.
Hilly terrain has repeated hills and some of them may be require more pedal power as it has steeper inclines (up to 5%). You will change gears throughout the day and braking may be necessary to control speed on descents.
Very hilly terrain includes multiple hills on your ride, some of which can be steep or long climbs. You will change gears and need to use your brakes to control speed on your descent.
Mountainous terrain includes one or more sustained (more than 5km) climbs with frequent steep grades (over 7%). Mountainous rides may also feature multiple steep grades (greater than 6%) for extended periods of more than 5km. You will need to shift gears and brake on descents to control your speed.
Level 1 - 1.5 Rating
Based on today's distance and elevation gain (or lack thereof), it will be a very comfortable ride for beginner cyclists, those traveling by bicycle for the first time, or multi-generational groups with a desire for a nice and easy bike tour with plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery.
Level 2 - 2.5 Rating
Based on today's distance and elevation gain, this day is ideal for riders newer to bicycle touring looking for a bit of a challenge, or for individuals who desire shorter days on the bike. You will likely be riding on rolling terrain.
Level 3 - 3.5 Rating
Based on today's distance and elevation gain, we suggest riders spend some time in the bicycle saddle before joining this tour so they you can enjoy the views at the top of some of the climbs you'll face.
Level 4 - 4.5 Rating
Based on today's distance and elevation gain, this day is best described as a great day on the bike for passionate cyclists or very active individuals.
Level 5 Rating
This day is not for a casual cyclist but for riders looking to push their limits. Suffice it to say your delicious meal at the end of the day will be well earned!
These are the definitions...
Level 1 - 1.5
- Average Daily Mileage: 15-30km (10-20 miles)
- Gain: 0-400m (0-1200ft)
- Terrain: Mostly flat with occasional gentle climbs at a grade of less than 3%, that are sustained for a maximum of 3km. There might be a steeper but short climb.
Level 1 tours will be mostly flat and daily distances will rarely exceed 30 km. Level 1 tours are suitable for beginner cyclists, those traveling by bicycle for the first time, or multi-generational groups with a desire for a nice and easy bike tour with plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the scenery.
Level 2 - 2.5
- Average Daily Mileage: 30-50km (20-30 miles)
- Gain: 400-600m (1200-2000ft)
- Terrain: Mostly rolling terrain around 3%. Presents multiple 3% to 4% climbs. May present an occasional steeper climb.
Level 2 tours are a great option for those new to bicycle touring looking for a bit of a challenge, or for individuals who desire shorter days on the bike. The average mileage on level 2 bike tours is 30-50 km on mostly rolling terrain. There will be multiple climbs at 3-4% grade throughout the tour, but only an occasional steep climb.
Level 3 - 3.5
- Average Daily Mileage: 50-70km (30-45 miles)
- Gain: 600-900m (2000-2800ft)
- Terrain: Multiple Climbs with grades of 4 - 6%. li>
Level 3 tours are for active individuals (who run, bike, swim etc. on a regular basis) with the desire to cover longer daily distances on the bicycle. These tours are a great workout when you’re riding as you will average 50-70 km daily with total gain of 2,000-2,800 ft. There will be multiple 4-6% climbs throughout the tour.
Level 4 - 4.5
- Average Daily Mileage: 70-90km (45-55 miles)
- Gain: 900-1000m (2800-3600ft)
- Terrain: Presents multiple steep climbs (6% to 8% grades), 1 to 3km long. Alternatively, 4 – 6% grades for 6 kilometers or more. li>
Level 4 tours are for passionate cyclists or very active individuals. This level tour is great for cyclists looking to stay in shape and pedal hard they travel across regions or countries. Level 4 tours cover 70-90km daily with 2,800-3,600 ft of gain. Cyclists on a level 4 bicycle tour can expect multiple climbs, some climbs might be short and steep (6-8% for 1-3 km) while others may be sustained (6+ Km) at a 4-6% grade.