Cycling Port Orford to Gold Beach and onto Brookings
The fourth part of the trip
There are two cycling trips in this section: Port Orford to Gold Beach, then Gold Beach onto Brookings.
This is the most physically challenging portion of cycling the south coast. It is 28 miles (45 km) from Port Orford to Gold Beach, and Route 101 hugs the coast most of the way driving the cyclist up and down several demanding hills. Yet cycling along this portion of the route is rewarding with amazing views, plus bird and whale watching as you bike.
From Port Orford to Gold Beach
Cycling from the Cape Blanco Campground (north of Port Orford) to Gold Beach is 36 miles. There are challenging parts with steep hill climbing south of Port Orford but the scenery is spectacular.
The trip is straightforward with few side trips until near Gold Beach. But be certain to pull over and enjoy the scenery.
Stock up on food or eat in Port Orford. There is nothing to eat until Gold Beach (except perhaps a market at Nasika Beach). There is a visitor’s center in Port Orford with restrooms. One of the finest places to eat is Red Fish which is next to the parking lot. But there is plenty of fish and chips in town.
South of town, the views open up with incredible vistas of the Pacific. Whales are not unusual in the area. Next, swing around Humbug Mountain. The state park is a good place to stop and rest.
Arizona Beach comes next. Enjoy a look at Prehistoric Gardens, a favorite of kids for many decades. The people there do a wonderful job. Then climb the hill towards Sisters Rocks. Enjoy the view and it can be worth a pull over or visit.
A few more minor hills, then a spectacular drop to Ophir Beach. There is a rest stop in the middle. After Ophir, take a short side trip into Nesika Beach. Some of the houses along the ocean would be million dollar homes if they weren’t ready to fall into the ocean. There is a small market in town if you need a break.
Return to US 101 then take a right on Old Coast Road. I insist on a stop at Otter Point. Park and take a short level walk out to the point and just soak it all in.
Finally, continue on The Old Coast Road and into Gold Beach. Download a PDF if this trip.
Gold Beach has perhaps more motels per capita than any town on the coast for all budgets.
There is another camping spot at Mt. Humbug, just south of Port Orford.
Unfortunately, camping towards the end of this trip is sparse in Gold Beach. Many people camp unofficially in the trees just north of town and south of Otter Point and they do not seem to be bothered. For a little more civilization, it might be worthwhile to camp at the Oceanside RV Park as they allow tent camping and have a few yurts. That will leave you closer to restaurants and bars. This RV park is at the north end of town, near the mouth of the Rogue River.
We always recommend the short trip down to the working docks in Port Orford. The ships are raised out of the water between fishing trips and are in full view. Port Orford Heads is a tough climb for a nice viewpoint and museum.
If arriving in Gold Beach early, but unwilling to tackle the next part, take a trip up the Rogue River. This is 30 miles, but mostly flat with views of this famous river. The road is narrow without shoulders, so be vigilant. There is Huntley Park on the south side, but reviews are not always positive.
A great place to have breakfast or lunch is Indian Creek Cafe. There is an associated campground, with some camping, but they are also geared towards RVs.
From Gold Beach to Brookings
Stock up on your supplies because there are no restaurants (sometimes there is one at Whaleshead) until Brookings.
The bike ride from Gold Beach to Brookings is 28 miles (45 km) and starts out with what maybe the most challenging climb on the Oregon Coast, the climb up Cape Sebastian. After hitting the peak, there is a turn to the right up to Cape Sebastian State Park and that presents another short brutal climb (turn left at the split) that is worth it on a clear day for the view. Take the short hike from the south parking lot.
Then, test your brakes flying down Route 101 towards Pistol River for a place so beautiful it is used again and again is advertising for cars. If you are lucky, there will be surfers and wind surfers challenging the waves.
But what goes down must go back up, and after passing the mouth of the river, there are several climbs that will be a test of endurance. There are viewpoints and more viewpoints. Stop, rest and enjoy it because this is what people travel the world to see. Arch Rock (restrooms!) is the first, then Natural Bridge, and it just keeps on going.
Whaleshead is a nice place to stop for a packed lunch (the nearby restaurant may or may not be operating). Then more viewpoints until Brookings comes into view. Download PDF1, PDF2 and PDF3 of this trip.
Cycling from Brookings to Crescent City, the next part of this trip.
There are many motels along US 101 on the north part of town. If looking for a water view, there are at least two down by the port of Harbor, technically south of Brookings, immediately to the right after crossing the Chetco River.
Immediately north of Brookings is Harris Beach which has 60 tent sites and 6 yurts.
Several miles up the Chetco is Alfred A. Loeb State Park which has rustic cabins and sites with electrical service. There are some redwood trees nearby, but the best are coming up in California.
Stop at several of the overlooks on the way. Top priorities are: Cape Sebastian, Pistol River, Arch Rock, Thunder Cove, Natural Bridge, Whaleshead Beach with perhaps House Rock and Cape Ferrelo. A spin up the Chetco River would be nice (at the south end of Brookings, just before the Chetco Bridge) or a trip out to Harbor (just after the bridge, to the right).