Virtual Guidebook to El Camino Real
San Andreas Rift in San Luis Obispo County
between Parkfield and the Carrizo Plain California


The rift zone of the San Andreas Fault is easily visible in the grassy hills of eastern San Luis Obispo County. It consists of a series of low scarps, aligned notches, sag ponds, and offset drainages. It provides an easy route through the low hills, followed by a series of minor roads.

Tracing the fault can be a delightful springtime outing, watching for tell-tale rift features and enjoying the green hills and wildflowers.



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This memorial to the film actor James Dean was erected by a Japanese admirer. It is near the location where he was killed in a traffic accident in 1955.

(March 28, 2009)


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A special structure where a natural gas pipeline crosses the San Andreas Fault. The pipeline comes up above ground and is mounted on skids, designed to allow offsets that might occur along the rift, either gradually or suddenly.

(March 28, 2009)


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If you know what to look for, the San Andreas Rift can be seen clearly along Davis Road.

(March 28, 2009)


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The Bitterwater Valley, a series of small connected hollows, follows the San Andreas Rift.

(March 28, 2009)


Next Locality: Northern Carrizo Plain