The Adobe Rios Caledonia
in San Miguel

The Adobe Rios Caledonia - a nicely restored late mission-era adobe that tells another part of the story of Mission San Miguel.

Adobe Rios-Caledonia historic plaque

The Adobe Rios Caledonia represents the tail end of the founding period of the California Missions.

Built in 1835 (contrary to the date on the historic landmark plaque), it is located just a few hundred feet to the south of the Mission San Miguel in northern San Luis Obispo County.

Although it is only open Friday through Sunday, if you are visiting Mission San Miguel that time of the week, the Rios adobe will complete the picture of how people lived during those times.

Clicking any of the photos on this page will open a larger, high-resolution version.

The adobe also tells a later story, that of Highway 101 which grew to the thoroughfare it is today from the roots of the El Camino Real.

North view of the Rios Caledonia Adobe

Adobes are so called because of the adobe blocks that form the walls. You can see the individual blocks in the photo where the protective plaster has worn away.

Depending on the height of the walls and the width of the building the walls might be a mass of adobe blocks 5 feet thick as they are in the mission churches.

The adobe blocks themselves are formed from soil with a high percentage of clay, straw or animal hair, manure and water. This mixture was then poured into a simple wooden form until it was somewhat set and then allowed to dry in the sun.

Adobe Rios Caledonia Quick Facts

Address: 700 S. Mission St, San Miguel, CA 93451 (San Luis Obispo County), just off Highway 101
GPS coordinates: 35.73862, -120.69977
Phone: Gift Shop/Museum (805)467-3357
Gift Shop & Museum (self-guided tours) Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 11am - 4pm
Organization: San Luis Obispo County Parks Department and the Friends of the Adobe

Main downstairs living area of Rios Caledonia adobe

The Friends of the Adobe have been instrumental in restoring the adobe and making it into a museum of life in early San Miguel.

By the way, the name "Rios-Caledonia" refers to Petronilo Rios the builder and first owner of the adobe after the mission and lands were sold, and Caledonia was added by a later owner in 1868 to remind him of his Scottish roots. "Caledonia" is the name given to Scotland by the Romans.

The Wells Fargo room at Rios Caledonia Adobe

The adobe Rios Caledonia later functioned as an inn, tavern and a Wells Fargo stagecoach stop until 1886. It is said that the Dalton Brothers and Frank and Jesse James visited here. It is credible since an uncle of the James boys was one of the founders of Paso Robles, owned property in the area and the gang was known to have traveled out west until conditions in the east "calmed down".

A bedroom at the Rios Caledonia Adobe

A very nice collection of historic artifacts have been donated to the adobe by area pioneer families.

These furnishings are authentic and give you a real taste of what life might have been like for early residents of Central California.

2013 Events at the Adobe Rios-Caledonia

The Friends of the Adobe host some events which might catch your interest:

First, on Saturday June 1, 2013, is a Model A and Model T antique car show. This is held on the original alignment of Highway 101 which runs right beside the adobe. Hours of this event -from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. FREE to the public!

Food, music, wine tasting, and model railroads are some of the thing happening. For more information contact: Joyce Herman, 440-7173 or

An early 20th century section of Highway 101 beside Rios Caledonia adobe

Secondly, Saturday evening, October 26, 2013 - Candelight Tour of the Haunted Adobe. Hours from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. This event is free to the public.

"Visit the "spooky", darkened old adobe where you wander about with a candle provided. Luminarias illuminate the way to the adobe from the parking lot. Simple refreshments will be provided."

Contact information for this event is the same as above.

Picnics at the Adobe Rios Caledonia

Between the adobe and the parking area is a garden, some outbuildings and picnic tables. This is a nice shady area and a good place if you wanted to picnic after picking up something tasty in Paso Robles.

The old tavern room at the Rios Caledonia Adobe

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Eastern exterior of the Rios-Caledonia Adobe

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