Juan Bautista de Anza Trail is a 2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Atascadero, California that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
This trail, directly across the railroad tracks from the Jim Green Trail, wanders down in and around the Salinas riverbed. It is mostly all soft to medium packed sand and dirt. Offering plenty of switchbacks and mini-loops to accommodate any length desired. Good for horseback riding an dogs too.
Nice to go on a crisp cool weather day. Morning or late afternoon would be perfect. Trail is fairly easy to walk and level in most areas. There are a couple of interesting sights to see along the way. Otherwise, I would say it was more of a relaxing stroll on a open air trail.
It's ok... not real exciting.
This trail was very confusing, if you're doing for the first time, as far as knowing which way to go and when to turn back because the riverbed is riddled with dirt bike trails and horse trails that criss cross all over the place. There are two trail heads - one on Cortez (park and cross the rail road tracks) and one on Aragon. The Atascadero Trail Guide shows and distinct loop, but the path on all trails is more of a backtrack. The first time we tried this we started at the Cortez trailhead and veered right at pretty much each junction, trying to follow the path on All Trails, until it finally dead ended and we had to turn back. This way was really kind if neat as it passes by a neat abandoned and rusted out 50's era car, and then takes you to some fresh water pools which at this time has ducks, small fish, and tadpoles. The trail continues even further, but you would have to cross water, so it may be more for horses at that point. If you want to do the 1.7 mile loop as shown on the Atascadero trail guide then follow our second track, being sure to turn at the waypoint- it's only after you make the turn that you'll see the trail marker.
The trail starts and finishes with more shaded, wooded areas, but the majority of it is fairly exposed. In the warmer months is probably best as a morning/evening walk.