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.
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.
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:
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.