Back to Carrizo Plain (9 photos)

I already mentioned it in my post about Highway 166: we drove inland during our little April road trip, heading for Carrizo Plain. This is California’s largest remaining undeveloped grassland, a vast area in eastern San Luis Obispo County, embedded between the Temblor Range to the east and the Caliente Range to the west.

We were on Highway 166, at the southern end of the National Monument, entering it from an area we hadn’t been before. At the end of April and this far inland, Spring is mostly over except for the higher elevations, so the grass was getting dry and there were hardly any wildflowers (and the wildflower displays are what makes Carrizo Plain such a fabulous destination earlier in Spring). But thankfully, there were some nice clouds in the sky that accented the terrific landscape.

We stopped here and there, took some side roads leading into the hills, but never too far (when there’s an open gate it always leaves you wondering… will it still be open when we come back?). The visitor center was closed (which was to be expected on a weekday) and so was access to Painted Rock unfortunately. I was hoping it would perhaps be easier to get there and have a look, but didn’t really research current restrictions before we went there – no big deal, but it seems that access restrictions have actually been tightened even more compared to 2011.

By mid afternoon we had reached Soda Lake already, sooner than expected. Soda Lake pretty much marks the northern end of Carrizo Plain, so this gave us plenty of time to continue to Paso Robles, our destination for the day. Below are the photos from Carrizo Plain. I hope you like them.

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