Healdsburg: Wine Country Harvest Ride

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

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This scenic loop goes around four of Sonoma County’s 14 famous wine growing regions-Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill, Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley. The undulating roads highlight the fertile hillsides and valleys of this picture-perfect countryside.

We begin the ride from the free public parking lot on Matheson & Vine St in Healdsburg.

Mill St leads us out of town onto Westside Rd to the bridge crossing over Dry Creek. Westside Rd runs 9.3 miles on flat to rolling terrain through the many gorgeous wineries and Chardonnay vineyards situated around the wine growing region of Russian River Valley.

Autumn is the perfect time to experience the glory of riding through the vineyards and inhaling the fresh, cool crisp morning air. The temperatures are mild and the colorful fall hues of yellows, oranges and reds increases the natural beauty of this scenic landscape.

Wohler Bridge takes us across the Russian River to the sprawling vineyards along Eastside Rd.

We continue east into the town of Windsor on Mark Station and Windsor Rd. These back roads leads us pass apple orchards, horse ranches and sheep farms towards the Sonoma County Airport.

Shiloh Rd runs along the southern edge of Windsor from the Windsor Golf Club out to Shiloh Ranch Regional Park.

Faught Rd is a single narrow lane road with spectacular valley views of the vineyards and the surrounding hillsides.

We continue north on Chalk Hill Rd for the next 8.1 miles; the gentle rolling terrain leads us to the short 6-9% climb up the south side to the summit.  

The descent drops us down into the valley pass the horse and cattle ranches followed by another short climb up Chalk Hill to the Historic Chalk Hill Grange.

Chalk Hill is a smaller appellation within Russian River Valley wine region. The hillsides and valley floor are lined with acres and acres of fruitful Pinot Noir and mountain Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards from Verite and Lancaster Wineries.

Chalk Hill Rd leads us out to CA-128 into the next wine region-Alexander Valley. The rolling terrain takes us through more beautiful wineries and vineyards along this valley floor.

We continue on CA-128 W to our lunch stop at the Jimtown Store. Much to our dismay, the store is closed on Tuesdays. Fortunately for us, we did bring something to eat; the standard PBJ sandwich, a bag of mixed nuts and an apple. We were looking forward to having a cold soft drink-oh well, we’ll have to make a stop in Geyserville!

The next flat 8 miles on Pine Flat Rd, Red Winery Rd and CA-128 meanders through the lush and stunning Alexander Valley with its fabulous mountain views and rich Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards. Other varieties include Chardonnay, Zinfandels, Merlots and Sauvignon Blanc.

We reach our soda stop at the Geyserville Market & Deli off CA-128 and continue through the town of Geyserville to Canyon Rd.

The climb up the east side of Canyon Rd is 3/10th of a mile with grades of 6-9%, you’re at the summit when you see the Olive Hill Cemetery. The fast descent drops us down into the next wine region-Dry Creek Valley.

From Yoakim Bridge Rd, we cross over Dry Creek to W Dry Creek Rd. The flat to gentle rolling terrain for the next 8.8 miles takes us through the vibrant Dry Creek Valley rich with red wine varieties; Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.

We exit W Dry Creek Rd to Westside and Mill Rd back to the parking lot in Healdsburg. The funniest finish to this ride is seeing a small Honda Civic completely wrapped in plastic-that person got pranked!

This is one of the most beautiful rides in Northern California-plan a day trip and enjoy the back roads through Sonoma County’s wine country!

Garmin Stats:
53.94 Miles with of 2017′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 507′
Max Grade: 9%
Terrain: Flat to rolling with a couple of low hills

Weather: Fantastic! Sunny and warm with temps ranging from the high 50’s to the mid 80’s. Mild N Winds with 76% humidity

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Surrender to what is, enjoy life!

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Click here to view the interactive route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:

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