Fir Canyon-Ranger Peak Loop -

The Best Santa Barbara Mountain Biking

Ride Log
On the Ride


Difficulty: Difficult • Paved or Dirt: Paved Path Dirt Path • Mileage: 11.75
Elevation Gain: 2300 ft. •

The front face of Ranger Peak is composed almost entirely of steep, grassy hills which soften to rolling grass-covered hills further down. The riding leads through these open fields and in the spring is beautiful. Great downhill, though followed by more than 2,000 feet of climbing on the last half of the ride. There are spectacular views and neat rock formations along the way.

Ride Details

  • Use Fees : An Adventure Pass is required if you park within the Figueroa Mountain Recreation area.
  • Length : 4 miles on trail to Happy Canyon Road; 4 miles on road to Cachuma Saddle; 3 miles from Cachuma Saddle to East Pinery; .75 miles from East Pinery back to your car; 11.75 total for the ride.
  • Gain : 200’ elevation gain to top of saddle; 2,115’ loss on trail to Happy Canyon Road; 800’ gain to Cachuma Saddle; 1,350’ gain from Cachuma Saddle to East Pinery; 250’ loss from East Pinery back to your car.
  • Difficulty : Rocky riding on rough dirt road; some technical riding but in general no more difficult than Level 1 single track; some route-finding skills needed.

Find Other Similar Trails

Difficulty: Difficult

Links & Resources

Get Directions To The Trailhead

Driving Directions
Get Directions to Fir Canyon-Ranger Peak Loop which is located at 34.719604,-119.954309.

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Access / Parking

From Mattei’s Tavern in Los Olivos, take Figueroa Mountain Road 14.3 miles to the start of the trail, 2.6 miles beyond Figueroa Mountain Campground. Park in the open dirt area just before the road heads steeply up the backside of Ranger Peak.

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

The ride begins beyond a metal pole fence. Most likely you will need to push this first section, which climbs very steeply up to a high saddle. The surrounding country is open grassland, and it is beautiful in the springtime.

Once you’ve reached the top of the saddle, having gained 200 feet, you’ll be able to ride the rest of the Ranger Peak Trail. The trail is rocky but manageable, and the views are incredible. The route leads from the saddle in an easterly direction along the ridge. In the first three-quarters mile the downhill is gentle, and you will lose about 250 feet to the top of a large outcropping which is a very nice spot to stop for a while.

Once you are beyond this knoll the trail begins to drop much more rapidly, and over the next several miles, until you intersect with Happy Canyon Road, you will lose almost 2,000 feet. The pace is fast and furious, and before you know it you will be down at the paved road.

Once you hit the pavement, unless you’ve left a shuttle car, there is a lot of uphill ahead of you. It is four miles and an 800-foot gain to Cachuma Saddle; and three miles to Ranger Peak, with 1,350 feet of additional gain. This is time for getting into a low gear and checking into your all-day pace. It is a long ride, but the country is beautiful and the views spacious.

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Last Updated: Tuesday, November 4, 2014