I opted to run on the Santa Maria Levee Bike Trail while heading up to Northern California. I planned to run in San Luis Obisbo but I didn’t feel like spending $400 on hotels, so opted to stay in Santa Maria. I could have driven up there in the morning but honestly, I wanted to relax and wanted to run from the hotel. I was lucky to discover the Santa Maria Levee Bike Trail was not far from my hotel.
A Brief History of the Santa Maria Levee Bike Trail:
The Santa Maria Levee was initially constructed to serve as a flood control measure for the city. The levee was a necessary protection given Santa Maria’s geographical location and the occasional threat of flooding.
But, like many utilitarian constructions, the city saw the potential for dual purposes. The levee soon transformed into a space for recreational activities. The Santa Maria Levee Bike Trail was born out of the desire to maximize this space for the community, allowing residents to experience the serene beauty of the area while engaging in healthy activities.
Distance: 6.7 miles
Elevation: 232 feet
Gear Used: ASICS Superblast You won’t need trail shoes, but if you plan to go very far, it’s good to have a pair of walking or running shoes.
Santa Maria Levee Bike Trail Address: 2457 Santa Maria Levee Trail Santa Maria, CA
*Keep in mind there are a few places to enter the Levee trail.
Running along the Santa Maria Levee Bike Trail:
I was surprised when I got to the Santa Maria Levee Bike Trail, with no bathrooms. Luckily, there was a park about a tenth of a mile from the trail that had a porta potty. When I arrived, there were only a couple of people parked at the park and one person parked at the trail. The other surprising feature was that it was all gravel. I don’t love running on gravel, but I would rather run on gravel than have to stop at a bunch of stoplights. There is no shade along the trail so bring water.
For the most part, the Santa Maria Levee Bike Trail is just a straight shot with plenty of views of the surrounding mountains. It’s beautiful, and I saw plenty of walkers, runners, and even a few bikers. I can’t say my run was “great,” but I also didn’t feel the best on the day. I did really enjoy the views, especially with the clouds coming right over the mountains. It’s not really a “hike” and you aren’t going up any mountains but it is a nice flat area to walk or run a few miles. It’s great for small children or beginners.
Is the Santa Maria Levee Bike Trail safe? Yes, there is a large neighborhood near by. There is a large homeless population in the neighboring area, but at no point did I feel uncomfortable.
I loved to view the different birds, as well as the surrounding views of the farmlands and mountains. In all, if you are looking for a fun and easy spot to run, the Santa Marie Levee Bike Trail is a good option.
Santa Marie Levee Bike Trail Conclusion:
In all, the Santa Marie Levee Bike Trail is a nice place to stop to stretch your legs or if you are looking for a place to run without dealing with the city area. Just keep in mind there are no bathrooms, and it is gravel.
You can see Strava here and all hikes/trail runs here.
Question for you: Have you been to Santa Maria?