The half mile ride, from the Five Points Shopping Center to the entrance to Hope Ranch, leads you from one of Santa Barbara’s busiest commercial centers into a world of entrenched wealth: beautifully landscaped homes, palatial estates, and gently rolling hills filled with California live oaks. The roads wind in and around the hills, none of them too steep, making this a perfect area for an afternoon bike ride. You can ride for hours on the maze of roads to be discovered in Hope Ranch, barely seeing the same one twice.
Trip mileage begins from the La Cumbre Shopping Center Area
0.0 La Cumbre Shopping Centerr.
0.5 Las Palmas Drive. Entrance to Hope Ranch. Continue along Las Palmas to Via Presada.
Western Hope Ranch
1.0 Via Presada. Turn right and then in a few hundred yards, turn left again on Via Hierba.
1.5 Intersection with Via Esperanza. Bear to the right and at the next intersection continue straight ahead on Via Esperanza.
1.8 Via Fruitera intersection. Curve right (still on Via Esperanza) ride up a short hill to the Via Alegre intersection. Go left and continue on Via Esperanza as it drops down onto a wide mesa.
2.6 Via Huerto. Turn right. In a hundred yards, bear left onto Via Roblada. Via Roblada curves through beautiful grassy meadows, large estates and horse stables.
3.8 Via Bendita. Turn right and continue through the eastern part of the mesa and then drop down a steep hill to Las Palmas.
Eastern Hope Ranch
4.2 Las Palmas. Bear right. The winding canyon road gradually descends to the entrance to Hope Ranch Beach, then climbs gradually out of the canyon up to Marina Drive.
4.6 Llano. Turn left and begin to curve around to the right on Llano for a bit under a half mile.
5.0 Cresta. Go left and follow Cresta as it curves back to the right and then follows the ridgeline to Estrella Drive.
5.8 Estrella Drive. Continue across intersection and up Cuervo Avenue. This narrow, winding road will take you up to the Campanil Hill area.
6.3 Bear right on Cuervo East.
6.5 Road Ends. Carry your bike over the gate. Campanil Drive is 50 yards ahead.
6.6 Campanil Drive. Turn right on Campanil and follow it past Sea Ranch to Centinela Lane. Turn left and head up a short, steep hill to a large meadow with views of Campanil Tower. Unfortunately, the meadow is fenced in at the present and you’ll only see the tower from the road. Return back to Sea Ranch Drive.
7.2 Sea Ranch Drive. Hold on tight for the quick, steep descent down to Marina Drive, which is 50 yards to the right from the bottom of Sea Ranch.
7.8 Marina Drive. Turn right on Sea Ranch and follow Marina for .5 mile of level riding to Estrella Drive.
8.3 Estrella Drive. Go right and climb a half mile to the crest of Estrella, then enjoy a soothing half mile of coasting down to Lago Drive.
9.3 Lago Drive. Bear left and along the edge of La Cumbre Country Club to Las Palmas.
9.5 Las Palmas Drive. Turn right and follow Las Palmas along the edge of the golf course to your car.
10.6 La Cumbre Shopping Center.
From the late 1870s, the Pacific Improvement Company (PI) owned by the legendary Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins, and Collis P. Huntington began to shape the destiny of Hope’s Ranch. In 1887, PI bought half of the original rancho from Thomas Hope’s widow for $200,000. The company then developed a horizontal tunnel in San Roque Canyon to provide water to the Laguna Blanca reservoir and purchased 360 huge palms from Francesco Francheschi to line Las Palmas and Marina drives. With this push, Hope Ranch was on its way to becoming one of Santa Barbara’s and California’s wealthiest suburbs.
A most enjoyable way to view this “millionaire’s” paradise is from the seat of your bike, pedaling slowly along the myriad of picturesque side streets, each filled with luxurious gardens, vast expanses of grass, and extravagant homes. I often park in the Five Points or La Cumbre shopping areas and spend an hour or two cruising through the ranch, marveling at the sight of such wealth. It is easy to get caught up in the magnificence.
This ride is designed to expose you to the western and middle parts of Hope Ranch, as well as the area’s high point—Campanil Hill. From either one of the shopping centers cross over the freeway on La Cumbre Road. This turns into Las Palmas Drive as you pass under the Hope Ranch arch. Continue along the edge of La Cumbre Country Club golf course for a half mile to Via Presada, which is on the right.
Ride up this, then bear left on Via Hierba, until you reach Via Esperanza. Veer right, then right again at Via Fruitera and go left at the crest (you’ll find yourself back on Via Esperanza). This leads down to Via Huerto and onto a large mesa filled with large estates and riding stables. Turn right on Via Huerto, then left at the Via Roblada intersection
NOTE: Via Huerto drops down to Puente Drive and provides good access to the Goleta Bike Path, as well as access into the ranch from Goleta.
Via Roblada circles the mesa counterclockwise and is almost level. It eventually leads to Via Bendita. A right turn brings you over a slight rise and down to Las Palmas. For fun, you might go left on Via Bendita, catch Via Roblada again, and repeat the previous loop.
Turn right on Las Palmas. Beyond the Hope Ranch beach entrance, a twisting uphill leads to Llano Avenue and up into the central highlands of the ranch. Follow Llano for a half mile then curve sharply left onto Cresta Avenue. Cuervo curves back gradually to the right and up onto the central highlands of Hope Ranch, ending at Estrella Drive.
If this is enough uphill for you, turn right on Estrella. Along the way you’ll pass Cantera Avenue and Mariposa (butterfly) Drive. Both of these loop around to each other and provide nice side trips. Estrella ends at Marina Drive. A right turn will return you to Las Palmas and eventually your car.
For more climbing, continue across Estrella Drive onto Cuervo, and up the half mile of curves to Campanil Hill. Go right and continue past Sea Ranch, up a short hill on Centinela Lane and look for a large meadow on the right. From there you can walk your bike out to the Campanil Tower and the best views in town.
For the route back, either return via Cuervo, or drop down Sea Ranch to Marina Drive, turn right and cruise back along Marina to Estrella. Turn right on it, pedal up the half mile to the crest, then enjoy the long downhill past the golf course and Laguna Blanca back to your car. To avoid the Estrella hill, just continue on Marina and Las Palmas.