Home California Off The Beaten Path in Paso Robles – California’s New Wine Country

Off The Beaten Path in Paso Robles – California’s New Wine Country

written by Penny Sadler


Updated: 5/10/2017 Outback Trail Rides is no more. However, you can still enjoy the great wines and the scenery at Calcareous Vineyards. And don’t miss Wine Down Wednesday – June 7 – September 27, 2017. Enjoy wood-fired pizza, and live music until 8:00 pm. That sounds like a nice way to break up the week to me. 


Calcareous consistently produces award winning wines with character. Check out their current offerings and don’t miss the Tres Violets.

Paso Robles is California’s hottest new wine destination. With over 200 wineries and 30,000 acres under vine, Paso (as the locals refer to it) is the state’s largest geographic appellation. Located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles it’s an unusual destination that still feels a little bit off the beaten path.

Paso Robles California wine country

photo adapted by Adventures of a Carry-on

Off The Beaten Path in Paso Robles, California

View of the Calcareous vineyards

To get a sense of the history of the area and why it’s become a premier wine destination, take a tour of Calcareous Vineyards with Outback Trail Rides. Rolling hills are covered in tall grasses and huge oak trees: here at 1200 feet above the Salinas valley, you can imagine Paso Robles when it was mostly cattle ranches and almond farms. This is considered one of the best spots for scenic views in Paso Robles.

Off the beaten path in Paso Robles, California's new wine country @PennySadler 2015

View from the wagon

Outback Trail Rides offers a tour of the vineyards via a traditional horse-drawn wagon, or on horseback. Calcareous is over 400 acres of what was once a 700 acre cattle ranch. Today about twenty-seven acres are planted with wine grapes.

I opted for the wagon ride so that I could focus on the scenery. It reminded me a little of my home state of Texas, minus the cattle. If you want to take photos the wagon ride is a good option.. it’s pretty hard to wrangle a horse and camera at the same time. Not to mention the wagon ride includes a bottle of Calcareous wine.

Off the beaten path in California's new wine country, Paso robles @PennySadler 2015

Touring the countryside by horse drawn wagon.

Your driver and guide Mick (an Aussie with a great sense of humor and accent), will keep you informed and entertained as he guides the horses up and down the hills, stopping frequently to admire the expansive vistas. And to drink more wine, of course. Never fear, you don’t have to be to be a cowboy or even a wine drinker to enjoy a wagon ride with Outback Trail Rides.



Off the beaten path in Paso Robles, California's new wine country @PennySadler 2015

Mick, our Aussie guide. Doesn’t he look like a real cowboy?

Alternatively you can get off the beaten path on horseback. Chose either a one hour ride or add an additional half hour starting at $75 per person. Outback also offers horseback riding on the beach just 30 minutes west of Paso Robles.

Calcareous Vineyards is located at 3430 Peachy Canyon Rd.

Many thanks to Travel Paso for providing me with this opportunity to see Paso Robles from a different perspective.

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Kacy August 19, 2015 at 3:02 pm

What a unique way to explore a vineyard! I really want to explore more of California’s wine regions. There are so many!

Penny Sadler August 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm

California is indeed one big vineyard. The wagon ride is super fun.

Casey August 9, 2015 at 2:00 am

So glad you got to this place for yourself! Sounds like you had an awesome time. I can see why this is becoming the hottest new wine destination! Who wouldn’t want to take a scenic wagon ride with a bottle of wine included?! I’ll definitely have to check this place out. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

Penny Sadler August 17, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Calcareous is making some really great wines so it’s worth visiting the winery too.

Lillie August 7, 2015 at 12:20 am

How neat to learn about up-and-coming new wine areas! We were just in the Finger Lakes region of New York, which is big on wine, but I need to make it out to this area of California soon.

Penny Sadler August 8, 2015 at 4:46 pm

I tried some New York wines last fall. Very nice!

noel August 2, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Can you believe I drove through the area and didn’t even have time to visit some wineries, too many other things in the area to visit. But I must stop and enjoy those amazing wines some day and a nice carriage ride too!

Penny Sadler August 2, 2015 at 3:00 pm

There really is a lot to do. I’d like to take in a concert in at the Vina Robles Amphitheater.

Lindsay Nieminen July 27, 2015 at 3:52 pm

Horse Back Riding and Wine! Sounds like a great day to me! It would be hard to choose between the wine on the wagon or getting to see the gorgeous views on horseback! (maybe we could put a bottle in the saddlebags!)

Jenna July 26, 2015 at 10:57 pm

What a fun find! I had never heard about this area–it’s fun that it is a bit off the beaten path! The carriage ride sounds like a lot of fun, too. I’m definitely going to have to add it to our list for our next visit to California!

Meg Jerrard July 26, 2015 at 8:43 pm

Sounds like a wicked experience! We’re spending a bit of time in California soon, and are planning on hitting up Napa – had no idea Paso Robles was the new up and coming wine capitol. And had never thought about experiencing the country on horse back – seriously fab idea!! Time to change around our itinerary a bit for this experience!!

Mia July 25, 2015 at 2:18 pm

I am so doing this! My husband’s brother moved there a couple of years ago and we haven’t been for a visit. This is the perfect excuse to get up there and add some couple time in after family time. Great information!

Penny Sadler July 25, 2015 at 5:36 pm

So glad you found it helpful.

Lesley July 25, 2015 at 8:37 am

I love how beautiful the vines look. They are so well groomed.

A traditional horse-drawn wagon would be a great way to explore.


Penny Sadler July 25, 2015 at 12:39 pm

It’s easy and a lot more fun than I expected!

Danka July 25, 2015 at 1:47 am

My dream is to own a house in vineyards one day…
When I was reading your article I was sure I would go for the horse ride since I love riding horses but then you mentioned that the wagon ride includes a bottle of wine… I guess you got me there…
Horses, beautiful scenery and a bottle of wine. YES, PLEASE!

Penny Sadler July 25, 2015 at 11:09 am

Glad you liked it!

Marie-Carmen July 25, 2015 at 12:47 am

This looks great! It’s got such a Western movie feel to it! Even more with that wagon! They just need to provide the old costumes to complete the look!

I’ve always got difficulty to imagine California as a wine country (that’s the French in me) but it’s part of the area now and the mix of the horse riding and the vineyards has got something so… American to it! That would probably be something I would try if I get there!

Penny Sadler July 25, 2015 at 11:08 am

Hi Marie, Yep California wine and French wine is so wildly different. If you don’t like the wine you can go for the views, the experience and the fun people!


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