Shandon Chapel: The Mission on the Hill

So I can honestly say that I don’t know really anything about this spot, but I stumbled on it while researching places to go on the way back from the James Dean Memorial. This small chapel on a hill is a beautiful hike and a beautiful view of the surrounding wine country of Paso Robles and if you are in the mood for a random stop then this trip is for you. Update – The kind people from TravelPaso let me know that Chapel Hill was built by “Judge” Clark, an adviser to Ronald Reagan and longtime resident of Shandon, just east of Paso. Judge Clark passed away in 2013 and they are not sure if the chapel is still opened for special events or not.

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  • Half mile hike
  • 300 feet of elevation
  • Location: McMillan Canyon Rd, Shandon, CA

Getting Here

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Off Highway 46 you will want to turn on McMillian Canyon Road which sneaks up on you and is not very well marked. From here you will see the chapel on the hill in the distance and just need to drive down the road to the base of the hill. I went past it to see if the road up to the chapel was open for driving, but it was not. The parking lot was open though and we were the only car so we parked and started up the hill.

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The hill is covered in grape bushes and while beautiful, it’s pretty steep. Remember this if you go in the summer when the area can be really hot. 

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I took my time as I walked up the steep hill and within a tenth of a mile the view was already getting beautiful behind me. I often forget that the rolling hills of Paso Robles can be amazing even when they are brown.

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As you near the top of the hill the chapel will start to come into focus.

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When we reached it I was impressed by the style and beauty of it. It had a Spanish style architecture that was a stark contrast with the rolling hills around it.

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I walked around the mission to see if it was open but unfortunately it was not so I wasn’t able to go inside. It was still beautiful from the outside though and I would love to see photos if any readers have been inside.

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After 15 minutes of walking around and taking in the views we headed back down the steep road to the car.

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It was a beautiful excursion in wine country and I would love to learn more about this unique spot. Make sure to let me know in the comments if you have any information on it.

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