Sometimes you want to bike by the ocean, sometimes you want to bike in the mountains, and sometimes you want both. For those with high demands, the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition
has put together an ideal 15.9-mile loop through Santa Barbara and Montecito. Their easy-to-follow guide offers turn-by-turn directions and a map with numbered highlights. Pedal away from Stearns Wharf, the main pier in Santa Barbara, and venture up State Street toward the lower slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains. After an 800-foot climb on paved bike lanes and low traffic canyon roads, the trail crosses Mountain Drive, overlooking the world-class coast and house-dotted hills that make this area famous. Tracing the edge of the Los Padres National Forest, the road passes Cold Spring Creek at the start of Cold Spring Trail
. Leaving the mountains, you’ll then coast toward the coast and the charming Coast Village Area (where you can get your Burrito Bonus, see below). From there, fly down to Butterfly Beach—a five-star stretch of sand across from the Four Seasons Hotel—and roll along the tranquil lagoon in the Andrea Clark Bird Refuge. If you don’t see any of the feathered creatures that flock to these wetlands, see if you can spot the top half of a giraffe as you bike past the Santa Barbara Zoo. Close out the day on a bike trail along East Beach cruising between sea-swept palms. Ocean cool down!
BURRITO BONUS: En route, make a pit stop at Los Arroyos (1280 Coast Village Rd.) in Montecito. Grab the oozing-with-flavor Chile Verde Burrito to enjoy on their patio or make it a take-out to enjoy at Butterfly Beach.
The ride begins from the dolphin fountain at the intersection of Cabrillo Blvd. and State St. in Santa Barbara (map). Follow the Coalition’s route for the Mountain Drive Bike Ride. Rental bikes are available across from the fountain at Wheel Fun Rentals. Dog-friendly!