San Luis Obispo is one of my favorite towns in all of California and one of the rides on every local’s repertoire is Prefumo Canyon.
It’s clearly the ride I’ve done the most on my visits and slots in perfectly no matter how much time I seem to have.
Prefumo Canyon sits southeast of town beyond notice tucked away behind a quick layer of suburbia.
This road is actually rooted in the late 19th century, but didn’t connect over to See Canyon until decades later.
The first half of this nearly five mile climb is fairly tame in terms of, but you’re entrenched early on by the creek with little hints of what’s above.
Crossing the cattle guard signals a change of difficulty which soon discourages foliage as you quickly progress upward.
The last mile of this climb is magical framing Morro Bay and the Central Coast even though the rest of the panorama is worthy as well.
While you flirt with double digit steepness, you won’t notice that as much as Prefumo Canyon winds every which way up where the gift of 360 degree views emerge.
Continuing along the ridge, you realize why some of these homeowners have paid a premium being above it all, but soon the pendulum of verticalness swings downward for the payoff you expected.
Normally you’re greeted at the top by a number of wild turkeys, so keep your head on a swivel as you gain speed.
I’ve also crossed the cattle guard too fast before resulting in a deserved flat tire, but after this point you hit a finely manicured stretch of dirt which is only around a mile.
Still, rolling between the trees and an open grove definitely makes the experience feel longer than its stated distance before ending on a short uphill.
Already, Prefumo Canyon has transitioned to See Canyon which doesn’t challenge you with technical curves, but shoddy patches of pavement and the occasional narrow oncomings of cars.
It’s five miles down until you hit the “T” at San Luis Bay Dr. where it’s easy to complete a counter-clockwise loop back to San Luis Obispo or explore on like I did on this adventure.
Prefumo Canyon is not a day trip type of a ride, but if you’re smart you can definitely have it serve in a wide range of capacities for what you’re looking for.