Arroyo Burro

Arroyo Burro

The Queen of local trails. Exit the freeway at Las Positas and turn toward the mountains. Pass State, and then pass Foothill (those both have stoplights.) The road changes names when you cross State – it’s now San Roque. After Foothill, you’ll drive up about a third of a mile until you see the W.B. Cater Water Treatment Plant on your left. (Big white building, looks Official, easy to spot.) The trail entry is just beyond the building. Run in a short mile, probably less, and the trail splits – you want to go left, across the stream. It’s clearly marked. You’ll have to run some asphalt, and this isn’t the prettiest part of the trail, but keep going steeply up. Eventually you’ll reach the stoner’s rock (you’ll know it when you see it), and after that the trail, while steep, is gorgeous. Figure around three to four hours, more if you like to move at a dignified pace, less if you’re Peter Park or Mike Swan or cute li’l Martha Rockettail. It took me (jk) 2:48 and I was enjoying the scenery.

If you’re well organized, make a reservation at Rancho Oso and run across Camino Cielo when you get to the top. Go through the gun range and follow the trail down into the Santa Ynez valley, toward the river. You’ll emerge at the Rancho. Shower, hang, out, have dinner, and spend the night. (What an extraordinary thing to be able to do! Life is so sweet.)

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