Los Flores Ranch Park is an excellent place for riders of any skill level who are looking for great riding in the Santa Maria Valley. There are several trails all over the park to choose from. It’s recommended to enjoy the park in the spring or fall because the trails are very exposed and can become quite hot in the summers. The old oak trees can provide shade on some trails, but most of the shade falls outside of trail boundaries.
Getting there is quite easy from Santa Maria. A quick route takes you down Highway 101 about 6 miles and east on Clark Avenue for another 2 miles before reaching the park. And a more scenic route follows Foxen Canyon Road through the gorgeous Santa Maria Valley vineyards, taking Dominion Road past Cottonwood Canyon Winery. If you have some extra time, stop by Cottonwood Canyon for wine tasting and a cave tour!
Once you reach the park you will find a small dirt parking lot marked with a trailhead sign and metal gate. Only authorized vehicles are allowed to continue passed the gate. You will have to park just outside the gate and walk the road the rest of the way to the visitor center. If you are not a resident of Santa Maria, you will have to pay a small fee to enter. The fees are as follows (everyone must check in at the visitor center):
The visitor center can provide you with a trail map and recommendations for a hike fit for your skill level and time commitment. In the center there are a few live creatures to check out as well as many wildlife skeletons collected from nearby. Just up the hill and to the right of the center is a small corral with livestock that you’re welcome to visit. At times they will have a few donkeys, goats, and a miniature horse!
There are several great places for hiking in the Santa Maria area, but few for mountain biking. With the exception of Orcutt Hill, there are few areas with trails that are great for riding. Most rental companies are down in Santa Barbara, but if you’re just looking for a bike tune-up or repair, Santa Maria Bici Centro is an excellent shop! The manager, Ken, is very nice and happy to help. The Bici Centro also runs community programs out at Los Flores Ranch Park and works to provide bikes for kids to ride on specialized youth ride days.
Something important to note: The ranch is only open Thursday through Sunday during daylight hours. Although it is not open seven days a week, they put a lot of work into the days they are open. For your convenience, the staff at the park very graciously stages water stations throughout the park for you to stay hydrated! This is a wonderful gesture that many parks don't offer. In October they offer a Halloween fun for the whole family. The Patch at Los Flores Ranch Park hosts a corn maze and a pumpkin patch for the seasonal festivities!