Cross Country Road

a car driving down a dirt road with the words cross country road on it

key: paved dirt

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  • GPX file:
  • Track Length: 7.8 miles, including about 5.2 miles of well-maintained dirt.
  • Track Duration: 30 minutes.
  • Difficulty Rating: EASY
  • Track Conditions: Paved at each end, dirt in the middle. The dirt road is arguably in better shape than the paved sections.
  • Recommended Vehicle: Most vehicles will manage just fine in the dry. Unknown conditions in the wet season.
  • Camping: No camping along Cross Country Road (it passes through private ranch properties).

Our ongoing search for local dirt roads that are ‘off the beaten track’ came up with Cross Country Road, near San Miguel on California’s Central Coast. Curiously, this road was featured on Google Street View, meaning they’d sent their camera vehicle along it.

We decided to take a quick detour on the way back from town to check it out in the Subaru Crosstrek! Cross Country Road is a 7-mile stretch running from Vineyard Canyon Road at one end to Indian Valley Road at the other. There’s a mile or so of paved road at either end, with a 5-mile dirt section in the middle. The road is well maintained and serves mostly for access to the ranches through which it cuts. No dramatic shelf roads or steep inclines, this road probably looks much the same today as it did 100 years ago, a pleasant trip back in time through oak-dotted ranch land.

The Crosstrek was perfect for the drive, with no problems with clearance at any point on the track, other than the vegetation growing in the middle of the road at points, which brushed against the underside of the car. In fact, this dirt road is in better condition than many of the paved roads in the area, likely because of the close proximity of Parkfield and the San Andreas Fault line.

However, it’s important to remember that you cannot camp along Cross Country Road. Also, bear in mind that roads like this often pass through private lands. So, even though you have the right to drive on the road, you must always respect any no-trespassing signs you see.

Check out the other tracks in our Off The Beaten Track series.

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