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Dunsmuir to Arcata Camping Tour

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Dunsmuir to Arcata Camping Tour

Old 07-26-11, 06:25 AM
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Dunsmuir to Arcata Camping Tour

I'm doing a bike trip in NoCal this Fall. I've never been to California before, though, so I've only been able to find information through the 'nets.

Below is a map of all the routes and campgrounds that seemed interesting to me. I would love to hear recommendations and advice if anyone's cycled the area before! And I wouldn't mind company on the road, either, so feel free to join! I thought to start Aug 29th from Dunsmuir (or possibly Redding), and then go along at a comfortable pace, doing some day hikes on foot as well.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=https:%...458191&t=h&z=9
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Old 07-26-11, 09:55 AM
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If you are planning to take Amtrak to the start of the this trip, be aware that the Dunsmuir station does not have checked-bag service, which means you would not be able to unload your bike at Dunsmuir. I believe that Redding does have checked-bag service.
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Old 07-26-11, 12:18 PM
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I was afraid of that. Amtrak's site states that Redding doesn't have it, either, which means I'll either have to get lucky and catch a train with racks, or take the Greyhound bus to Redding instead.
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Old 07-26-11, 01:44 PM
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Have you checked the road conditions on Hwy 299? I just rode a tour that was on 299, but the east side of Redding, to just east of Burney. It sucked. Big time. Much of it had zero shoulder, fast traffic, and lots of logging trucks. Had several close calls. I won't ever ride it again unless that changes. My guess is you'll get a lot of that in the area you're considering, but the other highways will probably have light traffic. That area will also be hot this time of year, until you get near the coast. Speaking of the coast, have you considered riding that? It's beautiful, cool, and after labor day the traffic will lighten up considerably.
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Old 07-26-11, 02:30 PM
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That looks like a pretty fun route. I can't speak for anything but the stretch along 101 on the coast. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is amazing, look for elk! Patrick's Point just north of Trinidad is another nice place to camp if you need to. I didn't stay at any of the parks you have listed, so can't help there.

Good luck and make sure to post photos when you're done!
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Old 07-26-11, 02:41 PM
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Just looking at the number of cars/trucks on 299 in the Google Earth image, it doesn't look very busy. Of course, the image might have been taken on a Sunday morning, too.

Looks like a very nice, if somewhat steep and hot, route. You can always cool off in the Trinity river. Look out for Sasquatches- that's prime territory for them.
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Old 07-27-11, 12:03 AM
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Thanks for the tips. The 299 does seem to have a tiny shoulder. I'll try to take the smaller roads, and preferably the northern route. They seem much more scenic anyway.

I was actually fearing it might be too cold so high in the mountains, but then again, I'm not used to these latitudes. So that's another reason to stay at high altitudes. (And I'm bringing a bear canister, that should keep the Sasquatches out, too, right?)

I'm still puzzling out how I'll not die of thirst, as I can't be carrying much more than half a gallon of water. Most of the campgrounds I've listed do not have drinking water. Now, I'm not shy of drinking from pristine forest streams, but I'm not too sure if I can rely on them showing up at the opportune moments. What would any of you do?
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Old 07-27-11, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Cerapter
Thanks for the tips. The 299 does seem to have a tiny shoulder. I'll try to take the smaller roads, and preferably the northern route. They seem much more scenic anyway.

I was actually fearing it might be too cold so high in the mountains, but then again, I'm not used to these latitudes. So that's another reason to stay at high altitudes. (And I'm bringing a bear canister, that should keep the Sasquatches out, too, right?)

I'm still puzzling out how I'll not die of thirst, as I can't be carrying much more than half a gallon of water. Most of the campgrounds I've listed do not have drinking water. Now, I'm not shy of drinking from pristine forest streams, but I'm not too sure if I can rely on them showing up at the opportune moments. What would any of you do?
Even clear running streams that may seem pristine can carry giardia, don't take the chance of picking that up, it WILL ruin your bike tour. I carry a small water filter that is very effective and is light and compact. https://www.rei.com/product/695233/ka...r-water-filter

More on giardia, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001333/

Last edited by Shifty; 07-27-11 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 07-27-11, 10:42 AM
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+1 on the filter and/or purification tablets, etc. There is plenty of water in those areas but purifying it first is a must.

Temperature: Forecast for the rest of this week in Willow Creek, Etna, Dunsmuir, is mid 90's. I've done a bit of rafting and kayaking along Hwy 96 (Klamath River) and that too can get quite hot.

Bear Canister: It will keep the bears out of your food, but it won't stop them from trying to get to it. I wouldn't keep it in the tent with you. The effectiveness on Sasquatch is as yet untested, to my knowledge. There's a hike in this general area (actually the Siskiyou mountains in southern Oregon) that leads to an old Sasquatch trap that's been around for years. It never caught anything other than bears. Its door is bolted open now, so it's more of a curious attraction than anything else.

