Saturday, April 1, 2017
Day 1: Solvang-Paso Robles Spring Destinations.
This route heads inland from Orcutt for a scenic ride through the agricultural farmlands and vineyards around Santa Maria Valley. It rolls out along Long Canyon before climbing up around the Solomon Hills along the quiet remote Cat Canyon Rd to Palmer and Dominion Rds.
Begin this ride from Orcutt Community Park.
Exit town on E Clark Ave, it crosses over 101 before leading you out through the open valley farmlands. The road comes to a T-junction at Dominion Rd.
Turn left on Dominion, it travels north through the agricultural fields to Orcutt Garey Rd.
Continue east on Garey Rd, the short rolling climb cuts across the valley with extended views of the Sierra Madres Mountains before dropping down to Foxen Canyon Rd.
Turn right on Foxen Canyon, it gently winds around the valley floor to the town of Sisquoc.
Foxen Canyon Rd continues east along the expansive Santa Maria Valley.
Head south on Long Canyon Rd for a scenic gentle out and back jaunt through the quiet canyon.
The road comes to a dead end near private property.
Turn around and reverse your way back on Foxen Canyon Rd to Sisquoc.
Head south on Palmer Rd for two flat scenic miles to Cat Canyon Rd.
Continue south on Cat Canyon Rd through the ERG oil fields, drilling rigs and wells.
The rolling flat terrain on the bottomlands passes through the open meadows and grasslands with grazing cattle and horses.
As soon as you cross the cattle guard, the road narrows to a single lane as it steadily snakes up through the canyon for 1.2 miles with steep grades of 10-13% to the top at Gato Ridge.
The road continues to wiggle up along the hillside with gorgeous views of the canyon and valley as the chaparral-covered Soloman Hills rises magnificently above it all.
You’re at the top of Cat Canyon at mile marker 5.19 at the oil tank batteries.
The 3.9 miles descent on Cat Canyon Rd drops down towards Howard Canyon into the open valley with acreage vineyards and ranches. The road comes to an end at the entrance onto US-101.
Head north on 101 for the next 3.3 miles, it has a wide shoulder area with rumble strips, very little debris and fabulous views of the hillside vineyards.
Exit the highway at Palmer Rd and head north through the gorgeous vineyards around the Solomon Hills.
The road tilts up for a 0.8 mile climb up through the hills with gradient ranges of 8-10%. Palmer Rd drops down towards the valley to Dominion Rd.
Turn left onto Dominion Rd, it kicks up with a 1.2 climb with 7-9% grades. You’re at the top when you reach the horse ranch on the right side of the road.
Dominion continues on rolling terrain as it heads north along the ridge with grand views of the mountains and valleys.
Turn left on E Clark Ave for the return to Orcutt Community Park.
This is a fabulous scenic ride through the expansive farmlands and vineyards around Santa Maria Valley and the Solomon Hills! The remote climb up Cat Canyon is simply beautiful!
44.68 Miles with 3091′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1050′
Max grade: 13%
Terrain: Hilly with a couple of steep climbs
Weather: Sunny and warm. Temps ranged from the high 50s to the mid 80’s with NW winds.
Follow this route for today’s ride: