Ride Local in Santa Barbara County
The following rides are some of the more popular road routes around Santa Barbara and the surrounding area. The routes are mostly loops, and mainly start at local landmarks for clarity. Some of the starting points may not have ample parking, such as the dolphin fountain in downtown Santa Barbara. These routes and their starting points are offered as suggestions, and can easily be modified to fit your personal starting location and riding experience. Please always ride carefully, follow the rules of the road, and carry enough water, nutrition, and tools. Happy riding!
Local Rides - Goleta
This ride is an old shop favorite, giving cyclists a nice tour of Goleta with minimal climbing. The route leads past Goleta Beach, through UCSB’s campus, and out into the low Goleta foothills.
Hope Ranch is a quiet community that occupies the hills just west of the Santa Barbara Mesa. From it’s palm tree lined roads you can catch sweeping views of both mountains and sea.
Old San Marcos Road is a 1,100 foot climb over 3 miles, at an average grade of 7.4%. The road climbs by farm land up into the Santa Ynez Mountains, encountering two steep sets of switchbacks, one topping out at a 30% grade. If you make it to the top of OSM and are looking to keep climbing, you can cross the 154 and head up Painted Cave Road.
Local Rides - Santa Barbara
This scenic route rolls through Montecito and Summerland over a few small hills, and turns around where the Carpinteria Bluffs overlook Rincon Point.
This mostly flat cruise down the SoCal coast follows the 101 from Santa Barbara to Ventura. The ride can be done as a one way or round trip, just be prepared to encounter headwinds as you make your way north, especially in the shoreline sections between Ventura and Carpinteria.
This long loop will lead you around Lake Casitas and back through Ventura. As the route heads inland along the 150, the road narrows and has little shoulder, and the temperature typically rises. Enjoy the rolling hills and lake views before cruising back towards the Ventura coast, then back North to Santa Barbara.
This scenic route begins with a climb up to Mountain Drive from the Mission, then winds along, offering coastal and mountain views. After descending into Montecito, the route leads back along the Santa Barbara shoreline, then turns inland to bring you back to the Mission.
Gibraltar is a six mile climb that ascends 2,500’ at an average 8% Grace. The road is mostly exposed as it winds up into the mountains, and temperatures often vary from Downtown Santa Barbara. The road is mostly exposed to the sun, and offers sweeping views of the Channel Islands and coastline going south to Ventura.
This ride starts from the mission, and heads immediately up Mountain Drive to Gibraltar Road, climbing for the first 8 miles before reaching Camino Cielo. The route will peak out at just under 4,000 vertical feet at La Cumbre Peak, with one smaller peak and sweeping views of Los Padres National Forest remaining before the final descent down Painted Cave Road and Old San Marcos Road. After that the route remains relatively flat, following the bike path then bike lanes back to the Mission. This route can also be done in reverse, with a steeper ascent up Painted Caves Road and a gentler decent down Gibraltar Road.
Local Rides - Santa Ynez Valley
Figueroa Mountain is a classic Santa Ynez climb that traverses through wine country and National Forest mountains. The climb can be strenuous, and most of the road is exposed. For about one mile in the middle of the ascent, Happy Canyon Road turns to dirt and gravel, and there are a couple of small stream crossings. The road conditions can vary along both the climb and the descent, so keep an eye out for potholes hiding in the shade and loose gravel on the turns.