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Munch Canyon -

The Best Santa Barbara Mountain Biking

Overview
Access/Parking
Ride Log
On the Ride

Overview

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult • Paved or Dirt: Dirt Path • Mileage: 10
Elevation Gain: 1350 ft. •

This ride combines the beauty of Fir Canyon with the rugged chaparral of Munch Canyon, a combination of opposites that is the trademark of the back country. Munch Canyon ends at Sunset Valley, where you can have a shuttle waiting for you or you can turn right on the paved road and ride back to your car. An alternative is to begin at Cachuma Saddle and get the steep riding up to Ranger Saddle out of the way first. To avoid the technical single track in Fir Canyon you can start at East Pinery and drop down to the Munch Canyon Trail.

Ride Details

  • Use Fees : An Adventure Pass is required if you park within the Figueroa Mountain Recreation area.
  • Length : 1.5 miles to the Munch connector; .4 miles from Fir Canyon to top of connector; 2 miles down the trail to Sunset Valley Road; 3.1 miles on Sunset Valley Road to Cachuma Peak; 3 miles to Ranger Peak; 2 miles from Ranger Peak back to your car.
  • Gain : 500’ loss to the to Munch connector; 300’ gain from Fir Canyon to top of saddle; 1,150’ loss down the Munch Trail to Sunset Valley; 650’ gain up Sunset Valley to Cachuma Saddle; 1,350’ gain to Ranger Peak.
  • Difficulty : Strenuous, with some Level 2 and 3 single track. There is extreme exposure in Fir Canyon. Ride with caution.
  • Path : Fir Canyon is in good shape, but the Munch Canyon Trail is overgrown in places.
  • Administration : Los Padres National Forest, Santa Lucia District; telephone (805) 925-9538


Find Other Similar Trails

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Points of Interests: Loop Trip
User Types: HikersDog WalkersTrail Runners

Links & Resources


Get Directions To The Trailhead

Driving Directions
Get Directions to Munch Canyon which is located at 34.74394,-119.959631.

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Gallery

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Access / Parking

From Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos, take Figueroa Mountain Road 15.0 miles to the start of the Davy Brown Trail, a mile beyond Figueroa Mountain Campground.

Ride Log

Expectations for Riding the Santa Barbara Area Trails
Country trails are multi-use trails and as such are used by several thousand users each week. If you are riding downhill on these trails, expect to encounter them on your way. Your cooperation will help make everyone's experience a safe and pleasant one.

Ten things every mountain biker who rides the front country trails is expected to do:

  1. Have a bike bell so other trail users know you are approaching.
  2. Keep your speed down; practice riding techniques that minimize impacts.
  3. Good braking means never having to skid. Do not lock up your brakes.
  4. Approach switchbacks with caution and brake well before you reach them.
  5. Stay on the designated tread. The front country trails are multi-use, not a race course.
  6. Ride with other trail users in mind and enhance rather than interfere with their enjoyment.
  7. Always assume there is another trail user around each corner.
  8. Yield the right-of-way to uphill trail users. Stop and dismount if necessary to allow them to pass.
  9. When approaching equestrians, dismount and ask them what they want you to do.
  10. Be courteous. Smile and say something friendly to everyone you encounter.

Background

On The Ride

The first 1.5 miles of this ride take you down Fir Canyon, a narrow gorge cut through Monterey Shale and filled with spruce, oaks, and maples. The single track is excellent, though you may want to walk some of it. When you reach the memorial to Edgar Davison, a bronze plaque set in a large serpentine boulder, look for the Munch connector on the right side of the creek. 

The trail is steep for the first hundred yards. You will have to push up this part, but after that the trail can be ridden. It is slightly more than a half-mile to the Munch Canyon Trail. 

The Munch connector trail ends at an open saddle where the main Munch Canyon Trail begins. This trail is fairly technical and overgrown in parts, but if you like single-tracking, the route provides you with another way to enjoy an afternoon on the mountain. The first mile of the ride is down through the canyon. The trail is rocky, and you may want to walk some sections. The last half leaves the canyon, turning to the left and crossing through the chaparral to intersect with the mining road. It is a half-mile down to the Sunset Valley Road. 

You can either turn left and drop down to the Figueroa Jeepway, taking this back to your car, or turn right on Sunset Valley Road and loop back on pavement. The climb is steady for 3.1 miles to Cachuma Saddle, and then even steeper for 3.3 miles up to Ranger Saddle. Though a hard ride, it is beautiful in the later part of the day as the sun nears the horizon and hillsides glow in the light. From the saddle it is two miles of downhill back to the upper Davy Brown trailhead. 


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Last Updated: Friday, August 22, 2014