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'21 Winter-Road-Biking in San Luis Obispo County

Paso Robles, California

5.0/5
based on 3 reviews

Details

Route Type

Loop

Description

Added by Joel Blatt

Some routes are serene, others loaded with elevation.

Winter-Road-Biking?

San Luis Obispo (a.k.a. SLO, pronounced “slow”) county.  County split north and south.  Paso Robles is ideal hub, offering abundant, low-traffic route options, and challenging climbs.

Scenery?

Picturesque canyon, ocean, morro, and pastoral views with vineyards, trees (oak and cypress) plus lemons, oranges, avocados and olives, deer, horses, cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, as well as darting squirrels. 

Cardinal Directions?

Go west via Peachy Canyon, Adelaida, and 46.  Go north via N. River or south on S. River.  Go east on Union and south on Geneseo or Union then 46 to Estrella exit, which goes north.

Rite of Passage?  

Peachy Canyon, Vineyard Drive, Adelaida, Chimney Rock, Santa Rosa Creek, Old Creek, Prefumo Canyon, See Canyon, Black Mountain and Nacimiento-Fergusson (check open/closed status) are ceremonious.  

Table Stakes?

Worthy climbs on Peachy Canyon and Chimney Rock in Paso, S. El Pomar and York Mountain in Templeton, El Monte, Escondido, Santa Cruz, Balboa, San Gregorio and Alturas in Atascadero, Las Pilitas, Park Hill, and Webster/229 off 58 in Santa Margarita, Hi Mountain in Arroyo Grande, both sides of Vineyard Canyon in San Miguel, Nasty Grade (Nacimiento Lake Dr.) and Interlake Drive in Bradley.  

Routes with Favorites*

Enable contiguous loops or out/backs combining adjacent routes and roads. 

West:

Peachy Canyon* 

Explore combinations with Willow Creek, Vineyard, Adelaida, and Chimney Rock.  If looping around, avoid Nacimiento Lake Drive, given high-traffic/speed.  

Adelaida and Chimney Rock* 

Adelaida is nice gradual climb going west, which connects to Vineyard Drive or ends and splits Chimney Rock.  Chimney Rock to the west is glorious, albeit watch for trucks coming/going to active limestone mine at end of pavement.  Chimney Rock to east is nice, but road surface is choppy.  Chimney Rock offers two challenging (e.g. Madrona Road) climbing segments going west and one going east (firehouse to Justin Winery.)  Cypress Mountain/Klau Mine is paved, but not ideal surface. Avoid Nacimiento Lake Drive's high-traffic/speed, aside from getting to Adelaida from town.

46/Green Valley Road

While highway, relatively safe given wide shoulders. From east, append with York Mountain.  Access Old Creek, and Santa Rosa Creek at mid-point.  From west, 5-mile climb from Cambria was part of SLO Gran Fondo and Tour of California.  Paso to Cayucos via Old Creek (out/back) is great route.

Ragged Point 

Scenic coastline with elephant seals and Hearst Castle. Expect wind going north. More traffic on weekends.

Santa Rosa Creek 

Steep climb going east.  Road (potholes hidden in shade, mudslides) not perfect.  

Old Creek* 

Steep climb going east.  Good road surface, but lacks shoulder in spots.  

North:

San Miguel*

Whether Hog Canyon, Estrella, Cross Canyon or Ranchita Canyon, these roads offer wonderful scenery.  Other side roads, include Wellsona, Airport, Pleasant, and Von Dollen.  For extra miles/elevation, add San Marcos via 10th/Cemetery/101 from San Miguel, then west to Adelaida back to Paso, minimizing Nacimiento traffic.

Hog Canyon* 

Recommend counter-clockwise.  Surface not perfect, but still worth it.  Take left on Von Dollen to shorten.    

Estrella* 

Recommend west direction from 46 to River or north on Hog, Ranchita to Cross Canyons. 

Vineyard Canyon (Parkfield)

North of San Miguel, start on Vineyard Canyon, skipping Indian Valley.  Surface not perfect.  Out/back to Parkfield (known for San Andreas Fault and https://www.v6ranch.com/cafe.)  Challenging profile, with worthy climbing both directions.

Nacimiento-Fergusson Road*

Epic climb from ocean up Santa Lucia Range.  Alternatively, start near Fort Hunter Liggett.  Descent to ocean offers distracting (perhaps dangerous) views.  Has been closed, which equated to road debris and flat.

