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Santa Barbara Canyon Road

This road is hard to find, but worth it - a hidden gem in far northern Santa Barbara County. It starts out as a paved one-lane road, but changes to dirt about five miles in. Gorgeous, isolated back country, and an excellent road. On our first visit (2011:10:10, the same day as a visit to Apache Canyon Road), the sun was setting and we didn’t get as far down the east fork at the end as we’d like; we later went back for a second visit [unfortunately the photos of the second visit are lost] and this time reached the start of the Tinta Trail (which we didn’t take) and to the fire tower on Cuyama Peak. The west fork ends at a gate (hikers and bicyclists can proceed).

You can go further east (at the bottom) than is shown on this map; we didn’t on our first visit because we’d arrived late in the day and the sun was setting.

These first photos are taken at the point where we parked; the road ends at a T and continues to the right as a single lane, so we unloaded the bikes and set out from here.

Oct 10 2011, 16:37:40

Oct 10 2011, 16:37:47

Oct 10 2011, 16:37:51

See that dirt road at the middle of the picture? On the maps this is shown as a shortcut across the Cuyama River to the 33. But we were told by a local that this isn’t real; use Foothill Road instead.

Oct 10 2011, 16:37:56

Oct 10 2011, 16:50:38

Still on the paved section of the one-lane road, we paused to take some pictures of this wash. It’s late in the day and the low light brings out the drama of the landforms.

Oct 10 2011, 16:50:44

Oct 10 2011, 16:50:51

Oct 10 2011, 16:51:08

Oct 10 2011, 16:51:16

This next set of pictures is taken at the point where we turned back on the east fork. We stopped because it was getting dark and we wanted time to ride the west fork and get back to the car before the sun really went down. We need to come back and ride the rest of this fork.

Oct 10 2011, 17:11:37

Oct 10 2011, 17:11:50

Oct 10 2011, 17:12:09

The end of the other fork, the west fork. The road continues, but no motorized vehicles are allowed; it looks like it would be great on a mountain bicycle. Signs say there are native petroglyphs near the trail.

Oct 10 2011, 17:28:38

Oct 10 2011, 17:28:48

Back at the car. The sun is setting quickly and there’s a kind of “pink moment” lighting up the landscape.

Oct 10 2011, 18:04:17

Oct 10 2011, 18:04:24

Oct 10 2011, 18:04:30

Oct 10 2011, 18:04:46

A little way up Santa Barbara Canyon Road. The full moon has risen and we paused to take some last photos.

Oct 10 2011, 18:10:17

Oct 10 2011, 18:10:26

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