Map of Cycle Sonoma & the Napa Valley including United States Of America

Hear it on the grapevine – cycling is the best way to explore California’s wine country

Combine wine, rugged coastline and the best Northern California has to offer as you cycle from stunning wine country to epic redwood forests and on to the rugged Pacific Ocean coast. With great weather, breathtaking scenery and over 500 vineyards, the valleys of Napa and Sonoma are a cyclist's paradise. Off the bike, you’ll find wine tastings, amazing cuisine and a wealth of history to experience, and this cycling adventure takes in the best of it at a pace set to enjoy rather than race, making it a trip for every rider. If you're looking for an unforgettable vacation for all five of your senses, look no further.


Start
San Francisco, United States
Finish
San Francisco, United States
Destination
United States
Style
Original
Theme
Cycling
Code
SSXS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 13

Why you'll love this trip

  • Make your way through California’s most famous wine county the relaxed way – with plenty of breaks for tastings along the way.

  • Be (literally) dwarfed by nature in Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve, pedal through quaint Californian towns, past rolling fields and explore the petrified forest. With a leader that knows the area inside-out by your side, all you have to do is enjoy the journey.

  • Swap wine country for dramatic ocean views as you cycle alongside the Russian River all the way to the seal colonies of seaside Jenner.

  • The only thing better than the landscapes you’ll see and wine you’ll taste is the conversations you’ll have along the way, whether it’s the insights from your leader or stories from the group.

  • Taste local produce at its finest – from legendary wines to the freshest California cuisine – with a local leader’s expert insight to guide you to the best spots.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Please ensure you consult your local government’s advice regarding domestic travel prior to booking this trip.

  • While the cycling distances on this trip are relatively short the stunning terrain of northern California is naturally hilly so you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy the trip – but remember, we will always have the support vehicle on hand if you need to take a break for an hour or a day.

  • As our riding is done mostly on sealed roads with the occasional gravel cycle path there are no technical cycling skills required – but given the occasional hills involved, we do suggest practicing riding downhill so you are comfortable with this once the trip begins.

  • If you feel like doing all the riding but with less effort, you have the option of hiring an electric bike (e-bike) on this trip.

Itinerary

Welcome to your California cycling adventure. Leave San Francisco and head north across the world-renowned Golden Gate Bridge for the one-hour journey to the heart of the renowned Napa Valley winemaking region and the outskirts of Napa itself. Here you’ll be fitted to your bike and, after a short safety talk, start your first ride in Californian Wine Country, enjoying a gorgeous route through the pastoral beauty of the farms and vineyards. First stop of the day is the Artesa Vineyards & Winery in the foothills of Mt. Veeder – an iconic winery that blends perfectly into its environment – then continue riding this rolling vineyard-filled route towards the historic town of Sonoma, passing many stunning wineries along the way. Finish up your ride in Sonoma and drop into the tree-lined town plaza, visiting the historic Mission San Francisco Solano and the Sonoma Barracks. This is where the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt took place in a bid to separate California from Mexico. Refuel from your first ride tonight by choosing from the range of top-quality restaurants that line the square.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sonoma Wine Country guided & vehicle supported cycling
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Today’s riding distance is approximately 37kms/23 miles, undulating for the first 16kms /10 miles, then relatively flat, with approximately 310m/1025ft of elevation gain.

