#5
BRICELAND THORNE / SHELTER COVE

Humboldt County

Date reviewed - 8/05
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Fun . . . . . . . . 4
Difficulty . . . . .High
Traffic . . . . . . Light to Medium
Driveways . . . .Light
Condition . . . . Poor
Length . . . . . .22 miles
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While my Thomas Guide maps shows several roads in this area as a thick green line (supposedly meaning a well maintained road), it had lied to me before and I figured I would probably be re-tracing my steps out the way I came in. It turned out I was correct in that assumption but as it turned out I was still pretty happy with this little road.

Usal Rd. to the south and Kings Peak Rd. to the north are both dirt, so my nice little Highway 101 alternate didn't really pan out. Usal Rd (which turns in to Chemise Mt. Rd. in Humboldt Cty.) looked very narrow and difficult where it meets Hwy. 1 to the south but Kings Peak Rd. looked like a nicely graded road where it heads north from Shelter Cove Rd. Drivers of WRX's and Evo's might find this an interesting challenge.

For those of us who prefer to stick to paved roads (see Soda Lake in CentralWest & Mina Rd. in NorthWest to see how that has worked for me) Shelter Cove is an in-out road so you are spending about 1-1/2 hours to not really go anywhere. However, there is a quaint little town out where the road ends at the ocean so if your significant other is in the vehicle it could make a nice stop for lunch. There is even a small airport right at the edge of the cliffs that you could fly in to if you own that kind of transportation.

For Briceland Thorne / Shelter Cove Rd. itself the pavement condition varies greatly but is in pretty bad shape overall. It is a 2-lane road with center striping for most of the way except just west of Redway at the 101 end and another short section where the road has washed out, leaving only 1 lane left, at the eastern end that is clearly marked with "Road Narrows" signs. Elevation changes are pretty minimal except for the eastern section (blue) that quickly drops down to the ocean and the town of Shelter Cove with a steep downhill grade and many switchbacks. Watch out for the town of Briceland (marked on map) that is very small but has a 25mph speed limit. In the westbound direction you want to keep to the left at the intersection that gives you the option of going to Ettersburg and go right at the intersection with Briceland Thorne / Shelter Cove.

I wasn't that impressed with this road on the drive out to the coast and was worried that I would find that the roads to the north were dirt and I would have to drive back out to the 101. When I did end up driving back east on the same road I actually enjoyed it quite a bit more. I'm not sure if it had to do with actually driving in the other direction or that I knew what to expect. It isn't on the way to anywhere but this road is worth checking out if you have the time. Be aware however that with the small town at the ocean's edge there is more traffic than on other roads in this area, even RV's and trailers headed out to the campground. I drove it on a weekend in the middle of August, however, and didn't have any problems in either direction.

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Red: Briceland Thorne Rd.
Blue: Shelter Cove Rd.
Green: Ettersburg Honeydew Rd. (condition unknown).
Cyan: Chemise Mountain / Ural Rd. to the south and Kings Peak Rd. to the north.

 
 
The closer you get to the water the more cross strees and driveways there are but the more switchbacks you get. It's hard to believe there is a town out here.