North Bay: Joy Rd-Duncans Mills-Bay Hill

Friday, June 13, 2014

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This is Day 3 of our North Bay Romp; today’s counter clock-wise loop heads north from Valley Ford for the challenging climb up Joy Rd to Occidental. It descends Bohemian Hwy into Monte Rio for the jaunt along the Russian River on Moscow Rd to Duncans Mills. The route continues west on CA-116 to CA-1 N for a short detour to the River’s Mouth in Jenner. It returns on CA-1 S for the roller coaster ride along the Sonoma Coastline to Bodega Bay. The climb up to the top of the ridge on Bay Hill Rd is followed by rolling climbs on CA-1 S back to Valley Ford.

We begin our ride on CA-1 N from Valley Ford.

The 2.5 miles on Freestone Valley Ford Rd take us gently up and over onto Bodega Ave.

We head west on Bodega Ave; the flat terrain leads us through the valley ranch lands with open green meadows and rolling hills.

Joy Rd runs 4.7 miles from the south end on Bodega Ave to the north end at Coleman Valley Rd. It’s a steep stair step climb through the towering redwoods to the upper ridge near Occidental. 

Joy Rd begins with a 0.7 stretch of flat road leading from the valley into the woods at the orange 15 mph twisty road sign.

The road tilts up dramatically as you make your way up under the canopy of trees. The first climb is 0.5 mile with an average grade of 12.2 % and very steep pitches of 16-20%!

Catch your breath when the road levels out for the next 0.4 mile.

Joy Rd cranks up again for the next 0.6 mile with an average grade of 11% and steep pitches of 14-16%!

The road eases up for the next 1.3 miles through the residential community with gentle grades of 2-4% followed by a short descent to Bittner Rd.

Joy Rd immediately kicks up again for the next mile with an average grade of 4% and steeper pitches of 7-9%.

Joy Rd quickly drops down onto Coleman Valley Rd; Coleman Valley continues along the top of the ridge before descending 2 miles into the town of Occidental.

From Occidental, we continue NW on Bohemian Hwy for the fun winding 5.1 miles descent through the woods; this road runs along Dutch Bill Creek towards Camp Meeker and Monte Rio.

At the Y intersection, we take Main St into the town of Monte Rio. Creekside Park on Main St is a great find; it’s a new skate park-free of charge complete with ramps, ledges, stairs, etc. This is a wonderful water & restroom stop! 

At Monte Rio, we head NW on Moscow Rd, this gorgeous road follows the curvatures of the Russian River under a dense canopy of redwoods through the small riverside community-WOW! 

Moscow Rd leads us out-of-town to the open meadows and campground along the Russian River. The river crossing takes us into the town of Duncans Mills.

Our lunch stop is at the Gold Coast Bakery; they have a sunny outdoor patio with plenty of tables and seating areas.

CA-116 W runs along the Russian River through a small ranching community to the short climb up and over to CA-1.

We continue on CA-1 N to Jenner for a stop at the River’s Mouth Overlook Area-enjoy the spectacular views of the Russian River meeting the Pacific Ocean! 


We reverse our way on CA-1 back through Jenner and to the junction at CA-116.

The river crossing takes us to the climb up to Goat Rock; it’s 0.6 mile with an average grade of 5.5%.

CA-1 S continues on a series of fun rollers for the next 7.8 miles along the spectacular Sonoma Coastline with stunning ocean and beach views!

At Bodega Bay, we make a stop at the Nicholas Green Memorial and The Children’s Bell Tower. This is a quiet place to just sit for a moment to reflect on one’s purpose in life. FYI-It’s very easy to miss this turn; the gravel driveway to the community center is located right in front of the La Bodeguta Mexican Restaurant. 

Up next is Bay Hill Rd; this road goes up to the top of the ridge with magnificent views of Bodega Bay and the surrounding inland valleys. Bay Hill begins with a 1.1 mile climb with an average grade of 8% and steep pitches of 9-10%.

Bay Hill levels out for a short section along the top of the ridge-enjoy the views!

The road gently tilts up for the next 0.3 mile with an average grade of 4.9%.

Bay Hill Rd quickly drops down through the eucalyptus groves onto CA-1.

The rolling climbs on CA-1 S takes us inland towards Valley Ford.

CA-1 S quickly drops us down through the valley into Valley Ford.

This is one of the most scenic routes around Sonoma County which brings to light the highest level of the natural beauty that surrounds us; from the towering redwoods to the sounds of the rushing river to the craggy rocky coastline and its fresh salty ocean air. What a great way to cap off our 3 Day North Bay Romp! This is nature at its best-come and experience it!

Garmin Stats:
46.88 Miles with 3589′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1054′
Max grade: 20%
Terrain: Moderately Hilly with a couple of steep climbs

Weather: Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from 59F to an afternoon high of 95F. Breezy NW winds with 55% humidity

Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile


Follow this route for today’s ride:


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