Santa Maria River Levee Trail


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Santa Maria River Levee Trail Facts

States: California
Counties: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara
Length: 6.7 miles
Trail end points: Bull Canyon Rd. and Bonita School Rd.
Trail surfaces: Asphalt, Gravel
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 7769418
Trail activities: Bike, Walking

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Santa Maria River Levee Trail Description

The Santa Maria River Levee Trail offers wide open views of distant mountains and the rugged landscape of the Santa Maria Valley. The partially paved trail follows a levee built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1960s and rehabilitated between 2009 and 2011.

Four kiosks along the trail provide information about the area's plants and wildlife, and two short side trips connect trail-goers with parks. On the west side of US 101, head south from the trail on a quiet residential street—Preisker Lane—to reach Preisker Park, which, at 40 acres, is Santa Maria's largest park. It offers a large grassy area for sports, a pond and creek, playgrounds, picnic areas with barbecue pits, and restrooms.

Near the trail's eastern end, a connection to Jim May Park is possible by crossing Seaward Drive and taking the sidewalk along Carlotti Drive. The park is a relaxing, natural oasis with a large lake, which makes a popular spot for bird watching.

Parking and Trail Access

A trail parking lot is available off the Exit 173 (Broadway) on US 101.

About mid-trail, you can also park in Preisker Park (330 Hidden Pines Way). From the park's northeast corner, take a quiet residential street—Preisker Lane—north (about a block) to its dead-end at the trail.

On the east side of the trail, nearby parking is available in Jim May Park (809 Stanford Drive). From the park's northeast corner, take the sidewalks along Carlotti Drive a short distance north to Seaward Drive, which you can cross at a crosswalk to reach the trail.

Santa Maria River Levee Trail Reviews

I just rode the entire trail and found that the western end of the trail is gated off at N. Blosser Rd. A sign on the gate shows "No trespassing" on the levee. Trail is mostly hard packed gravel.

I walk this trail on the weekends with my dog, and I see so many people out there. The view of the land is BEAUTIFUL and so worth the walk. It's peaceful and safe. I am so glad I walked this trail. It's good for bikers too with more than enough room for everyone. Come out and enjoy this trail!!

I drove to Santa Marie from Buelton just to ride my Tri-Cruiser on the Trail. I found all the east entrances had very tight turns that would not let my Tri-Cruiser through. Noel Keller 28 Nov 2015


I rode a section of the trail from Bull Canyon Rd to Preisker Park. Since this trail also serves as route for levee maintenance vehicles, it was a wide, compacted gravel surface with minimal slope. I rode a MTB but a road bike would do OK on this trail. My biggest problem with the trail was, as a visitor, I could not find trail heads with easy access to the trail. I ended up lifting my bike over a fence along Panther Drive. I am confident locals have no problems once they explore the trails in the region. I must admit I was frustrated with getting lost. Signage would improve the trail experiences for destination riders from other areas of the country.

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