Lake San Antonio

Known for Wildflower Triathlon, area undulates and offers elevation gain.  Don't miss "Nasty Grade" climb.  Doing out/back offers challenging climb heading east on Interlake Road.  Suggest avoiding Jolon Road, which has no shoulder.  

South:

Templeton* 

East of 101 are some great roads, including El Pomar/Cripple Creek/Geneseo or town of Creston, Neal Spring/S. El Pomar, Templeton/Lupine or S. El Pomar or Rocky Canyon.  West of 101, explore Vineyard, Bethel, and 46.  Santa Rita does offer paved section for 4 miles out/back.  Minimize Creston Road and Linne, given lack of shoulder and traffic/speeds.

Atascadero*

Veritable "Mecca" for climbing, including Casanova, San Marcos, El Monte, Cebada, Escondido, Santa Cruz, Balboa, San Gregorio and Alturas, for example.  

Park Hill and Las Pilitas 

Start in Santa Margarita (or Creston via Webster/229.)  Loop or out/back.  Park Hill climb is off 58 and Las Pilitas climbs head east off W. Pozo.  Pozo can have traffic/speeds.  

Black Mountain* 

Climb is challenging, but offers spectacular views.  Black Mountain Road off Park Hill via Pozo or Las Pilitas.  Seven miles to FAA radar station with gradients hitting 20%+, but undulates for respites.  Near top, may have to “bandit” gate. 

Creston

Town of Creston provides access to O'Donovan/58-Calf Canyon/La Panza loop, as well as out/back via 229-Webster/58-Calf Canyon/Park Hill/Las Pilitas.  Paso to Creston is nice if you use Neal Spring/South El Pomar and El Pomar/Cripple Creek to limit Creston Road, which has limited shoulder and high traffic/speeds.  

Montana de Oro State Park

Park has limited paved options versus MTB and hiking.  However, there are two interesting climbing segments.  One leading up to entrance and other leading towards exit.  Turri Road is option to head towards SLO and Prefumo Canyon; combining with San Bernardo, Little Morro, and Toro Creek(s) is another. 

Morro Bay

Explored three out/backs via Quintana and Main, including San Bernardo Creek, Little Morro Creek, and Toro Creek.  Also, combine with Montana de Oro.

Prefumo Canyon* 

Great views and climb, off Los Osos Valley Road in Laguna Lake area. Pavement turns to hard-pack dirt/gravel (for one mile) and connects See Canyon.  

See Canyon* 

Great climb, off San Luis Bay Drive.  Mellow for 3+ miles, then you cross cattle guard and climb in earnest.  Pavement (total of ~5 miles) becomes hard-pack dirt/gravel (for one mile and flat tire!) which connects to Prefumo Canyon. 

Huasna Road/Valley 

Out/back; pretty scenery.  For extra, go straight past townsite or take right for ~3 miles.  Combine with Lopez Lake/Hi Mountain. 

Lopez Lake/Hi Mountain 

Out/back; Hi Mountain finishes with nice climb.  Combine with Huasna Road/Valley.  Scenery is great.  Highway is fast, but good shoulder and not many cars.

Resources?  

www.slobc.orghttps://pjammcycling.com/http://bestrides.orghttps://vividfmcyclingclub.comhttps://atascaderocycling.com, plus Strava's Segment Explore is helpful.

Training and Strava?  

3,100+ miles and 215,000+ feet of elevation over January, February, and March span.  Consistent monthly averages of 1,000+ miles and 70,000+ feet of elevation.  Strava Activities and Segments (hunted 55+ age group) captured for posterity.  

Weather, traffic, bike shop and gravel?

Weather great; about 3 days of rain in 3 months. Traffic extremely mild outside Paso city limits. K-Man Cyclery in downtown Paso (Jon, manager/partner,) is quite helpful. Gravel riding also plentiful.

Compare?

Santa Barbara County (2020 winter) offered epic climbs and unbeatable scenery, but return to Paso likely in 2022, given outstanding breadth and depth: https://www.theoutbound.com/california/cycling/146752

Contact?

joel_blatt@yahoo.com, https://www.strava.com/athlete...

Safe travels!

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Features

Cycling
Scenic

Reviews

Even better this year with some paved road improvements and less Covid-based business closures.

I used this site to locate bike climbs in the San Luis Obispo area for my climb-related website. I appreciate Joel's effort in locating and sharing these climbs with others - this was MOST helpful and appreciated.

Great activity for the winter months. Will you be a tour guide for you Bellevue friends?

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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