Salinas River Walk: Paso Robles Section
The Salinas River Walk in Paso Robles is one of the first sections of a planned 30 mile river trail extending from Santa Margarita in the south to San Miguel. This two mile trail can be accessed at several places and several portions are paved and easily wheelchair accessible. An enjoyable way to take in the riparian delights of North San Luis Obispo County.
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…
Salinas River Walk Quick Facts:
- 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:
- Larry Moore Park – coordinates: 35.6069, -120.6885. This is at the end of Riverbank Lane, off South River Road;
- West of Penney’s in the Woodland I shopping center – coordinates: 35.6118, -120.6848;
- Behind Wendy’s in the Woodla
nd II shopping center – coordinates: 35.6154, -120.6832. This is the only parking area which doesn’t have wheelchair access to the trail. There is a step down which anyone in reasonable shape can negotiate; and
- Along Navajo Avenue at the very end of the cul-de-sac – coordinates: 35.6201, -120.6808
- Dogs: Allowed if on leash; poop bags available at stations along the route
What you might see along the Salinas River Walk
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.
Views along the Salinas River Walk
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.