Paso Robles: Vineyard Canyon-Parkfield

Thursday, April 12, 2018

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Day 6-Today’s ride heads north-east along the remote backcountry roads to Parkfield, “The Earthquake Capital of the World”. The route takes the roads less traveled through the gorgeous valley canyon, horse ranches and rural lands.

Head north on Mission St to N River Rd and Cross Canyons Rd.

The 1.3 miles on Indian Valley Rd begins on a very short section of rough road and dramatically changes to smooth pavement towards the turn onto Vineyard Canyon Rd.

Vineyard Canyon Rd is a gorgeous remote stretch of road that goes up and over the canyon for 16.8 miles. It has fantastic views of the mountains and hills around the Diablo Range.

At 1.5 miles into Vineyard Canyon, the road crosses the County line from San Luis Obispo into Monterey County.

The false flat terrain on this canyon road goes on for 12.8 miles with an average grade of 1.7%. The canyon has a scattering of cattle ranches with a few stock ponds and wide green open pasture lands.

The landscape changes to a drier desert-like environment as the road heads further east.

Around mile marker 10.5, the road tilts up for a 1.2-mile climb towards Chalome Hills with an average grade of 8.75% and steep pitches of 9-12%.

There is a false summit after mile marker 11.5, the road levels out for about half a mile towards the entrance to a small gated rural community. The next half mile up towards the gap at the top of Chalome Hills has an average grade of 6%.

The sweeping descent drops down into the other side of the canyon below Middle Mountain.

Vineyard Canyon continues east through the open meadows and pasture lands around the scenic Chalome Valley and hills.

This tranquil valley is dotted with some vineyards, cattle and horse ranches and rural homes. There is also the usual scene of old vehicles and farming equipment scattered around these acreage properties.

Cross the white Parkfield Bridge over Little Chalome Creek and enter the North American Plate of the San Andreas Fault into Parkfield. The posted road sign shows the town’s population at 18.

Stop at the V6 Ranch Parkfield Cafe for lunch; the cafe is only open from Thursday to Sunday, so plan your ride out here accordingly.

Take the time to “walk around town”.

Exit Parkfield and reverse the route back on Vineyard Canyon Rd.

The climb up the east side of Chalome Hills on Vineyard Canyon Rd is 1.6 miles with an average grade of 8.35% and steeper pitches of 10-12%.

Enjoy the glorious views!

The blasting descent drops back into the open canyon to Indian Valley Rd.

Return on Indian Valley and Cross Canyons to N River and Mission St.

This is a wonderful ride along the quiet scenic country back roads through the gorgeous valley canyon, horse ranches, and rural lands!

Garmin Stats:
48.82 Miles with 3580′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 344′
Max grade: 12%
Terrain: Flat-rolling with steep climbs

Weather: Sunny and warm. Temps ranged from the low 50’s to the mid 70’s with brisk NW winds.

View the interactive RGPS route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride: