The Highway 46 scenic drive – from Paso Robles to the coast – great sunset drive

Highway 46, California

The Highway 46 Scenic Drive – from the 101 to the 1

The Highway 46 scenic drive – a beautiful and easy road with great vistas all along the way

A great sunrise viewed above the fog on Highway 46A beautiful sunrise viewed above the fog on the Highway 46 scenic drive

Paso Robles To US Highway 1

This portion of the highway extends west from Highway 101 in Paso Robles and then ends at the connection with US Highway 1 south of Cambria.

The road rises to a height of approximately 1700 feet before descending to the coast and along the way there are several turnouts with some very spectacular views.

I’ve always liked sunrises and sunsets from here, and especially those that the photographer here captures. The “golden hour” shows are great when it’s clear, but I do like the ones when the coastal fog starts (or finishes) its inland creep.

From these turnouts you can view the coast from Point Piedras Blancas in the north (just about the start of Big Sur) and south to Morro Rock and the start of Montana de Oro

There are times when you can see Morro Rock with its head above the fog layer – quite impressive.

How to get to the Highway 46 scenic drive

If you are coming from inland Central California, the turnoff you take from the Highway 101 is the Highway 46 West at Paso Robles. Highway 46 jogs several miles here and its east bound portion is at the north end of Paso Robles.
If you are staying in Cambria, Cayucos or even Morro Bay, an evening drive up near the summit of Highway 46 is a great way to end the day and enjoy a sunset.

From Cambria you can take the easy route – Highway 1 south to Highway 46 heading east. OR, you can take a winding (very much so), scenic drive up Santa Rosa Creek Road and back out to the 46. This used to be Highway 46 “back when” before the new road was built. This route brings you past some charming small farms and ranches wedged into the narrow valley, past Santa Rosa Creek itself and by gorgeous meadows where you’ll see as many deer as cattle.

If you take this way, be sure to allow yourself at least 45 minutes to make it back to one of the Highway 46 turnouts for the sunset show.

From Morro Bay or Cayucos, Old Creek Road leads back to Highway 46 and actually directly across the road from Santa Rosa Creek Road.

Old Creek Road is not quite as winding as Santa Rosa. It passes by Whale Rock Reservoir and by some avocado groves.

Either way is a nice drive and rewarded with stunning views of the coast when you arrive.

A foggy sunrise over the Central Coast

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