Hitch-hiking Highway 101 (1 Viewer)

Stiv Rhodes

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I will be adding to/editing this travel guide with any useful comments that come in. The US 101 through northern California is probably the most popular hitch-hiking route in the country. I've hitched up and down it a lot and can usually cover this 350 mile stretch in 2 days. California law does not allow pedestrians to walk the freeway like in some states, so in places where the route is freeway as opposed to highway, hitch-hiking is limited to the on-ramps, and only certain ramps are viable sources of rides. When you're on highway, you can hitch wherever there is a shoulder thereby catching all the through traffic. The cities that the route passes through are cool enough that this still works great, but it is useful to know which ramps to be at and which towns not to get dropped off in, to avoid getting stuck in a dead zone and having to pay for a county bus or waiting like a day for a 5 mile ride to another dead zone.

For those who don't know, the difference between a freeway and a highway is that a highway can have intersections, stop signs/stop lights, addresses, and is intended to be open to all types of travel (pedestrian, bicycle) although they are designed with cars primarily in mind. Freeways are for cars. They have no cross traffic or stops, are only accessible by ramps and usually have higher speed limits. Interstates are always freeways. State routes are usually highways. Federal routes usually alternate between freeways and highways. Here's a rundown from north to south of all the best on-ramps, dead zones, and stretches of highway, so if your ride is going to a dead zone, you can have them drop you off at the last good spot they pass by.

Crescent City-If headed north with the intention of getting on the I-5 through Oregon at some point, stand before where Redwood Highway splits between the 101 and the 199 and the speed limit picks up and the shoulder disappears. Do not use a sign to specify which route you are hitching. Take whatever route the ride who stops is taking. It will probably be the 101, but both will work. If you take the 101 up through the Oregon coast, cross over to the 1-5 from Florence to Eugene.

Going south the 101 stays highway all the way down to just before Patrick's Point, which I believe is a dead zone so if your ride isn't going to Trinidad, hop out at Big Lagoon. From Trinidad, hitch out on the main st. ramp. If you get brought to Clam Beach going south, it is sometimes possible to hitch-hike by mouth a ride to Arcata from the folks that have bonfire parties at night or the campers in the morning. Its also a good spot to camp. If you don't get a ride in the morning tho, the odds of catching a ride before evening are slim. Don't take a ride to Clam Beach going north.

I've never hitched out of Fisher/McKinnleyville so if anyone knows the best ramp for that area, it would help. From Arcata you can hitch north Samoa Blvd. but you miss half the traffic that's going your way. Going south you can hitch the 14th st. ramp but it's probably better to take the $3 bus to Eureka. In Eureka the 101 becomes a main road through town and picks up as highway both sides so it's easy to hitch out.

I've never been dropped off anywhere between Eureka and Fortuna and I've never hitched out of Fortuna but I'm told Fortuna is hard to hitch out of. If anybody has input on that area it would be helpfull. If you get brought to the Hwy 36/Alton junction, hop out early northbound, or walk a little southbound and the 101 is highway through Scotia to just north of Stafford.

You can hitch out of Weott. I don't know how Myers Flat, Miranda or Phillipsville are. Garberville is good. I've never tried Benbow but 5 miles south toward Richardson Grove it becomes highway so it might be worth it to walk if you're going south, and you should definitely hop out early if a northbound ride is going to Benbow.
From Richardson Grove, it stays highway all the way through Willits. I've never hitched from Calpella or The Forks. In Ukiah The ramp to hitch from is Talmage Rd, it's ok but not that great of a spot. If you're going north it might be worth it to take the bus to Willits to catch the highway. If you're going south route becomes highway at Hopland, and you can catch a bus there too.

Do not get dropped off in Preston or Cloverdale. Geyserville is good. I dont know about Lytton. In Healdsberg hitch north at Westside rd or south at Healdsberg ave. Do not get dropped off between Healdsberg and Santa Rosa. From Santa Rosa, the ramp to use is College ave. I lived in Santa Rosa and always saw travelers trying to hitch from the downtown ramp. It doesn't work

Rohnert Park can work but it's not great. Don't try Cotati. From Petaluma the ramp you want is E Washington/McDowell. In Novato the ramp is De Long, but it's not great. There's a bus that goes from San Francisco to Santa Rosa, and honestly if you're anywhere in between these cities besides Petaluma, you should take it. Hitching north from the downtown San Rafael ramp works. You can hitch south from the downtown ramp but cops run you off the ramp 'cause there's no shoulder, and headed south, half the traffic is going toward the East bay, and there's nowhere you can hitch from between San Rafael and SF accept across from the Shoreline Highway bus pad in Manzanita.

In San Francisco you can hitch north at Lombard St. or south at the Junipero Serra hwy 1 ramp. If you're headed south it's best to take hwy 1 trough Santa Cruz, as opposed to going through San Jose, unless you catch a ride straight to San Jose. Make sure your ride out of SF is going at least as far as Fairway Park. From there, it's all highway to Santa Cruz. You might also consider taking the bus from the Daily City or Colma Bart station to Pacifica.
 
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Rhubarb Dwyer

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out of Fortuna

Fortuna sucks to hitch out of. I got dropped near here by CHP. Tried each on-ramp with no luck. Lots of sketchy fuckers living all over the freeway here, too. Ended up posting camp and trying again in the morning.
The last exit(lots of hotels, motels, etc.) was where I finally got a short ride to Scotia, but it took over 3 hrs.

