One of the best ways to explore the Santa Maria Valley’s miles of vineyards, stunning beaches and vibrant culture is on a bike. No matter what type of cycling experience you’re looking for—from long, challenging rides to casual trips and mellow strolls with family—the Santa Maria Valley has a trail for you. Two local cyclists, Dave Corey and Max Tucker, weighed in on some of their favorite trails in and around the region.
Dave Corey has been exploring the Central Coast on his bike for more than 20 years. Dave and his wife, Becky, own Core Wine Company in Old Town Orcutt. Dave also started the Bike + Bottle Project, where he leads groups of cyclists on mapped appellation tours through the Central Coast, experiencing Santa Maria Valley food and wine.
Max Tucker is the general manager at the Best Western Plus Big America and has been cycling through the Santa Maria Valley for nearly 30 years, exploring trails throughout the region.
Before you go:
- Bring your own bike! Dave recommends using a bike that fits you well and that you are comfortable with to make sure your ride is as enjoyable as can be.
- If possible, ride early in the morning. Max recommends being finished with your ride before 10 a.m. to avoid the wind and the traffic.
- Wear a helmet and bring water. It’s important to stay safe and hydrated while cycling.
For a casual cruise…
Cycle around Old Town Orcutt. You can stop at many local boutiques, restaurants, bars or tasting rooms and experience local culture during your ride. Dave says the downtown region is bike-friendly and typically not too congested. Don’t forget to stop into Core Wine Company while you’re there!
For a longer, easy ride…
Max recommends riding on the Santa Maria River Levee Trail. This cycling and running trail is perfect for anyone looking for a longer but less strenuous ride. The River Levee spans three miles along the banks of the Santa Maria River. The trail offers beautiful views and has almost no traffic. This path is also good for families and small children.
For a good all-around mountain biking trail…
Dave recommends Orcutt Hill. This trail system is great for families, solo riders and riders looking for a more intense excursion. Orcutt Hill offers varying degrees of difficulty, allowing cyclists to customize their experience.
For a family trip…
Head to Waller Park in Santa Maria. There are plenty of safe and easy roads to ride on in the park and near the surrounding area. You can stop and have a picnic, feed ducks in the ponds, or play volleyball or basketball at the courts.
For a customizable ride…
Hit one of Max’s favorite areas, the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, early in the morning. This 30-mile stretch of road takes cyclists past several wineries and through acres of vineyards. You can cycle the whole trail, or just explore parts of it. Max suggests adventuring on some of the side roads that branch off from Foxen Canyon Road, which gives you more options and areas to explore.
For an intense excursion…
Tackle one of Dave’s favorite rides, a loop he calls The Circle of Pain. Start in Old Orcutt and ride along the shoulder of Highway 1, down to Lompoc and head back into Orcutt on Harris Grade road, which turns into CA-135. This loop is about 45 miles long and offers cyclists an intense, but beautiful, ride.
In the Santa Maria Valley, there’s so much to do from here. Hit the road and explore all you can do. The Santa Maria Valley boasts 24 hiking trails, 34 tasting rooms, 6 unique AVAs, 13 beaches, and a growing selection of local breweries, all within a beautiful 30-minute drive. There is no need to venture far if you are looking for sand dunes, cycling and authentic Santa Maria Style dining. You’ll find it’s the perfect home base, where you can eat, drink and do more for less.