Bike Sonoma to San Diego on California’s El Camino Real — April 10-26, 2021

Discover California in this epic 825-mile bicycle adventure that connects historic Spanish missions along California’s scenic coastline between Sonoma and San Diego, all with an experienced guide and full support-van service.

At the heart of this amazing ride are the twenty-one historic Spanish missions — stretching from Sonoma in the north to San Diego in the south —connected by the centuries-old “El Camino Real.” Gather with your new bike trek friends in Sonoma with either your own standard or electric bicycle, and then bike an average of 55 miles/day in 15 days — through beach parks, urban bike trails, quiet highways, city streets, and historic stage coach roads to San Diego. Included in the package are:

  • Overnight accommodations in 3-star or better hotels as available;
  • All breakfasts and lunches;
  • All dinners — except the second night in San Luis Obispo, where you are left free for gastronomic exploration;
  • Van service for baggage transfer, on-road lunches, emergency bike first-aid, and shuttles;
  • You provide your own e-bike or traditional bicycle – a hard-tail mountain bike, hybrid, or commuter bicycle with off-road tires is recommended;
  • This athletic adventure is aimed at experienced bicyclists in above average condition who are confident in the aggressive daily distances of 37-61 miles;
  • Led by expert guide — pilgrim author Sandy Brown.
Per person, double occupancy*
$5826
  • Reserve with 30% deposit (coming soon)
Single supplement
$1535
  • Reserve with 30% deposit (coming soon)

April 10, 2021 – Gather in Sonoma, California. Transportation to Sonoma is on your own, though we offer an 08:00 transfer from the Martinez Amtrak Station and 12:00 transfer from Oakland Airport on April 10 for your convenience. Arrive early enough to enjoy this walkable and relaxed town, then gather at Mission Solano — youngest of the California missions — for a tour and general orientation. Dine at a nearby restaurant for the inaugural banquet, then overnight at a local hotel (optional 08:00 transfer from Martinez Amtrak Station or 12:00 transfer from Oakland Airport).

April 11, 2021 – 48 miles from Sonoma to Mill Valley (Sausalito). Bike through the low hills and valleys between Sonoma and Sausalito, including optional rest stops in Petaluma and Novato. Stop at the replica mission chapel at San Rafael and continue through Larkspur to Mill Valley/Sausalito.

April 12, 2021 – 59 miles from Mill Valley to Fremont. This ambitious day is spent along bike paths and city streets, crossing San Francisco Bay over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge where you pick up a bike path leading along the world famous San Francisco waterfront. Turn up urban streets through central San Francisco to historic Mission San Francisco de Asís, housed in one of California’s oldest buildings. Continue along Mission Avenue through Redwood City where you pick up bike lanes to cross the Dumbarton Bridge for a well-deserved overnight rest at Fremont.

April 13, 2021 – 54 miles from Fremont to Santa Cruz. Head up the hillside to nearby Mission San Jose and then across Silicon Valley on bike trails to Santa Clara University, home of Mission Santa Clara. Then it’s over the glorious Santa Cruz Mountains to seaside Santa Cruz and its historic mission. Overnight near the famous Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

April 14, 2021 – 37 miles from Santa Cruz to San Juan Bautista. Bike along the Pacific Coast beaches before heading inland toward Watsonville and the vast strawberry and produce farms of the Salinas Valley. Overnight in the village of San Juan Bautista near its historic mission, one of the most beloved of California’s mission settings.

April 15, 2021 – 57 miles from San Juan Bautista to Carmel and Monterey. Head over the Old Stage Road to south Salinas, then cross the former Ford Ord and its successor, the University of California at Monterey Bay, to the Fort Ord Dunes State Park along the ocean. Continue over the hill to Mission Carmel, and its gardens set in one of California’s most exclusive cities. Bike back to Monterey the long way — along beachside 17-Mile Drive and Sunset Way through Pebble Beach Golf Course. Dinner and overnight in Monterey.

April 16, 2021 – 58 miles from Monterey to Greenfield (van to King City). It’s back inland as we head into the Salinas Valley again and experience the vast agriculture fields of one of the largest and most productive farming regions in the U.S. Visit Mission Soledad, then end at Greenfield, where the van shuttles you 12 miles ahead to King City.

April 17, 2021 – 53 miles from King City to Bradley (overnight San Luis Obispo). From King City it’s up country roads through the Oak Valley to remote Mission San Antonio at vast Fort Hunter Liggett. Continue through ranch country to Lockwood and then on to Bradley, where the van shuttles you ahead to your first night at San Luis Obispo.

April 18, 2021 – 53 miles from Bradley to San Luis Obispo. Return by shuttle to Bradley for the scenic ride through rolling countryside to Mission San Miguel, Paso Robles, Santa Margarita and San Luis Obispo. Second night in San Luis Obispo. Dinner is on your own to explore the gastronomic specialities of this trendy, friendly and fun town.

April 19, 2021 – 61 miles from San Luis Obispo to Lompoc. Head down to the vast white sands of Pismo Beach then inland again through Santa Maria and up over Harris Grade to Mission La Purisima, perhaps the best-restored of all the California mission. Overnight at nearby Lompoc with its colorful wall mural art.

April 20, 2021 – 43 miles from Lompoc to El Capitán. Follow the quiet Santa Rosa road to Buellton, then continue to Solvang and Mission Santa Inés before riding up and over Refugio Road to the coast at Refugio and El Capitán beaches.

April 21, 2021 – 47 miles from El Capitán to Ventura. Shuttle down Highway 101 to Goleta, then take bike trails through the scenic campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Bike through the city of Santa Barbara, considered by some to be the most scenic of California cities, then head to the coast toward Carpinteria and your overnight in seaside Ventura. Visit Mission San Buenaventura before your dinner and overnight.

April 22, 2021 – 58 miles from Ventura to San Fernando. Bike through Simi Valley and up and over the Santa Susana Pass into the outskirts of the Los Angeles Area and a visit Mission San Fernando.

April 23, 2021 – 53 miles from San Fernando to Fullerton. On the most suburban day of the trek, ride through Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena before stopping for a tour of Mission San Gabriel. Continue along bike paths through Whittier and La Habra before stopping in delightful Fullerton for your overnight.

April 24, 2021 – 51 miles from Fullerton to Oceanside. Follow city streets and bike lanes through Anaheim and meet the ocean once again, this time at Costa Mesa. Head through seaside towns like Corona Del Mar, Laguna Beach and Dana Point before climbing along the river dyke to Mission San Juan Capistrano. Continue through San Clemente and shuttle 10-miles past Camp Pendleton to your overnight in Oceanside.

April 25, 2021 – 51 miles from Oceanside to San Diego. Begin with a morning ride up to Mission San Luis Rey and then head back down to the oceanfront to bike through the picturesque seaside towns of Carlsbad and Encinitas. Torrey Pines and Mission Bay Park are the final stops along the ocean as you turn inland to the first of California’s 21 missions, Mission San Diego, the final stop on the journey. Tour the mission then head to the hotel for a a farewell dinner with your fellow travelers before your overnight in San Diego.

April 26, 2021 – Depart for home. Breakfast is included on this final day before your depart on your own for home or further adventures. Optional 10:00 transfer to San Diego Airport or San Diego Amtrak Station.

*Applicable conditions: Price is subject to change up to 90-days prior to departure dependent on price fluctuations of accommodations. Price is based eight paying participants and may be adjusted if participants number fewer than eight but more than the group’s minimum size of five. See Terms and Conditions for more information about reservation and cancellation policies.

Published by SandyBrown

Pilgrim trek writer and guide.

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