Lower Oso -

The Best Santa Barbara Mountain Biking

Ride Log
On the Ride


Difficulty: Easy • Paved or Dirt: Dirt Path • Mileage: 2
Elevation Gain: 200 ft. •

 This is a short trail that follows the left side of the road leading to Upper Oso Campground and provides either a short and scenic day ride or a way to and from Upper Oso without having to ride on the road.

Ride Details

  • Use Fees : An Adventure Pass is required if you park within the Santa Ynez Recreation area
  • Length : 2 miles.
  • Gain : 200’ to Upper Oso Campground; 450’ from Upper Oso to Nineteen Oaks Campground.
  • Difficulty : Easy Level 1 single track. You may need to walk across the creek crossings.
  • Path : Trail is in good shape, and you are never too far from the paved road if you decide you don’t like single-track riding.

Find Other Similar Trails

Difficulty: Easy
Points of Interests: CanyonsCreeksFamily FriendlyOut & BackPicnickingCar CampBBQs
User Types: HikersEquestriansDog WalkersTrail Runners

Links & Resources

Get Directions To The Trailhead

Driving Directions
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Access / Parking

At the Lower Oso Day Use Area, look for the beginning of the trail just across the road. Or, to bypass the first short section, ride up the road leading to Upper Oso and follow it several hundred yards. Just after crossing a bridge, look for the trail. It leads left and across a small creek.

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.


On The Ride

This short trail is a mile in length and provides an excellent warm-up before tackling the big one—the road to Little Pine Mountain. The trail twists and winds its way through a series of meadows and a few chaparral sections to the lower end of the campground at Upper Oso. For beginners it provides a good introduction to what single-track riding is like.

If you would like to extend your bike ride, continue past the locked Forest Service gate into the narrow upper canyon. This is composed of Matilija Sandstone, the same rock found at the top of La Cumbre Peak. Three-fourths mile up the narrows you will come to the beginning of the Santa Cruz Trail. The first mile of this trail is heavily used by hikers and equestrian groups, and it is imperative you ride slowly and be constantly on the alert for them if you ride up the trail. For those who want to continue up the dirt road, see the Camuesa Connector description for more information.

On the return to Lower Oso, either follow the paved road or cruise back down the trail.

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Last Updated: Sunday, August 24, 2014