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Old 07-27-11, 12:31 PM
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Thanks for the warning, but if there's anywhere in the world I'm not afraid of Giardia, it's in the Trinity Alps. With that distance from sewage, agricultural fields and pastures, and the scarcity of campgrounds and muskrats, I'd much sooner expect to be infected by tap water or in a kindergarten. (Or by not washing my hands!) Even if I were infected, real giardiasis wouldn't break out until I was safely back home. I trust REI on this:

https://www.rei.com/expertadvice/arti...archer+QA.html

Of course, though, I wouldn't drink from anything near the road.

And I'll be using a hammock. That's why I was a little worried about the cold. I think I'll put the canister a distance downwind, hopefully it won't be carried off while I'm asleep.
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Old 07-27-11, 10:13 PM
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I am from Siskiyou County (your plan includes Siskiyou County, Shasta County and Humboldt County. I have lived in all of these.) and I have to wonder if you realize how big the area you have mapped is?

One thing to remember in the region you have selected is the distances between places for goods. Others have already mentioned, the rivers in that area are not safe to drink from. I have cycled the area extensively. Keep in mind that the roads are narrow, winding, and fast. You are unlikely to find bicycle parts outside of Redding, Mt. Shasta, and Yreka.

I am not saying not to do it, but you need to be prepared. As you leave Redding going west on 299 you will have about 15 hard miles. The road ids steep, very narrow, winding, and in poor repair. It does get better.

The area also surprises many people because it is so hot. Many think of the area as being in the mountains and as such, cool. It is not. Be prepared for extreme heat. It is cold in the winter; But the summers are generally over 100f and over 110f is not at all uncommon.
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Old 07-28-11, 01:01 AM
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I see. I appreciate your advice. The heat would be a big issue, and I might end up doing an Arcata loop instead because of that.

I do realize it's a long distance between Redding and Arcata, and that's why I've kept in mind a minimal south route in case I decide anything else is too much. I only wish the 299 seemed more friendly.

Yet what I hope to do is a north route where I might come within sight of Mt. Shasta. Now I've also made a Redding loop with the possibility of repairs halfway through, sacrificing the coast altogether.

So unless I decide on the Arcata loop, I can decide my route on the second or third day.
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Old 07-28-11, 11:46 AM
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The Hwy 299 part of your Redding Loop is what I rode a few weeks ago on tour, westbound. I would seriously suggest changing that. It's a long, long climb, much of it with no shoulders whatsoever and enough (fast) traffic with logging trucks to completely ruin the experience. You might instead look into going up to Hwy 89 via Shingletown. I've never ridden that road but it's bound to have less traffic than 299. I'll say it again, 299 sucks, especially in the section you've mapped out east of Redding.
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Old 07-28-11, 08:23 PM
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My experience is a little North of your proposed route but you may find some of it useful now or in the future.

I have toured by heading N. from Dunsmuir several times heading toward Arcata via Yreka [and/or the Scott Valley via Forest Mtn Pass] and hwy 96 along the Klamath River through the Hoopa Reservation to join hwy 299 west to Arcata and then down the coast back home to Santa Barbara. Logging trucks are operating on hwy 96 and 299. The road surface is ok but with limited or no shoulders. A mirror was a useful tool to use.

After Amtrak ended checked baggage at Dunsmuir I opted to start at Klamath Falls. I rode South through Lava Beds NM and then on forestry roads over to Yreka and hwy 96. On other trip I again used Klamath Falls as my starting point and then after Lava Beds and Medicine Lake joined hwy 89 and went S. through Lassen NP, Lake Tahoe and down Hwy 395 to hwy 20 at Lee Vining to Tioga Pass into Yosemite NP and out hwy 41 to 33 then 101 then back to Santa Barbara.

South from Arcata offers one of the best routes in my experience - the Lost Coast from Ferndale to Cape Mendocino, then Petrolia and then Honeydew along the Mattole River Road. At this point you can continue on the Mattole River Road or turn South toward Shelter Cove and then the Sinkyone Wilderness State poark Corridor and end up joining Hwy 1 before it reaches the ocean near Westport. A combination of rough pavement,broken pavemebt and gravel then dirt but all rideable and not crowded. Services are limited but worth the effort.
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Old 07-30-11, 02:07 AM
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Wow, that is a long trip. And it is starting to dawn on me that Shasta-Trinity isn't the most dedicated biking area. I haven't seen one road with a shoulder. If I'd had time for both, I think I would've taken a foot hike from Dunsmuir, and then a bike tour along the Lost Coast.

As it is, after all the recommendations here, I might just choose your coast route down to Santa Rosa. The campgrounds do seem far apart, but as long as there are some thickets along the road, all should be well. This time around, though, it does seem a little cold.
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