Morro Bay: Avila Beach

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

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We’re heading to the beach today! This ride heads south from Morro Bay through the towns of Los Osos and San Luis Obispo to Port San Luis and Avila Beach. The route also includes an out and back run along the apple farms on See Canyon Rd.

S Bay Blvd takes us 3.8 miles south through Morro Bay State Park and Morro Bay Estuary for the short climb into Baywood-Los Osos.

We head east on Los Osos Valley Rd for the next 10.1 miles through the rich agricultural farmlands and cattle ranches along Los Osos Valley and Clark Valley to San Luis Obispo. Rows and rows of bright orange pumpkins are lying out in the fields-Halloween is near!

We ride pass the residential neighborhoods and shopping centers around Laguna Lake in Sab Luis Obispo. They have the usual big box retailers; Costco, Home Depot, Target and other chain stores.

The flat terrain on Higuera St and Ontario Rd leads us out-of-town through the open space and hills alongside Hwy 101/CA-1.

San Luis Bay Dr takes us westward for a short climb up and over to Avila Valley and Sycamore Springs.

Avila Beach Dr heads south along the canyon pass Avila Beach Golf Resort into Avila Beach. The road continues to the very end at Port San Luis, Harford Landing and Harford Pier. Take a walk out along the pier to enjoy the gorgeous bay views!

This harbor area is loaded with many recreational activities from sport fishing on charter boats to kayaking, surfing and personal boating. This is also a very popular place for RV camping with full hook up sites and dry camping at five different areas along San Luis Obispo Bay. They even have public facilities complete with showers and a laundry mat. Next time, we’re going to come and RV camp here!

Our lunch stop is at Portside Coffee; a beautiful setting located right near the beach and next to the boatyard area with phenomenal views of the bay! Olde Port Beach is a hang out for dog walkers and their four-legged companions.

The blue waters of the bay is absolutely gorgeous with its scenic views; harbor seals are sunbathing along the docks and pelicans and cormorants are just hanging out on the rocks enjoying the warmth and summer breeze!

We make our way over to Avila Beach and ride through the tourist area along San Juan St. They have the typical T-shirt shops, beach boutiques along with many choices of cafes and restaurants. Take a walk out on Avila Pier and enjoy the views of the sandy beaches and the tall bluffs on Fossil Point. What folks may not know is that Avila Beach offers the greatest weather than other beach towns, it faces south and sits in a sheltered valley that provides protection from the morning fog!

Cycling shoes is not the ideal footwear for the beach, so it’s time to move on. We return on Avila Beach Rd to San Luis Bay Dr for a beautiful 11.4 miles out and back run on See Canyon Rd. This quiet road gently winds up along the canyon through the many apple farm, fruit orchards and ranches. We even stop to pick some soft ball sized apples and pears just hanging off the trees. One apple farm boasts 60 different varieties-WOW!

The last 1.4 miles up to the summit has an average grade of 9.6%; the narrow single lane road climbs under a canopy of trees to the top. The road levels out and the pavement ends at the cattle guard-this is the turnaround point for us.

We descend See Canyon Rd back to San Luis Dr and Ontario Rd. Higuera St takes us back into San Luis Obispo on Los Osos Valley Rd. If you have time, stop and check out the Historic Octogon Barn off Higuera St.

We head west on Los Osos Valley Rd; the flat terrain goes through the open meadows, ranchlands and agricultural fields surrounding the expansive valley floor.

The turn on Turri Rd heads NW and takes us inland for a short climb up to the top of the ridge with fabulous views of Hollister Peak. It begins with a gentle stretch along the valley through the ranchlands up to the barren hillsides on a quiet road with minimal to no traffic.

At the summit, the road ahead winds around the back ridge along Los Osos Creek to Morro Bay State Park and S Bay Blvd.

From S Bay Blvd, it’s a short flat 2 miles back to Bay Pines.

Nothing really beats a gorgeous day at the beach-I love the smell of fresh salt air! Next time, I’m going to carry a pair of light flip-flops in my pack for future strolls along the warm sandy beaches! We also have to dedicate a day off the bike to check out the apple farms and take time for some tastings-60 varieties-that’s a definite yes! Come on out and enjoy it for yourself!

Garmin Stats:
57.07 Miles with 2897′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1125′
Max grade: 12%
Terrain: Flat to rolling with one long climb

Weather: Fantastic! Sunny and warm with clear blue skies. Temps ranged from the high 50’s to the mid 90’s. NNW winds with 46% humidity

Let life surprise you!


Click here to view the interactive route map & elevation profile

Follow this route for today’s ride: