Figueroa Mountain Road West Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Figueroa Mountain Road West


Quiet climb into Southern California's Los Padres National Forest

Explore this Climb

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Climb Summary

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.

Figueroa South


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.

Figueroa West

   The climb up Figueroa West is similar to the Southern approach, although the views on this segment are primarily to the south (Santa Ynez Valley), while the Western approach offers a bit broader view radius (primarily north, south and west).  The sustained pitches on this climb are slightly more challenging than the southern approach (several sections with grades between 8-15% - see elevation profile, below) - this is a very challenging and rewarding climb.  We rode most of this climb in the rain which dampened our views, but as you can see from the video and photographs, this is a climb you will appreciate and certainly not regret. Much of the climb from both approaches is through the Los Padres National Forest.

Bicycle climb on Figueroa Mountain Road West - Start of climb and cattle warning sign

Start of climb on Figueroa Mountain Road

Cycling Figueroa Mountain Road west - Los Padres National Forest sign

Enter National Forest at mile 3.1

Bike climb on Figueroa Mountain Road West - photo of road and Santa Ynez Mountains.

Wide open views on this climb

Roadway surface and Traffic: The first 3 miles of this climb are on rough roadway which smooths out considerably once we enter
Los Padres National Forest just after the 3 mile mark.  As with Figueroa South, the road is essentially one lane, but there is minimal traffic and this is a safe and isolated climb.