Wine Country Adventures:
What to expect on the trip?
Expect really good trails, really good wine, and really good food.
The Santa Ynez Valley is north of Santa Barbara and that’s where we’ll be spending our weekend. The east to west mountain range has a dramatic effect on the micro-climates and over 50 different varieties of grapes thrive here. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Sauvignon are the most popular. And the trails are beautiful! Great views of the ocean and the valleys, farmland and vineyards.
The movie Sideways was set and shot in Santa Ynez Valley in 2004, drawing more attention to the area and the amazing wines it produces. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely recognize several of the places we’ll visit.
Day 1: Thursday
Day 2: Friday
We’ll start the day with a hot breakfast at the hotel before we head off to Figueroa Mountain for the beautiful 4 mile Lover’s Loop trail. This trail gains about 780 feet to the summit, and then declines back to where we started. Expect stunning views of the valley, peek views of the pacific ocean, old oak trees, and wildflowers! The trail is VERY runnable single track. It’s fast and super fun to run.
We’ll head back to the hotel so you can clean up and shower, before we go to a catered lunch in the vineyards followed by a tasting. Afterwards, we’ll go to Firestone winery for a tour of the production side of wine making - from the crush pad to the fermentation cellar to the barrel room plus more tasting. We’ll finish the night with gourmet pizza (& wine) in Buellton; think casual and comfortable, but elevated.
Day 3: Saturday
This morning we’re heading into Los Padres National Forest to run down the mountain! We’ve saved the most challenging run for today, it’s 6.5 miles and some steep technical downhill, but the views are worth it. On a clear day, you will have views of the Channels Islands off the Pacific coast, AND the Santa Ynez valley from the same spot! The first 2 miles are run on a wide dirt road with ocean views on the right and Santa Ynez valley views on the left. The dirt road goes uphill for the first ¼ mile but then its downhill to the top of Tequepis Trail Summit. There are some rocky sections on the dirt road but its all very runnable.
Once you hit the top of the trail, you start a steep, but mostly runnable, 2400 foot descent over the next 4 miles entirely on single track. The trail is steep, and super pretty. You will need to watch for roots and rocks sticking out, as well as day hikers who may be coming up the trail on a Saturday morning. The last ½ mile is mostly flat with some descent down through the kids camp where the trail ends.
We’ll finish the trail near Cachuma Lake, then travel back to the hotel to get ready for more wine country adventures. Then we’re off to a lovely picnic lunch at Doll Pond followed by a boutique wine tasting. You’ll have the opportunity to try wines from small batch vintners who don’t sell their wines anywhere else.
After lunch we’ll drive to Los Olivos where you’ll have your pick of tasting rooms to visit (how many you fit in is up to you!). Interested in biodiverse or organic wines? Partial to Rose or Chardonnay? This is your chance to test out a variety of wines. In the evening, you’re free to explore the charm of Solvang. Pick up some pastries at Olsen’s bakery, check out original Hans Christian Anderson manuscripts at the local bookstore, shopx at one of the many boutique stores, or take time to visit a local spa for a relaxing massage.
Day 4: Sunday
We’ll start the morning with a hearty breakfast and strong coffee before we take off into Santa Ynez valley. This morning we’ll run through one of the prettiest vineyards you have ever seen right in the heart of the famed Santa Rita Hills. This run will start at the Sanford Winery Tasting Room parking lot, and head for 1.75 miles around the relatively flat lima bean field. Just before the 2-mile mark runners will begin climbing 350 feet of elevation and be rewarded with one of the best views in the valley from the Rinconada and Sanford & Benedict Vineyards. The final 2 miles, as runners head back to the finish line adjacent to the Sanford Winery Tasting Room, is primarily downhill with some light rolling hills. After this 5 mile run, we’ll enjoy a tasting of wines created from the very grapes you just ran through.
Then it’s time to go back to the hotel where you’ll have time to pack up and get ready for a really special lunch at Petros’ brand new tasting room. As a group we’ll enjoy a leisurely 7 course Greek meal with perfectly balanced wine pairings. It’s the absolute best way to finish out the weekend together.
After lunch, we’ll return you to Solvang.
Glacier Half Marathon Runner
Yellowstone Half Marathon Runner