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The Santa Barbara Bike Trails To Check Out Now
Health & Fitness

The Santa Barbara Bike Trails To Check Out Now

Feel the breeze in your hair and see everything this bikeable city has to offer as you pedal along oceanside piers and climb winding roads.


4 min read

July 28, 2021

Biking might just be the best way to view the best of Santa Barbara. Gorgeous ocean views, Spanish-style architecture, memorable red-tile roofs, flower-decked courtyards, hidden passageways, and more awesome sights await exploration as you cycle Santa Barbara’s bike trails. Feel the breeze in your hair and see everything this bikeable city has to offer as you pedal along oceanside piers, climb winding roads, and descend full-speed down a single track.

Not bringing your bike along to vacation? No problem. It’s very easy to rent bikes in Santa Barbara because the city has plenty of shops scattered throughout offering everything from traditional bikes to mountain bikes. Pick your Santa Barbara bike path and get pedaling—you’re in for a fun ride.

These Are The Places To Go Biking in Santa Barbara

Cabrillo Boulevard Bike Path

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 4.6 miles

Route: Out and back

The Cabrillo Boulevard Bike Path is one of the coolest rides in Southern California. A quintessential route for biking in Santa Barbara, this trail extends from Leadbetter to Butterfly Beaches. You don’t require much stamina or experience to cycle here—the trail is pretty easy to take. In fact, it features a lot of stopping points along the way. If you’re covering this Santa Barbara bike path for the first time, check out Stearns Wharf, Chase Palm Park, and East Beach along the way.

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Obern Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 9 miles

Route: Out and back

Despite its length, the popular Obern Trail is considered an easy Santa Barbara bike ride. Extending from Goleta Beach to Modoc Road, this scenic and paved trail is one that’s suitable for all skill levels and ages. If you’ve been looking to get active with your family, consider pedaling down the trail. Later, head a little further to get to Downtown Santa Barbara for a snack and a swim. If that’s not a great Santa Barbara day trip itinerary, we don’t know what is.

Of all the possible bike routes in Santa Barbara, this one is for architecture lovers and city view seekers. Ready to see the best of the best?

Stearns Wharf to Downtown Santa Barbara to the Riviera Loop

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 9.1 miles

Route: Loop

If you’re a sucker for Spanish Colonial architecture and city views, get cycling in Santa Barbara along this awesome trail. Start your ride at the end of the pier and head straight into downtown through State Street. You’ll see many of the city’s historical buildings in this area, climb up 300 feet, and go off the beaten path up another 450 feet into the Riviera, and then back. After you’re done, treat yourself to fresh seafood downtown—you’ve pre-burned the calories anyway. 

Stearns Wharf to Hendry’s Beach

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 4.3 miles

Route: Out and back

This is yet another fun bike trail in Santa Barbara. From Leadbetter Beach, switch to the street bike lane at the corner of La Marina, heading to Cliff Drive. Continue towards the south and pedal until you reach the popular Boathouse Restaurant at Hendry’s Beach. If you’ve worked up an appetite after all that cycling, treat yourself to dinner at this yummy locale. The stairs behind the restaurant lead to a stunning observatory looking out to the ocean, so make sure you stop by and admire for a moment.

The Elings Loop Trail is a great ride within Santa Barbara with two good single-track climbs and lots of flowing downhill single-track.

Elings Loop Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 5.2 miles

Route: Loop

If you’re looking for the best mountain biking trails in Santa Barbara, look no further than Elings Park. Featuring miles of Santa Barbara mountain bike trails, Elings Park is a great place to start BMX riding, especially if you don’t have much experience. The Elings Loop Trail circles the park, giving you a good enough introduction and potentially motivating you to take part in the other activities available as well. In short, if you’ve been meaning to take up mountain biking in Santa Barbara, Elings Park is where it’s at.

Marie Ygnacio Creek Trail to Goleta Beach

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 6.9 miles

Route: Out and back

Shall we bike to the beach? The Marie Ygnacio Creek Trail takes you precisely there and leads you to the beautiful Goleta Beach. While a stop by the shore is great, this Santa Barbara bike trail starts near the Foothill Elementary School. The trail can also end at the University of California, Santa Barbara if you cycle just a bit further down. We recommend planning to bike back around sunset, so when you pass along Goleta Beach, you’ll see it colored in all the beautiful hues of a dusk sky.

Whether to decide to hike or bike to Inspiration Point, the trail will reward you with great views of the ocean, Channel Islands, and Santa Barbara.

Inspiration Point

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3.4 miles

Route: Out and back

Inspiration Point is another awesome Santa Barbara mountain bike trail with amazing views at the top. Also popular with hikers and runners (along with their pups), this trail has a tendency to get quite crowded, especially on weekends. To ride your mountain bike without having to make several stops, go early on a weekday and enjoy more freedom along the way. Inspired much?

Jesusita Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 6.8 miles

Route: Out and back

Jesusita is a moderately rated trail near Santa Barbara that features a waterfall and is loved by mountain bikers and hikers alike. Choose this Santa Barbara bike trail if you don’t mind facing lots of technical climbing and descending. And if you have a bit of mountain biking experience under your belt already, you’re going to especially love cycling here. Don’t forget your trail bell—you’ll be needing to signal the hikers a few times.

Cruise 32 miles along the Pacific Ocean, where spectacular cliffs and distant mountains paint an epic landscape.

Santa Barbara to Ventura

Difficulty: Hard 

Distance: 32 miles

Route: Point to point

The only reason why this Santa Barbara bike trail is rated hard is because of its length. But then again, completing it entirely or partially is completely up to you. You’ll ride along the ocean and through classic beach towns like Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria, and Mussel Shoals. 

Very generally described, you’ll start at Leadbetter Beach, then follow Channel Drive past the Santa Barbara Cemetery and the famous Butterfly Beach until Channel Drive turns into Olive Mill Road. Then, you’ll go along N. Jameson Lane, Lillie Avenue, Via Real, and Carpinteria Avenue. Eventually, you’ll be riding along the ocean again through Mussel Shoals, and finally, this Santa Barbara bike trail will get you to Ventura.

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