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 *(Now Jack’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. * Please Note: As of June 2020 Jack’s Grill is not allowing equestrians to tie-up their horses and dine here. However, JC’s Kitchen – which is just south of Jack’s – allows riders to tie up and the food is excellent.
Skip the Limitations of the Chuckwagon
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 Mexican specialties all at JC’s Kitchen (just south of the former Nino’s Grill) in historic Tempelton.
Where Does A Ride and Dine Trail Ride to Templeton Start?
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:
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
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.
Find the low gate to go over and head towards the riverbed. Continue traveling north.
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.
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.
Head towards Templeton Feed & Grain and find Nino’s Grill across the alley street to the left.
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
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