It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be checking insurance and emergency contact details at this time. If you are going to be late, please let an Intrepid representative or your travel agent know. The meeting spot is at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown Soma at 9 am.
After breakfast, saddle up and leave sleepy Sonoma behind, ride out through the rolling green hills and countless vineyards, passing the Jack London State Historic Village and Park as you begin the long but manageable tree-lined climb. Once the climbing is done it’s an enjoyable freewheeling descent all the way down into the Bennett Valley and the historic city of Santa Rosa, your home for the next two nights. While the largest city in California's Wine Country Santa Rosa still retains a small town vibe. Sadly the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed the entire downtown but rebuilt centre is still a great place to spend the evening exploring the many excellent bars, cafes and restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sonoma to Santa Rosa guided & vehicle supported cycling
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s riding distance along 100% paved roads is approximately 45 kms/28 miles, slightly uphill then a long climb at around 21 kms/13 miles, before descending the last 13kms/8 miles. Approximately 520m/1720ft of elevation gain.
After breakfast, you’ll avoid a long climb up the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains by transferring by vehicle (approximately 30 minutes) into the Napa Valley proper and the small town of Calistoga, home to world-famous geothermal hot spring pools and some of the finest Napa wineries including the Chateau Montelena which has its place in wine history with its 1976 win of the Judgement of Paris that put California on the world stage for wine quality. From here ride back into Sonoma County via the Franz Valley and over Chalk Hill to return to Santa Rosa for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Napa Valley guided & vehicle supported cycling
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s riding distance is approximately 60 kms/37 miles, starts with an uphill then sharp descent, then undulating lightly downhill, with approximately 560m/ 1835ft of elevation gain. Please note due to ride timings it is not possible to visit the Chateau Montelena or the nearby Petrified Forest.
Today leave Santa Rosa and pedal west along the picturesque and traffic-free Santa Rosa Creek Trail, a raised path with great views of the waterway, farms, vineyards, and mountains, then continue along mostly flat and quiet roads to the town of Sebastopol, once a prime apple-growing region now turned over into vineyards. Here, lining Florence Ave, you’ll be treated to the whimsical and slightly surreal sculptures made from scrap metal by a local artist couple. Then continue north on undulating roads to the Russian River Valley, one of the cooler wine-growing regions in northern California, specializing in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – you’re free to stop to taste along the way to Healdsburg. Tonight is free for you to explore the town of Healdsburg, and your leader will have a number of suggestions for you in a town that’s as much about food as wine.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Rosa to Healdsburg guided & vehicle supported cycling
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s riding distance is approximately 48kms/30 miles, mostly flat for the first 16 kms/10 miles, undulating for next 16kms/10 miles, then mostly flat again, with approximately 295m/970ft of elevation gain.
Today is a true cycling highlight as you ride into the heart of Californian redwoods country at the Armstrong Redwoods State Park. It’s impossible not to marvel at the 1,400-year-old trees that tower over 300 feet high, so take some time to appreciate the majesty of nature. Then leave wine country behind and follow the Russian River through light forest all the way to the small coastal town of Jenner, where the river meets the Pacific Ocean. You’ll be able to take in the sight of harbor seals beached on the riverbank with the ocean waves crashing behind them. From here drive (approximately 1 hour) back to Healdsburg. This afternoon you’ll have some free time to simply relax. Or maybe consider enjoying the many tasting rooms in town or treating yourself to a massage at a nearby spa.
Accommodation
  • Hotel/Motel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Armstrong Redwoods State Park
  • Russian River guided & vehicle supported cycling
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s riding distance is approximately 58kms/36 miles, undulating with approx. 430m/1420ft of elevation gain. Our cycling guide may give you the option to do this route ‘in reverse’ depending on the prevailing winds on the day.
The final ride of the week will include some truly classic wine country cycling as you spend the morning making your way from the Lake Sonoma Overlook (an amazing 360-degree hilltop view the across Lake Sonoma Bridge and the Russian River) downhill then along quiet back roads dotted with welcoming vineyards. At the end of the ride head back to the hotel, where you’ll have a chance to return to your room to freshen up and pack before departing Healdsburg. Take the drive back toward San Francisco, taking the leisurely route through the famed Napa Valley, visiting St Helena for lunch (and one last tasting) before arriving back at Fisherman’s Wharf around 3 pm.
Included Activities
  • Napa Winery visit
  • Lake Sonoma to Healdsburg guided & vehicle supported cycling
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s riding distance is approximately 27kms/17miles, initially downhill then mostly flat, with approximately 130m/430 ft of elevation gain. The group will return to San Francisco via Sonoma, passing through Sonoma around 2 pm.

Meals

5 breakfasts

Transport

Bicycle (e-bike option available, subject to availability), Support Vehicle

Accommodation

Simple Hotel/Motel (5 nights)

Included activities

  • Sonoma Wine Country guided & vehicle supported cycling
  • Sonoma to Santa Rosa guided & vehicle supported cycling
  • Napa Valley guided & vehicle supported cycling
  • Santa Rosa to Healdsburg guided & vehicle supported cycling
  • Armstrong Redwoods State Park
  • Russian River guided & vehicle supported cycling
  • Napa Winery visit
  • Lake Sonoma to Healdsburg guided & vehicle supported cycling

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Cycle Sonoma & the Napa Valley trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Read details here.

To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.

1. This trip starts with a welcome meeting at 9am on Day 1 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown Soma.
2. This trip finishes upon arrival in Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown Soma on Day 6 around 3pm.
3. Paid parking is available at the hotel or the nearby El Cerrito Park & Ride - see the Transport Section of the Essential Trip Information for more details.
4. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. 
5. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so we can organise a suitable sized bike.
6. The included bikes on this trip are a flat bar 'hybrid-style'. You have the option (at extra cost) of hiring an electric bike (e-bike) or a road bike on this trip - this must be requested at the time of booking.
7. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home.
8. For groups of less than 6 clients we have a single leader that drives the support vehicle alongside the group. For larger groups, we have a separate driver and the leader will cycle all routes. Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a backmarker.
9. Accommodation is not included on day 6 of this trip. If you require additional accommodation (or want to reserve your room for the main part of the day) please enquire at time of booking.
10. Due to Covid-19 restrictions some of the local attractions may be temporarily closed, running reduced hours, or require booking ahead. Please check their websites for up-to-date opening hours.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

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