Indian Valley Road – Backroad drive and the chance of wildflowers near San Miguel

Indian Valley Road

Indian Valley Road

Indian Valley Road runs south to north from San Miguel to Peach Tree Road, almost to Highway 198 on the San Andreas Fault, about 25 miles.

This is a beautiful back road drive through cattle country. Some years are rewarded with good displays of wildflowers, but even without the floral displays this drive is worthwhile for the quiet and slow pace of life found here.

Windmill on Indian Valley Road

The special thing about Central California is that there are numerous places and routes that allow you to slow down and enjoy a quieter and more relaxing pace of life.

Indian Valley Road is certainly one of these mellowing routes. It can’t be driven fast, and you wouldn’t want to anyway since there are interesting features all along the way.

Before setting out on this or any back road drive, be sure to check out my page on How to Drive Back Roads. The tips there can make your drive more enjoyable.

Next Services 100 miles

The last time I passed through here, this sign was gone. But that doesn’t mean that services have popped up all along the way. Nothing has changed and the warning still applies. I imagine that someone thought it was “cute” and decided to hang it in their dorm room.

So, be sure to gas up before embarking on this drive and be sure to have some water and a snack.

How to find Indian Valley Road

Southern end of Indian Valley Road

From San Miguel take 14th Street east across the Salinas River bridge. Turn left immediately at the end of the bridge. The photo above shows the view there. Then take the next left and you’re on Indian Valley Road.

If you were to go straight instead of turning onto Indian Valley, you’d be on Cross Canyons Road where there is a good wine tasting trail beginning with Locatelli Winery just around the corner here.

Getting to Indian Valley Rd. from the north – just 50 feet east of the intersection of Highways 198 and 25 is the exit for Peach Tree Road which heads mostly east here. Peach Tree Road continues for 8-9 miles along the trace of the San Andreas Fault and turns into Indian Valley Rd.

Indian Valley can also be accessed by way of Bradley off Highway 101 via Hare Canyon Road.

A nice drive from San Miguel to Hollister will include Indian Valley Rd. to Peach Tree Road; then north on Highway 25 past Pinnacles National Park and then on to Hollister.

What You might see along Indian Valley Rd.

Yak on Indian Valley Road

No, you didn’t take a wrong turn and end up in the Himalayas…there are some yaks along the road here. They’ve been here for a number of years and seem to be dealing with the low altitude just fine.

Old building along Indian Valley Road

There was once a small town here called Valleton. At the southern end of the road it was about 8 miles from San Miguel. I think this is all that is left of the settlement. I don’t know for sure, but I think it is the old schoolhouse. In those days the schools also did duty as a community meeting place, dance hall and polling place.

Wildflowers on Indian Valley Rd.

The first photo in this series on wildflowers is the most recent. The next photos were taken in 2008.

Not every year is a good wildflower year. The lack of rain will be a real hindrance to a good bloom.

One of the best displays of wildflowers I’ve seen in quite a while was on a drive through Indian Valley, and I didn’t have a camera.

Various colors of flowers flowed down a hillside and covered several acres. Stunning sight. Perhaps when you visit you’ll see a grand display like that…

Bush lupines blooming in the creek bed

Bush lupines blooming in the creek bed

A roadside display of small wildflowers

Small purple flowers and fiddlenecks blooming alongside the roadway.

Hillside covered in wildflowers

Goldfields looking as if they are flowing down the hillside.

Roadside bush lupine

A close-up of a bush lupine.

More wildflowers on hillsides

Goldfields painted on a hillside.

Views of Indian Valley

Looking north on Indian Valley Road

Cattle country

Green pastures

The San Andreas Fault at the northern end of Indian Valley

Verdant pastures on Indian Valley Road

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