Just got back from a great trip to Templeton with visits to Paso Robles and Atascadero. I'd only ridden the coastal side of the area before (Cambria/San Simeon). I had no idea how hilly this place was. Basically, you're in the hills the whole time, so be prepared for some climbing. The scenery is incredible, so that helps lessen the pain. The main hwy. that slices through the valley is Hwy. 46, a beautiful stretch of rollies mixed with steeper climbs and descents. The bike lane is wide and the car traffic, while fast moving, is not too heavy. There's an epic looking steep 5 mile climb on 46 if you come from Hwy. 1 (part of a longer climb and drop section that is about 9 miles total before it backs off into Templeton). I want to try stretch that next trip. I saw riders going up it and it seems relentless even driving it in a car.
I got in two rides over four days (Strava routes below). With all the climbing, one has to just accept getting lower than usual average speeds. The roads are narrow at times with no bike lanes but traffic is light and I think cars are used to dealing with bikes there. All gave me wide berth as they passed and I got no horn blowing or finger salutes while there. I have to give top billing to Peachy Canyon Road as it's got pristine asphalt (other roads may have typical country wear on them), low car traffic and epic climbs and descent. The scenery along it and just about anywhere there is sweet--sage scrub, huge oaks, walnut orchards or vineyards. I can't wait to get up there again.
Need directions? Shadow Canyon
The west end of Peachy Canyon
Walnut trees halfway down Peachy Canyon
Gobble-Gobble! Wild turkeys along Willow Creek Road