Ride and Dine Trail Ride The New Cowboy Way : Riding the SLO County Trails

Ride and Dine Trail Ride The New Cowboy Way : Riding the SLO County Trails | SLO Horse News

One can work up an appetite or a thirst craving out on the horse trail. A ride and dine trail ride is what the cowboys used to do out on the range with a cook grilling up grub in the chuckwagon.

In years gone by, the cattle drive was the main mode of transporting cattle to market and up until a few years ago cattle were driven down the center of historic Templeton. Most of the daylight hours were spent in the saddle moving the cattle over hill and dale. One thing was for certain, cowboys on the trail expected to be well-fed. Hence, the chuckwagon became an important part of the drive. The cooks were limited to provisions they had on hand with the occasional addition of something culled along the way.

Ride and Dine the New Cowboy Way

Today, a ride and dine trail ride is one of both fun and purpose with a little more civility. Cowboys and cowgirls don’t need to spend all day in the saddle, they can wash up before they eat then sit down to a table setting with a menu in hand.

Local trail riders can mosey along their own ride and dine trail ride to Nino’s Grill in Templeton. The restaurant is accessible by horse back and welcomes cowboys and cowgirls to park their steeds and come in to fill a belly or quench a thirst. It’s the new cowboy way.

Skip the Limitations of the Chuckwagon

Ride and Dine Trail Ride The New Cowboy Way : Riding the SLO County Trails | SLO Horse News
Horses say hello..
Photo Credit: Gina Killingsworth

Today we can skip the limitations of the chuckwagon and enjoy a more civilized meal in a comfortable setting. It’s the new cowboy way. Your trail food choices range from farm-fresh salads to great-tasting grilled specialties all at Nino’s Grill in historic Tempelton.

Where Does A Ride and Dine Trail Ride to Templeton Start?

Staging Area

Ride and Dine Trail Ride The New Cowboy Way : Riding the SLO County Trails | SLO Horse News
De Anza Estates Equestrian Arena – The Home Depot Center Arena
Photo credit: Sharon Jantzen Photos

Park your rig at the De Anza Estates Equestrian Arena (a.k.a. The Home Depot Arena) in Atascadero.

Directions to the De Anza Estates Equestrian Arena:

Ride and Dine Trail Ride The New Cowboy Way : Riding the SLO County Trails | SLO Horse News
Photo credit: Sharon Jantzen Photos

Take the 101 to San Ramon Exit from the North, turn left onto El Camino Real or El Camino Real Exit from the South and go straight to N Ferrocarril Road and turn right. Keep going through the residential area and you will soon see the arena on your left.


Trail to the Riverbed to the North

Ride and Dine Trail Ride The New Cowboy Way : Riding the SLO County Trails | SLO Horse News
Juan Bautista de Anza Trail
Photo credit: Sharon Jantzen Photos

After you have unloaded your horses and tacked them up you will head in the northern direction. Take the main trail (San Juan Bautista de Anza Trail) going in the north direction in the very beginning only.

Ride and Dine Trail Ride The New Cowboy Way : Riding the SLO County Trails | SLO Horse News
Low gate to trail leading out to riverbed.
Photo credit: Sharon Jantzen Photos

Find the low gate to go over and head towards the riverbed. Continue traveling north.

Ride and Dine Trail Ride The New Cowboy Way : Riding the SLO County Trails | SLO Horse News
Map of getting out of the riverbed and heading towards Nino’s Grill.

Once under the Templeton bridge you will want to hug the left side of the riverbed. Be looking for the tall part of the back side of Templeton Feed & Grain; Nino’s Grill is next door across the alley. There could be pink trail markers to guide you thanks to a local rider.

Ride and Dine Trail Ride The New Cowboy Way : Riding the SLO County Trails | SLO Horse News
Look for the backside of Templeton Feed and Grain
Photo credit: Gina Killingsworth
Ride and Dine Trail Ride The New Cowboy Way : Riding the SLO County Trails | SLO Horse News
Photo credit: Gina Killingsworth

On the riverbed side of the tracks is a white metal pole with orange at the top. Head towards that pole coming out of the riverbed where you will cross the rail road tracks.


You will cross over the railroad tracks where there is clear visibility in both directions.

Ride and Dine Trail Ride The New Cowboy Way : Riding the SLO County Trails | SLO Horse News
On the town side of the railroad tracks looking towards the riverbed.
Photo Credit: Gina Killingsworth

Head towards Templeton Feed & Grain and find Nino’s Grill across the alley street to the left.

Ride and Dine Trail Ride The New Cowboy Way : Riding the SLO County Trails | SLO Horse News
Nino’Grill Horse Tie bar with manure removal equipment.
Photo credit: Gina Killingsworth

Where to Tie-up Your Horses

There is a low rail in the parking lot right outside the restaurant where you can tie up your horses to hang out while you dine. Please note the manure fork and trash can for the manure so don’t leave your horse apples behind. There is room for about six horses out front.


Notes for a Perfect Day

  • Pack a halter or have your horse wear one and have a lead for tying up.
  • Bring money for a meal and a refreshing drink at Nino’s Grill.
  • Allow about an hour to travel from the arena to Nino’s Grill at a walk pace.
  • The riverbed sand can be deep and you will probably cross through water.
  • Due to the changing conditions in the riverbed the pathway will change month to month.
  • Please don’t leave road apples behind at Nino’s Grill.

Many thanks to Gina Killingsworth for the ride photos, info and trail markings.

Other photos: Sharon Jantzen Photos


Get Going! Explore the wonder and beauty of the SLO County trails from the best place on earth, the back of a horse. To keep this info at your fingertips we have developed a FREE Hot Sheet that will direct you to these these stories. We’ll continue to add trail ride stories to our website. You can stay up-to-date by becoming a SLO Horse News herd member. Get your Riding the SLO County Trails Hot Sheet here >.

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Former Pony Clubber, Eventer and Dressage rider who balanced training and showing with getting a college degree (from Cal Poly SLO), becoming a wife and raising a family.

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