Cambria Hikes, Bike Ride, Lodging and Camping

04.26.12


Cambria Coaster

Smack between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Central Coast town of Cambria is at its best in spring. From mint-green hills dotted with Monterey pines to miles of chiseled coastline, make Cambria your home-base hamlet for hiking, biking, and overnighting.


Cambria Bike Ride to Linns Farmstore

Piece of the Pie

Ingredients for a delicious bike ride: a quiet country road, cascading green hills, pastoral farmland, and one tasty olallieberry pie. Santa Rosa Creek Road leaves right from Cambria's Main Street and winds 5 miles (one-way) through a peaceful valley, passing tractors, windmills, and big old red barns. The turnaround point hits the sweet spot, literally. Roll up to Linn's Original Farmstore for a slice of their famous olallieberry pie. Generously sized, piping-hot mini-pies are served as single portions, and the berries are mixed with the perfect amount of cane sugar for a melt-in-your-mouth treat. Grab a seat on the shaded patio and keep an eye out for the resident peacock that occasionally puts on a colorful display. Return the way you came. Berry nice ride.

BONUS: Although it's within riding distance, we recommend driving to Harmony Cellars, just a few miles south on Highway 1. The bountiful valley views pair beautifully with an excellent new-release Bordeaux blend, Aria Sauvignon. Beginning June 22, Harmony is open Friday nights until 7:00 p.m. throughout the summer.

Start the bike ride at Main St. and Santa Rosa Creek Rd. in Cambria (map). Linn's Original Farmstore is located at 6275 Santa Rosa Creek Rd. Harmony Cellars is located at 3255 Harmony Valley Rd.

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

Simply Wanderful

Cambria's Moonstone Beach is a deservedly popular strolling destination, but lesser-known Fiscalini Ranch Preserve offers just as much coastal beauty with far fewer people. Before you go, stop by Sandy's Deli & Bakery in Cambria (604 Main Street) and pick up a Mother Nature Veggie or Turkey Cranberry sandwich to-go (their Orange Madness smoothie is pretty tasty, too). Then make your way to Fiscalini for a 2-mile (round-trip) ocean-side stroll capturing the best of spring's bling. Bluff Trail begins on a boardwalk paralleling dramatic cliffs covered in blooming ice plant. This trail is well-maintained thanks to the efforts of Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Pacific scenery sweeps north to south as the path becomes a dirt trail. A few large driftwood benches along the way make prime picnic perches. Take a seat and stay on the lookout for blowholes close to shore. Grey whales are making their annual migration to Alaska, and this stretch of coast is common grounds for spotting them through the month of May. When you reach the end of Bluff Trail, go one block east and take the Marine Terrace Trail fire road to make a loop of it. Bluff's got the stuff!

From Hwy. 1 in Cambria, turn south on Windsor Blvd. and follow it to the end. Fiscalini Ranch starts where the road ends. Dog-friendly!

San Simeon State Park hike

San Simeon Sampler

San Simeon is probably best known as the home to Hearst Castle, but just south of this California landmark is diverse Hearst San Simeon State Park with great trails, camping, and a wide-open beach. Head out on the San Simeon Creek Trail for a 3.5-mile (round-trip) hike through one of only four native Monterey pine forests. Start by crossing a seasonal wetland that's home to pond turtles, red-legged frogs, egrets, and herons. Then climb up Pine Ridge—dotted with the Monterey pines. Descend a boggy lowland, crossing grassy slopes covered in coastal scrub and offering unobstructed views of the Santa Lucia Mountains. The trail passes through the Washburn primitive campground, a great car-camping option with 58 sites. From here, follow the road back to the trailhead (while the trail continues, it's quite overgrown and not recommended). Finish up with a short walk to the spacious beach.

Where to Eat and Stay: Robin's Restaurant (4095 Burton Drive) has a diverse wine selection (try the Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc), delicious fresh salads, and a garden patio bursting with color. For those who don't want to camp, Cambria Pines Lodge has cabins set in a forest up on a hill, with a short hiking trail that leads right into town. El Colibri Boutique Hotel & Spa (5620 Moonstone Beach Drive) is one of the newest spots in town, with 34 modern rooms and a boardwalk leading to Moonstone Beach.

San Simeon State Park is 2 miles north of Cambria on Hwy. 1, and 5 miles south of Hearst Castle. For the San Simeon Creek Trail, park at the Washburn day-use area and start heading east on the boardwalk. At about the halfway point of a counterclockwise loop, the trail reaches the campground. Walk back to the trailhead on the road, rather than continuing on the trail as it becomes very overgrown. Ticks and poison oak are common, so wear long sleeves and pants. Here's a map of San Simeon Creek Trail. Campground reservations can be made March 15 to September 30 by calling 800-444-PARK. Robin's Restaurant patio is dog-friendly; the trail is not. Cambria Pines Lodge and El Colibri Boutique Hotel offer dog-friendly rooms.

Last Call!

We don't mean to toot our own horns, but we're pretty excited about some recent news. Weekend Sherpa has been nominated for a Webby Award as the best Lifestyle Web site! As one of five Nominees, we're the only regional Web site up for this award, and the only outdoor lifestyle brand nominated out of thousands of competing Web sites.

We're also up for a People's Voice award! Last week we were hovering around, well, last place. Then we rallied and climbed in the standings. But we're up against some big competition, and we need your vote to finish strong. Voting ends today at midnight. Vote Weekend Sherpa!

And in case you need more motivation, here are the Top Five Reasons to Vote Weekend Sherpa for a Webby Award.

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