Photo selection for the week of June 13-19, 2014
The Salinas River Walk in Paso Robles is currently a two mile trail that meanders along the edge of the north flowing river. There are plans to double the length to four miles within the boundaries of the city.
The surface varies between packed decomposed granite and concrete in sections.
The northern end is at the intersection of River Road and 13th Street (which becomes Creston Road east of that junction). The southern end is along Riverbank Lane at Larry Moore Park.
If you are visiting Central California from out of state, you should be aware that many of our rivers are highly seasonal which means that there is a good chance there is no water flowing.
Our rains (usually) come in the months from October to April. The last few years have seen very little rain and the flow in the river has been meager at best.
However, the bright side is that the low flow has allowed the growth of a variety of trees and brush providing habitat for wildlife. You might not see them, but there are mule deer and other mammals in the river bed. Be on the lookout...
Location: City of Paso Robles, northern San Luis Obispo County. Northern trailhead coordinates: 35.62999, -120.68316
Surfaces: Concrete, decomposed granite and packed soil
Elevation change: Minimal; approximately 40 ft. over the two mile course
Accessibility: Easily wheelchair accessible over the entire length
Length: 2 miles
Facilities: Restrooms only at the southern end in Larry Moore Park. I did find them locked mid-morning one weekday.
Parking: There is no dedicated parking for the Riverwalk. However, there are four places along the route with parking and easy access to the trail:
Dogs: Allowed if on leash; poop bags available at stations along the route
The riverine habitat is great for birding. Many locals enjoy coming down to the walk just for this.
There are numerous story boards along the trail explaining the natural habitat and features and some like the ones below which outline some of the history of the river.
The Salinas Riverwalk is also part of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. In 1775-1776 Col. Anza led over 240 colonists AND all their livestock from Mexico, into Arizona and up through California to San Francisco and did it very successfully.
Keeping all those people and animals watered required travel near rivers whenever possible and the Salinas was one of the many waterways next to which the expedition traveled.
Interpretive boards such as this one are found along the Riverwalk.
You may notice that the trees and brush in some of the photos are greener than in others. I took these photos on three separate visits to the River Walk in late winter and early spring. Despite the terrible drought we have experienced, we did get a bit of rain late in the season and that did help.