Williams Hill, Lockwood San Ardo Road

a dirt road with the words lockwood san ardo road on it

key: paved dirt

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  • GPX file: https://www.overlandbound.com/map-location/10174
  • Track Length: 15 miles (including a detour to the BLM campsite, about 10 miles of dirt on a straight pass)
  • Track Duration: 1hr 10mins (inc. detour)
  • Difficulty Rating: EASY
  • Track Conditions: Dirt, mostly well-graded. Shelf roads. Single lane track, be prepared to deal with (rare) oncoming traffic. Several tight corners and long vehicles are not advised.
  • Recommended Vehicle: 4WD or AWD is recommended, but most vehicles will manage just fine in the dry. Avoid in the wet season.
  • Camping: BLM / Williams Hill Recreation Area formal campsite (no water, electricity. Vault toilet). Dispersed camping.
  • Website: https://www.blm.gov/visit/williams-hill

In the first of an occasional new series which we are calling “Off The Beaten Track”, we take California’s scenic Lockwood San Ardo Road dirt track from the San Ardo end, in the Salinas Valley, up to Williams Hill Bureau Of Land Management (BLM) National Recreation Area and then over to the town of Lockwood, in the valley of the River San Antonio.

This dirt track is (Monterey) County maintained in the lower stretches and passes through the BLM Williams Hill National Recreation area as it crests the hill, gaining some 2,000 feet in elevation over a distance of about 5 miles as the track winds to the top. We check out Williams Hill campsite at the summit and explore a mile or two of the BLM trails at the top. There are other trails to explore in the BLM area and we plan to go back and do a little more exploration in the future.

Check out our return trip here

The track is well maintained, and there is no need for 4WD during the dry months. We saw cars and vans in the campground at the top. The drive is scenic, offering spectacular views from the summit, down into the Salinas Valley to the east, and into the San Antonio Valley to the west.

For information on Williams Hill BLM National Recreation Area, including camping information for both the formal campsite and for dispersed camping, see the official BLM site here: https://www.blm.gov/visit/williams-hill

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

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