Scotia seemed to be a rough place to catch a ride, but I only waited 30 mins for a straight shot to the Bay Area.

I've had great fortune hitching south out of SF on the Great Highway. Long, wide shoulders, frequent red lights from crossing pedestrians, and the ride down to the PCH avoids all the traffic clusters between SF and Daly City.
 
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Kim Chee

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Added "Highway" in title.

Awesome thread btw!
 

Stiv Rhodes

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I've had great fortune hitching south out of SF on the Great Highway. Long, wide shoulders, frequent red lights from crossing pedestrians, and the ride down to the PCH avoids all the traffic clusters between SF and Daly City.

When I tried to hitch south from Great Highway, people stopped but were all just going to the Daily City area, which can't be hitched out of. Coming south out of SF, it's hard to catch a ride that's going where you are because of the tangle of freeways and suburban sprawl in that area.
 

Rhubarb Dwyer

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carolinesucks

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Fortuna sucks to hitch out of. I got dropped near here by CHP. Tried each on-ramp with no luck. Lots of sketchy fuckers living all over the freeway here, too. Ended up posting camp and trying again in the morning.
The last exit(lots of hotels, motels, etc.) was where I finally got a short ride to Scotia, but it took over 3 hrs.

Scotia seemed to be a rough place to catch a ride, but I only waited 30 mins for a straight shot to the Bay Area.

I've had great fortune hitching south out of SF on the Great Highway. Long, wide shoulders, frequent red lights from crossing pedestrians, and the ride down to the PCH avoids all the traffic clusters between SF and Daly City.
This is exactly what happened to me.
 

rooster831

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If you're headed south it's best to take hwy 1 trough Santa Cruz, as opposed to going through San Jose, unless you catch a ride straight to San Jose. Make sure your ride out of SF is going at least as far as Fairway Park. From there, it's all highway to Santa Cruz. You might also consider taking the bus from the Daily City or Colma Bart station to Pacifica.

santa cruz is a great stop going south, especially if you like acid and the greatful dead

san jose is great for spange, i've heard, but don't know from experience. only there long enough to catch the hwy 17 express to SC

from santa cruz u can take a bus to solinas which ain't bad for camping or hitchin, just stay outa china town (unless u like junkies and dope, it's no good)

king city on the 101 is great spange, and i'd stay till ya got a stack cause coming up is one of the shittiest places to get out of: San Louis Obispo

before u get to slo, or even try, HAVE BUS FARE to get out cause that place is a shithole; no spanging, no public smoking, no fun, no smiling while homeless

as soon as u get to the next town from there it's pretty simple from there till ya hit smelLA
 

Stiv Rhodes

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I just realized, if you get dropped off in Fortuna, you can walk south on the freeway just a bit, and get to a patch of highway that goes through Scotia to just north of Stafford. The "Edit" button on this post seems to have disappeared. I don't know if that has anything to do with the "Resource" tag being added.
 

CarliiBT

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fuck santa cruz. the cops are crackin down hard core. Spange sucks, mostly just a bunch of tweekers...yeah fuc santa cruz
 

maddeningcrowds

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fuck santa cruz. the cops are crackin down hard core. Spange sucks, mostly just a bunch of tweekers...yeah fuc santa cruz
I was just there today, walking from the Five Guys to the CVS which is like 5 min, I saw like 4 cops on foot lol. None of them had any big smiles on their faces either.
 

briancray

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Fuck Crescent City. Place sucked to hitch out of and there is an endless supply of tweakers. Nice guide though. That was actually where I ended up hitching a ride last year when I was hitching up through Cali.
 

Coywolf

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Going North outta San Fran you can take the bus all the way to Cloverdale. Which is extremely easy to hitch out of. Done it a few times. I'm not sure why you have had bad experiences there. Same thing going south. You can take the bus from Cloverdale all the way to San fran. Use the ramp coming off of the street with McDonald's to go either way.

I agree with the "fuck Santa Cruz" sentiment. Cops hate you, it's impossible to park in town overnight without a parking sticker, and the people suuuuuuuuck.

Also, I agree with "Fuck Crescent City" sentiment. I found some dude who had nothing and was going south to LA. Let him stay in the beach shelter I built to get out of the rain for the night. Middle of the night get gets up in a rage and say he's going to tell the cops he's crazy to be able to stay indoors for a night, and leaves. The next morning I leave for like 3o minutes, and come back to bike tracks leading straight up to my shelter (which was out of the way and hidden) with half of my shit gone. Guitar, stove, knife. At least they left my pack and sleeping bag. Fuck Tweekers.
 

Coywolf

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And as far as getting from the Oregon 101 to the I5, Newport is a great town, if you go a little farther up from florence. And it's easy to get rides on the 20 to Corvalis. DO NOT take rides to Toledo.

Hitching any farther north from there is just town to town traffic. It will take you a while to get to Tillamook/Portland, or astoria. Use a sign to hitch here, it will help people to know where you are going. The highway from Tillamook to Portland is awesome. Stop at the creek outside of town and go cliff jumping. There is also a buss from Tillamook to Portland.
 

paterdot

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I made bank in Willis and pacifica. Had an easy time getting rides, San Francisco was rough and had a hard time getting out. San Rafael has an awesome breakfast and lunch on the daily. And if you catch the foursquare church in the am (forgot what day) between arcata and eureka , they might hook you up with a fat breakfast. And eureka had a badass food bank! That's just on my end. Loved camping on the Samoa beach, but be weary of the red creepy crawlers .
 

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