Top 5 SLO County Backroad Adventures

SLO County is full of amazing country roads that you can explore when you stay with us. So, pack up the car, grab a picnic lunch and get lost on the roads less traveled.

 

1. The San Luis Obispo Coastal Wine Trail

This backroad will take you through the rolling hills and vineyards of rural San Luis Obispo. Begin at the junctions of Tank Farm Road and Orcutt Road in San Luis Obispo and stay on Orcutt heading south. You will pass the historic Independence Schoolhouse home to Baileyana Winery as well as Wolff Vineyards and Chamisal Vineyards. Down the road, you may also see the beautiful Arabian Horses of Varian Arabians Ranch. At the end of Orcutt Road, turn left onto Lopez Drive. Here, you can stop at Talley Vineyards and view the El Ricon Adobe built in 1863. Lopez Drive will take you to the entrance of Lopez Lake County Park. The area is home to native wild life like the mule deer and migratory birds like white pelicans. Head back down Lopez Lake Drive to Huasna Road and turn right on Corbett Canyon Road. This is a beautiful country road that will take you back to Edna Valley. After a while the road turns into Carpenter Canyon Road where you will find Claiborne & Churchill Winery with their German varietals like Dry Gewürztraminer and Riesling. The road will become Edna Road or CA-227 where you will find the Old Edna Townsite which features a barn, art gallery, Sextant Tasting Room and more. After your visit to this old town, 227 will lead you right back into San Luis Obispo.
 

2. The Scenic Route to Morro Bay

While you can take Highway 1 from SLO to go to Morro Bay, we recommend taking the scenic route via Los Osos Valley Road. Once you get past the shopping centers and neighborhoods you will find yourself gazing at quiet country farms. After about 7 miles turn right onto Turri Road. This country road will take you past marigold farmlands and give you a great view of Hollister Mountain, one of the Nine Sisters. Turri Road continues through cattle lands and a winding section by Los Osos Creek where you might see beautiful birds. At the end of the road, turn right and take the first left on to State Park Road. As you approach the State Park Campground you will see the Marina area on your left. Here you can walk the flat trail around the lagoon and take small trails out to the edge of the Morro Bay Estuary. At the end of the main trail, you will be at the edge of the bay and can look all the way over to the sand spit. You may also want to check out Black Hill Trail. This 3-mile hike will take you up Black Hill, the last “sister” before Morro Rock for panoramic views of Morro Bay and Los Osos. A short distance down the road is the Museum of Natural History. Continue your drive out of the State Park onto Main Street and through town approximately one mile to Beach Street. Turn left and drive down the hill onto the Embarcadero. At the stop sign turn right and proceed to the parking lot across from the entrance to the power plant. Park here and walk the boardwalk alongside the bay to Morro Bay’s famous landmark, Morro Rock. This 576 foot dormant volcano marks the entrance to the harbor. Watch the waves crashing over the breakwater or go to the north side of the Rock and take a stroll on the beach.

 

3. Highway 41 from Morro Bay to Atascadero

From Morro Bay, take the beautiful winding road to Atascadero. Along the way you will see avocado groves, farms and breathtaking scenery. If you are feeling especially ambitious, turn right off the road to Cerro Alto campground. From here you can hike the 2.5 miles up 1600 feet in elevation for the best views of our county you will be able to find. You will see the ocean, the vineyards, San Luis Obispo, Atascadero, Morro Bay and Paso Robles all in one spot. It is truly magnificent and worth every grueling step. After your hiking adventuring, hop back in your car and head down the road to Atascadero. Here you can reward yourself with a local hard cider from Bristol’s or a local brew at Tent City Beer Company.

4. See Canyon Road

In between Avila Beach and San Luis Obispo lies the beautiful See Canyon. Get off 101 at San Luis Bay Drive and turn right on to See Canyon Road. You will pass by Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards (home to Apple Wine), See Canyon Hard Cider and Gopher Glen Organic Apple Farm. At the end of the road, turn right onto Perfumo Canyon Road. This beautiful winding road will take you through Irish Hills back down into San Luis Obispo.

 

5. Highway 1 through Cambria Up to Ragged Point

Highway 1 may be the most iconic drive in California and we are lucky enough to have such an amazing stretch of it in our county. Start your day in Cambria. This unique and artsy community is full of fun shops and restaurants. Continue up the coast to San Simeon where you can get of glimpse of the amazing Hearst Castle high up in the hills above. We recommend stopping at Hearst State Beach. This quiet cove features turquoise waters and you never know what kind of ocean life you may see in the bay. From whales to seals to otters, we have seen it all here. Speaking of seals, just up the road is the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery where you can view the astounding elephant seal in its natural habitat. Nearby is the historic Piedras Blancas Light Station. Tours are offered every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning year-round. Finally, end your journey at Ragged Point. Known as the gateway to Big Sur, it is home to hiking trails dotted with babbling waterfalls, lush forest and spectacular vistas towering 400 feet above the Pacific. Secluded beaches, churning surf and whale sightings make for a fantastic photo-op.