LOCAL RIDES: Riding the Russian River Valley

Just an hour or so north of densely populated San Francisco, you can revel in the solitude offered by long stretches of surprisingly lonely two-lane highways. Quaint dairies, apple orchards, wineries and even llama farms line the roadways. The northern portion of this loop takes you by the serene Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve, where it is recommended that you take an idyllic hike among these true giants of nature. This ride's highlight is your trip along the serpentine Russian River, rays of sunlight piercing the forest canopy as you roll on by.


Warnings: Dress accordingly as the summertime temperature may change drastically from the coastal areas (cooler with lingering fog) to the inland areas (hotter every few miles you get away from the ocean). If you decide to take a dip in the water along one of the beautiful Sonoma Coast state beaches, watch out for shark fins, rip currents and the chilly Pacific waters.


Start: Petaluma Blvd. @ US-101, Petaluma, CA
West Petaluma Blvd. 1.1
Left D St. > Point Reyes-Petaluma Blvd. 8.0
Right Hicks Valley Rd. 2.7
Left Marshall-Petaluma Rd. 11.0
Right SR-1 / Shoreline Hwy. > Valley Ford Cutoff 31.9
Bear Right SR-116 (road name changes often) 32.8
Right Stony Point Rd 6.3
Right Petaluma Blvd. 4.5
Finish US-101 @ Petaluma Blvd., Petaluma, CA


Suggested Stops: Ride over to where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean at Goat Rock Beach in Jenner. Sea lions, seagulls and harbor seals dot the coarse black sand at this stunning shoreline that was the setting for the first scene of The Goonies. Continue on to Sebastopol for some tart apples (in season) and then stop by California Carnivores, home to a huge display of flesh-eating plants.

It's a MAD World: If you've seen Hitchcock's The Birds, you'll recognize a few places in Bodega Bay. The Potter Schoolhouse was the setting for one of the film's most terrifying scenes. The Tides Restaurant, a local ranch and St. Teresa's Church were also in the movie. Other films shot in the area include Finian's Rainbow and I Know What You Did Last Summer, while Petaluma is where American Graffiti was filmed.

Click Here to See the Ride on the H-D Ride Planner.

This ride route was a great suggestion created with a company called MadMaps. Stop by Oakland Harley-Davidson and pick up a MADMAP today.

motor engine

Need more ideas on where to go riding in the Bay Area? Click here.