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Santa Barbara Canyon

Average Rating:    (5 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 1

This trails allows access to various trails and camp located in San Rafael and Dick Smith wilderness area. Some possible destinations include Big Pine mountain (31 miles 6000'+ total elevation gain round trip), the highest point in Santa Barbara county, various campsites (Alamar camp, Bluff camp, Bear camp, etc), and valley to coast expedition (probably 40 miles+ one way). There are hardly anyone here, even on weekends. Do bring a lot of water with you -- it is very hot and dry in the summer.
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Trail Directions
From SR33/SR166 junction at New Cuyama, travel west 4.7 miles to Kirschenmann road. Turn south there and ravel for 2.4 miles. At Foothill road, turn left. After 3 miles, the road will join Santa Barbara Canyon road. Keep going on Santa Barbara Canyon road for 7.5 miles to a fork. The left fork goes to a private property, Santa Barbara Canyon ranch. Thr right fork crosses a stream then continues on as a dirt road. You are now entering Los Padres national forest. Park at the end of road after 5.1 miles.
Trail Length
Variable, can be as long as you want
Trail Level
Trail Type
Singletrack & Fire Roads
New Cuyama

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Reviews 1 - 1 (1 Reviews Total)

Review Date
May 20, 2003

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

Visitors rate this review
5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

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Reviewed by: Pat M , from Lompoc

If you like remote this is the ride for you. It's easy technically but go prepared. Don't do this one in wet weather! There is bad-ass adobe mud that will stick to your tires and end your ride. Not to mention kill your bike. It happened to me last May
There is one good spring along the way just below Maldulce saddle. I filled both my 70 oz. bladders there without treating the water and I didnt die. Just get the water out of the pipe. It was flowing about 3-4 gallons a minute in June of 2002. Chokecherry Spring. Can't miss it.
I saw one bear and saw tracks of several others on this ride.
If your'e camping in the area, take the time to visit West Big Pine. Its about 2 miles from the Big Pine-West Big Pine saddle. Since it's in the San Rafael Wilderness you'll have to walk. Its worth it though.
Some of the forest service water tanks along the way have water in them. I would only use in an emergency though.

Recommended Route:
Start just outside Maricopa at Hwy166 and Elkhorn Valley road. Ride up the Elkhorn grade through a stock fence and enter Carrizo Plain Nat Monument. Bear left at the fork. Climb the shoulder of the Elkhorn hills (tough with panniers) and drop down to Soda Lake road. Its a fun rollercoaster down. Go left on Soda Lake road to Hwy 166. Turn left on 166. Its about 6 miles of gentle downhill with good shoulder to Hwy 33. Take 33 about 8 miles. Look for a unsigned dirt road leading to the south-west. Its about 100yds past the signed Ballinger Canyon road. This road crosses the Cuyama river and hooks up with the paved Santa Barbara Canyon road. I found a decent spot to bivouac at a pull-out that is marked with USFS signs about a mile below the S.B. Canyon Ranch. I wouldnt build a fire here though. From there beat it on up the "Corridor" to one of the primitive camps. I chose to bivouac at Bigpine saddle. From there its mostly downhill on bigpine road to Upper Oso on the Santa Ynez river. I spent the Night at Rancho Oso(beer,cheesebergers,swimming pool) in a small cabin (sleeps 4). Next day go up and over Arroyo Burro road (closed to motor vehicles) to Camino Cielo. Go left on Camino Cielo to Gibralter road. From there its all down hill to Santa Barbara. 3&1/2 days at a easy pace.

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Reviews 1 - 1 (1 Reviews Total)