Figueroa Mountain Road South Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

9.9 mi
3,651 ft
6.3 %



Both routes to the top of Figueroa Road, Santa Barbara County, are located almost entirely in Los Padres National Forest (established 1936 by Franklin D. Roosevelt; 1,950,000 acres). The Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area is within the Los Padres National Forest. Figueroa Mountain is part of the Santa Ynez Mountains, which are part of the Pacific Coast Range.  This is a remote and peaceful ride. 
The 6.3% average grade is very misleading.  By removing descent from the gradient calculation, the average grade jumps to 7.9%.  The one mile -6.7% descent beginning at mile three is the main offender in decreasing the average grade.  53% (5.2 miles) is at grades 5-10%, and 20% (1.9 miles) is at 10-15%.  The steepest quarter-mile of the ride is 11.3% and there is a continuous mile averaging 9.9%.

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Roadway:  Good to rough but entirely paved as of 2019.

Traffic:  Minimal.

Parking:  The road is narrow with fencing along each side.  There is a section wide enough to park about a third of a mile from the start of the climb - MapStreet View
Provisions:  None along the route. 
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
Consider this climb as an out-and-back with Figueroa Mountain Road West - that makes the ride 39 miles with 7,400' of climbing (Map).

We have stayed in Buellton for our two times riding both sides of Figueroa Mountain Road and dined at the most famous pea soup-focused restaurant in the world (I love pea soup!) - Andersen's.  Also consider staying in the very fun town of Solvang which is founded on Danish architecture and tradition (Solvang Home Page).  There are many homes and villas to rent in the area too.



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Climbing Figueroa Road by bike - Los Padres National Forest sign and road.

Climbing Figueroa Road South and West in Los Padres National Forest

Both routes to the top of Figueroa Road, Santa Barbara County, are located almost entirely in Los Padres National Forest (established 1936 by Franklin D. Roosevelt; 1,950,000 acres).  The Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area is within the Los Padres National Forest.  Figueroa Mountain is part of the Santa Ynez Mountains which are part of the Pacific Coast Range.

This is the slightly more difficult (6.7 v 6.4 FIETS ranking) of the 2 Figueroa Mountain Road climbs.  These climbs are off the beaten path and remote, although only 17-24 miles from Solvang, CA a very quaint village that has maintained its long-time Danish heritage (Solvang was founded in 1911 by Danes and it has the appearance today of a true Danish village).  Buellton, home of  Anderson’s “World Famous Pea Soup”, is also nearby and another lodging option, as is Santa Barbara which is only 60-70 miles from the start of either climb.

cycling Figueroa Mountain Road - photo of  Anderson's Pea Soup - Solvang restaurant and parking lot

Come for the ride, stay for the soup!

The road is very narrow and has about a mile of fairly hard packed gravel beginning just beyond mile 2.  There are great views of the Santa Ynez Mountain Range throughout the climb which at an average grade of 6.5% ( includes 321’ of descent) does hit 10% for some stretches - the last 4.5 miles average 8.1%.

Start of bike climb on Happy Canyon Road, Santa Barbara County - road and road sign.

Start of climb - Happy Canyon Road.

Los Padres National Forest sign

Climb begins just inside the Los Padres National Forest.

Narrow road on bike bicycle ride

Narrow and remote road in Santa Ynez Mountains.

  View of Santa Ynez Mountains from Happy Canyon Road on ride by bike

Santa Ynez Mountains.

Roadway surface and Traffic:  This is a single lane road most of the way, but the few vehicles we encountered during our climb were very cautious and slow moving.  The roadway is fairly rough with many patched (that’s the key phrase here - “patched”, which is a good thing) potholes, particularly the first half of the climb, but the road has a charm to it and is quite manageable and of no real concern.

Summit:  Both Figueroa South and East share the same summit.  Ranger Peak (1376 m / 4,514’) is just to the south of the finish and White Rock-Munch Canyon Loop is accessed from the finish of our climb - there are hiking trails all through Figueroa Mountain accessed here.

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