Climbing Figueroa Road South and West
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 two Figueroa Mountain Road climbs. These climbs are off the beaten path and remote, although only 17-24 miles from Solvang, California, a very quaint village that has maintained its long-time Danish heritage. The town 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. Additionally, Santa Barbara is only 60-70 miles from the start of either climb.
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 two. There are great views of the Santa Ynez Mountain Range throughout the climb, which at an average grade of 6.5% (including 321’ of descent) does hit 10% for some stretches - the last 4.5 miles average 8.1%.
Start of climb - Happy Canyon Road.
Beware of wet and mossy pavement around mile 4.7.
Gravel from miles 2.2 to 3.1.
Climb is in the Los Padres National Forest.
Left hairpin onto Figueroa Mountain Road at mile 6.5.
PJAMM App during ride.
Narrow and remote road in Santa Ynez Mountains.
Santa Ynez Mountains top left and bottom photos.
Roadway Surface and Traffic Report: 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 potholes (that’s the key phrase here - “patched,” which is a good thing), 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.
Finish at the pass - descend Figueroa West.
That’s a wrap!
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