Finding Parkfield isn't always easy. That's to be expected where the "city limits" sign indicates population of 18. This out-of-the-way paradise lies in a tranquil valley bounded by the coast ranges about 15 miles north of Hwy 46, and 23 miles east of Hwy 101. Using MapQuest or Expedia is no sure thing -- even if they show Parkfield's location, they may designate a route that's impassable for all but 4-wheel drive vehicles. For most vehicles (including RV's), either of two different approaches may be used to access Parkfield.
The first approach is commonly used by those coming from points between Bakersfield and Sacramento, i.e., via Hwy 99 and I-5: Take Hwy 41 or 46 westbound to the point where these two highways intersect ["James Dean Memorial Junction"]. Then head westbound only a couple hundred yards to the very next right (northbound) onto Cholame Rd., where signage indicates 15 miles to Parkfield. This road is flat and mostly straight, with a few 90-degree dog-legs. After 14 miles, look for the three-way intersection with sign clearly indicating right turn to Parkfield. Make that turn to cross over the San Andreas Fault bridge and travel the last few hundred yards into Parkfield. Be advised that Cholame road is subject to flooding (at a point roughly three miles north of Hwys 41/46) for several days following any substantial rainfall -- latest road conditions may be checked at this web-site or by calling 805-937-5895. Note that drivers choosing to access this road from Paso Robles, by driving eastbound along Hwys 41/46, will turn left (northbound) just a few hundred yards after passing through the hamlet of Cholame [a.k.a. Jackranch Café].
The second approach to Parkfield is recommended for those coming from coastal locales, i.e., via Hwy 101: Exit Hwy 101 at the town of San Miguel (about nine miles north of Paso Robles), and take the main drag (Mission Street, which parallels the railroad tracks) to its intersection with 14th St../River Rd. -- there you'll see the first of six signs placed at successive road junctions indicating the way to Parkfield. Take River Rd. across the railroad tracks, so that you head east toward the Salinas River, roughly one-half mile away. Upon crossing the river's bridge turn LEFT. Then, after going a couple hundred yards this road forks into a "Y" -- take the LEFT fork (Indian Valley Rd.) and go about a mile to another "Y". There go RIGHT onto Vineyard Canyon Rd., putting you on the road to Parkfield, roughly 21 miles away. This road features gentle curves and relatively flat terrain for all but a roughly five-mile segment that rises several hundred feet before descending into Parkfield's Valley. Shortly after completing this descent you will find a "T" intersection -- turn right, as the sign clearly indicates to Parkfield. After four or five miles look for the well-signed intersection next to a bridge crossing the creek which traces the San Andreas fault, less than half a mile from Parkfield. Here turn left, go across the bridge, and there you are! Note that while the road from San Miguel generally is passable in all weather conditions for RV's and other vehicles, it may be difficult to follow during hours of darkness.
To search the internet for driving directions and mileage, try entering the following destination: intersection of Vineyard Canyon Rd. and Cholame Rd., San Miguel 93451 or try Google Maps. This intersection sits by a bridge across which Parkfield is visible, about a quarter-mile away. For more information about the town of Parkfield and its fascinating history, go to www.parkfield.com.