Peachy Canyon Road

Distance: 21 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 1680 ft

A Best of the Best descent

This, the most aptly named ride in our list, is the peachiest climb in the Paso Robles (pronounced “PASS-o ROH-bulls,” called just “Paso” by locals) area, a region of good riding among hilly vineyards.  It’s a lot like the Robinson Canyon ride—a perfect little two hours of climbing and descending.

Peachy Canyon Rd. has no extraordinary features, and there isn’t a “Wow” moment in the scenery (Robinson Canyon’s landscape is much more striking)—it’s just very nice, conventional riparian oak woodlands, nothing you haven’t seen before.  It’s the road contour that makes the ride special, 21 miles of sweetly varied, always-interesting, not-too-hard up and down and back and forth on a perfect road surface.  It’s so flawless it feels like a Virtual Reality ride.



(To see an interactive version of the map/elevation profile, click on the ride name, upper left, wait for the new map to load, then click on the “full screen” icon, upper right.)

Nothing extraordinary, just perfect

Peachy Canyon Rd. is a simple Bactrian Camel (i.e. two-humper) ride: climb/descend/climb/descend.  The climbing is all moderate, though there is a fair amount of it and it’s not as easy as Mapmyride thinks—I recorded nearly double their total.  The road works its way up a small creek canyon (at least it looks like a creek should be down there—I can’t see any water) past wineries and through nice riparian oaks.   There are perhaps 8 wineries along the ride, and Peachy Canyon Rd. is a main route from Paso to the rest of the western wine country, which means I wouldn’t do this ride on a weekend when the wine tourists are out.  Any other time, it’s pretty empty—on a gorgeous Fall Thursday I saw 10 vehicles in 21 miles.

Are you old enough to remember when seeing vineyards was exciting?

By the way, the last 3 miles on the ride out look, on the Mapmyride profile, like a steady gradual descent, but in fact it’s a short, delicious little drop followed by pretty rollers.

 

 

 

Where there are vineyards, there are examples of the waller’s art

At road’s end, you’ve got good riding in either direction (see Adding Miles), but wherever else you ride, make sure you come back to this spot, because you must not miss the Peachy Canyon Rd. descent, which is one of the best descents in Bestrides.  In places it’s a perfect slalom course—the road surface is glass, the contour is constantly varied and interesting, the pitch is just steep enough so you can rip it without much braking, every curve is sweetly banked, and the sight lines are excellent so oncoming cars don’t catch you out.

Nothing fancy, just perfect

Peachy Canyon Road

Adding miles: From the west end of Peachy Canyon Rd. you’re a short ride up Vineyard Dr. to our Adelaida Rd./Chimney Rock Road ride.  Also near you are Willow Creek Rd., Vineyard Drive to your R (busiest road in the area and best ridden downhill), and Jack Creek Rd.  Nacimiento Lake Drive is a big, busy road, only suitable as a connector to something better.

Nothing on the west side of Paso Robles is flat, so if you want flatter (or you’re just sick of vineyards) look to the east, as Gandalf told Aragorn.  The riding to the northeast of Paso is good if you avoid the straight roads on the map and stick to those that meander, like Estrella Rd., Cross Canyon Rd., and Hog Canyon Rd.  While you’re in that area, the mission is worth a visit.  The ride to Parkfield is well-regarded—do it as an out and back, and schedule it for when the Parkfield Cafe is open so you can sample their famous burgers.  Southeast of Paso, the loop around Santa Margarita Lake (W. Pozo Rd>Parkhill Rd.>Las Pilitas Rd.) is reputed to be good riding, especially in the spring.  Don’t fail to stop and check out the Pozo Saloon, a local institution.

A good introduction to the region’s riches is the Great Western Bike Rally, a four-day gathering of riders who camp at the Paso Robles fairgrounds and do pick-up rides in all directions.

You’re 30 miles via Hwy 46 from Cambria and the Santa Rosa Creek Road ride.  Or our Santa Rita Rd./Cypress Mountain Rd. ride will let you ride to it.  There is also good (not great) riding around San Luis Obispo—the Wildflower Century route (not to be confused with “the Wildflower,” a century out of Chico and the basis for our Table Mt. ride) and the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club (SLOBC) website are good places to find routes.

Afterthoughts: All three communities mentioned here—Paso Robles, Cambria, and San Luis Obispo—reward a visit.  Cambria is a hamlet, Paso is a large town, and SLO is a city, but each has its (substantial) charms.  Cayucos, a miniscule village south of Cambria, has a cult following and is worth a visit—check out the fish tacos.

At the base of Peachy Canyon Rd—English translation: “Don’t do this ride on a weekend”

 

4 thoughts on “Peachy Canyon Road

  1. ttmetro

    Late March I did a four-day tour that combined three rides from this site: Peachy Canyon Road, Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, and Santa Rosa Creek Road. See http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Paso2016 for a description.

    Some compromises, of course—compelling for me was the significantly improved cycling-to-driving ratio. Great hostel in Cambria—highly recommended.

    Reply
  2. sterlingus

    Thanks, Jay. Dreamy ride—did it twice this past weekend. Looking forward to returning with my sew-ups and wheels Brev. Campagnolo. Had to be a roadie who built that road!

    Reply
  3. CHRISTOPHER JAMES

    The descent part of this road is the closest I’ve come to the “flow” that mountain bikers talk about. It is one of the sweetest rides I’ve been on, and a nice warm up for the Paso area. We did it as a counter-clockwise loop, going towards Adelaida, and making a short side trip to Tables Creek Winery (on Vineyard Dr. just past where you turn onto Peachy Canyon). There is more traffic on the outbound loop than on Peachy Canyon, but everyone was polite. It ended up being less than 30 miles total. We did do it on a Saturday, and there was a Porsche 911 rally going uphill on Peachy Canyon, but again, less than one car per minute overall, so quite pleasant.

    Reply
    1. admin

      I assume your loop went out Nacimiento Lake Rd., out Adelaida, down Vineyard, and down Peachy. That’s a nice way to avoid the Peachy climb—climbing Nacimiento Lake and Adelaida is much more gradual—and you get the best leg of our Adelaida/Chimney Rock loop.

      Reply

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