San Juan Bautista: Southside-Tres Pinos-Cienaga Valley

Friday, February 13, 2015

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Ride #4-SJB: This route heads east from San Juan Valley on CA-156 to Union Rd and turns SE on Southside Rd to the town of Tres Pinos. Continue through the rolling valley and bluffs on CA-25 to Paicines and meander through the Cienaga Wine Trail along the quiet beautiful Cienaga Valley on Cienega Rd. Climb up Bonanza Gulch along the east side of Hollister Hill SV Park before descending back into San Juan Valley.

Head east through San Juan Valley on CA-156 to Union Rd.

Continue south on Southside Rd; the 6.1 flat rolling miles winds along the valley floor with superb views of the acreage country ranches and orchards.

Spring is in the air-the valley meadows are aglow with mustard flowers-WOW! The road turns east along Tres Pinos Creek to the CA-25 junction.

We head south on CA-25 through the small town of Tres Pinos:

CA-25 from Tres Pinos to Cienaga Rd is 6.3 scenic rolling miles through the green valley meadows between the Diablo Mountain Range and Swanson Bluff. The two lane road travels south pass the San Benito Country Club and San Benito County Historical Park to the San Benito County Fairgrounds.

CA-25 S continues along the valley to the town of Paicines.

The road heads further south for another 1.1 mile towards the rolling hillside vineyards at Pebble Ridge Vineyards and Donati Family Vineyard to Cienaga Rd.

We turn right onto Cienaga Rd; this road follows the San Benito County Wine Trail through the beautiful Cienaga Valley. The road begins with a flat jaunt through the scenic valley vineyards and farmlands.The Vineyards of San Benito County are tucked away in a nurturing micro climate ideal for producing premium wines. Regional geology, geography and climate combine to create an optimal wine-growing region. Cool ocean breezes flow into the area from nearby Monterey Bay. During the summer months, when other wine growing regions suffer from high temperaatures, the vineayrds of San Benito County benefit from the refreshing gentle winds. (

Cienaga Rd crosses over the San Benito River and continues on gentle rolling terrain through Cienaga Valley to Thousand Trails Campground.

Roll through the valley ranches and brilliant green meadows towards Limekiln Rd.

Cienaga Rd continues through the expansive valley with spectacular views of the mustard covered rolling hills.

Ride through the valley ranches and vineyards with views of the chaparral covered peaks along the Gabilan Range.

At Grass Valley Rd, the road kicks up for a climb through Sulphur Canyon to the summit at Calera Wine Company; it’s 0.9 mile with an average grade of 4.3%.

Cienaga Rd continues along the Wine Trail to De Rose Vineyards and Peitra Santa Winery.

There is a short climb up from Peitra Santa Winery to Hollister Hills SV Park.

The road drops down into Bonanza Gulch to the Hudner Ranch Staging Area at Hollister Hills.

Cienaga Rd climbs out from the gulch to the summit of Hollister Hills; it’s 0.8 mile with an average grade of 3.7%.

Enjoy the phenomenal hilltop views of the rich green valley!


Cienaga Rd snakes down around the hills to Hidden Valley.

The road jogs along the lower valley back onto Union Rd.

Return on Union Rd to CA-156.

Flat run though San Juan Valley on CA-156 to Mission Farm RV Park.

This a gorgeous scenic ride around the quiet country back roads along the San Benito Wine Trail on Southside and Cienaga; traffic is also fairly light heading south on CA-25 from Tres Pinos to Paicines. This is a very popular loop with the local cycling group-going in this clockwise directions avoids all the trucks hauling trailers and ATV into Hollister Hills SV Park. There’s no need to share the road since you’ll be heading in the opposite direction-wonderful!

46.53 Miles with 1975′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 950′
Max grade: 7%
Terrain: Flat-rolling with a few low hills

Weather: Plenty of sunshine and blue skies. Temps ranged from the low 50’s to the low 70’s with breezy NE > NW winds.

View San Benito County Wine Trail

San Benito Wine Trail

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Cienaga Wine Trail

Follow this route for today’s ride:

One Comment

  1. Nancy, this is ” THE ” ride to do. ” So let it be written, So let it be done “. Beautiful !!!! From Michael and Maydene

    Hey guys, It’s a gorgeous area-the cycling is wonderful! Get on out there and enjoy! Nancy


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