Destination: 17-Mile Drive
Mileage: 21.05 miles
Trailhead: Various – we parked at Lighthouse Dr and 17th St
Elevation: Sea level to 768 feet
Originally our Coast Road Trip was to include a whale watching boat trip, we had found a sweet deal on Travelzoo for Randy’s Fishing and Whale Watching Trips. Unfortunately, our trip was stormed out, leaving us with three non-refundable tickets. When we got to Randy’s last Sunday we weren’t able to use the extra ticket toward souvenirs. Their suggestion was to come back another time. I live three hours away, just the one trip is sufficient… Enough complaining though, because once we were on the ocean it was great! We had “good looks” of grey and humpback whales as Captain Tommy would say. Wildlife 4-8 spotted a black-footed albatross and a rhinoceros auklet – lifers! We also saw sea lions porpoising – leaping out of the water as they swim. I’m used to seeing sea lions in dog piles at piers or lazing about on the coast so that was awesome.
But there’s no time for lazing about on the coast when road biking 17-Mile Drive was on our schedule! We headed west on Lighthouse Drive and parked in a lot that was free and had no time limit on Sundays. From there we rode down Lighthouse Drive a few more blocks to 17-mile Drive. Since we were on bikes we were able to pedal past the line of cars waiting to pay the $10 entrance fee. Once the route turned to the ocean views were amazing with a nice bike lane. We stopped at Bird Rock, which was a bit of a tourist-zoo; I’d suggest stopping at one of the first turnouts to take in the view. Back on the road the bike route, and unfortunately the bike lane, turned inland just past Seal Rock. We continued on 17-Mile Drive along the coast where the views just got better! Until Pebble Beach that is, then I was too busy watching out for the crazy drivers and seeing spots from the up, up, uphill to enjoy the view. However, once we were past the Highway 1 entrance traffic calmed down again and my Clif Bar had digested so I could conquer the rest of the elevation gain. We ended up riding 21.05 miles. I’d recommend this route to road bikers comfortable with traffic and ready for a hill climb. I would also recommend this route early on a weekday before the tourists flock to the beaches.
After the ride we stopped at a gem of a coffee shop – BookWorks. They steeped my tea in steamed milk – delightful! And Wildlife 4-8 had favorable reviews of their Americano. Plus they have a bookstore! Albeit, the bookstore had closed a half hour before we got there; I would love to go back and explore the bookshelves.