The Monarch Groves -

The Best Santa Barbara Road Rides

Ride Log
On the Ride


Difficulty: Easy • Paved or Dirt: Paved Path • Mileage: 13
Elevation Gain: 100 ft. •

For those with mountain bikes, the route offers a beautiful ride through UCSB, IV, and the Devereaux area on the ocean’s edge, with the mystery and magic of thousands of monarch butterflies at the ride’s midpoint. For those with road bikes, this is an enjoyable ride through UCSB and IV, with a pleasant walk from the monarch groves along the ocean bluffs on the way back if you’d like.


Ride Details

  • Use Fees : None
  • Length : 9-13
  • Gain : 100
  • Difficulty : Easy to moderate
  • Path : The longer route goes through several open space areas that are more suited to mountain bikes.

Find Other Similar Trails

Difficulty: Easy
Points of Interests: Out & BackPicnickingCounty ParkBeach Access

Links & Resources

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Driving Directions
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Access / Parking

Trip mileage begins from Goleta Beach County Park

  1. From Santa Barbara take the Ward Memorial exit off of Highway 101. This leads to UCSB. A quarter mile before the university, take the Goleta Beach State Park off ramp. There is plenty of parking in the park, although the gates close at sunset.



Ride Log

0.0  Goleta Beach. Get on bike path leading up into UCSB.

0.3  Lagoon Road. Continue across the road on the bike path and follow the path as it twists its way past Campbell Hall and  Roberston Gym to Campus Stadium (1.3 mile mark).

2.3  Francisco Torres. Continue on bike path through Isla Vista and then bear right onto Storke Road at Francisco Torres.

2.8  Phelps Road. Just before the fire station,, turn left and continue straight on it until you reach Canon Green. At this point Phelps Road deadends.

3.4  Canon Green. Bear right onto Canon Green. 

3.7  Hollister Avenue. Taking care to cross Hollister safely, go left past the 7-11. Coronado is the first left after it.

4.0  Coronado Drive. Turn left again and ocast down to where it deadends. Either lock your bike here or walk it to the grove.

4.7  Monarch Grove. The grove is a hundred yards to the right in a small alcove of eucalyptus that shelter the monarchs.

9.4  Goleta Beach. Return via the same route.

Mountain Bikes

0.0  Goleta Beach. Get on bike path leading up into UCSB.

0.3  Lagoon Road. Turn left on Lagoon Road. This leads to Campus Point (1.2 mile mark). As you reach the far edge of the Slough look for a small trail that parallels the left, or ocean side, of it. Careful not to fall in accidentally!

1.3  End of Slough Trail. The trail ends at an old road leading up and down along the ocena bluffs towards Isla Vista. It ends at a newly developed parking area for campus dorms. Just beyond is Del Playa.

2.0  Isla Vista. Continue on Del Playa for a mile until it ends.

3.0  Devereaux Bike Path. This well grade path continues along the blufftops to the point.

3.7  Devereaux Point. A side trip out to the point is well worth it and at low tides the rocky shoreline is great for tide pool exploration. Then bear right. West Campus Drive begins in a hundred yards.

3.8  West Campus Drive. Coast down to the Devereaux Slough, then along it for a half mile. Just as the road begins to curve up and to the right. look for a small trail that veers off the left side of the roadway.

4.3  Trail. Follow trail several hundred yards to the golf course.

4.4  Ocean Meadows Golf Course. At the edge of the course turn left and go west up the slight grade in the direction of the prominent oil tank.

5.1  Oil Tank. Curve around the gate (there is a small opening for bikes) and continue on the roadway towards the beach. Bear right through the long line of eucalyptus and onto the blufftop. You have a choice of a narrow trail right along the bluff's edge or a more open roadway.

5.3  Ocean Bluffs. The roadway leads for a mile across the bluffs until it deadends at barbed wire fencing. Along the way several trails and roads lead diagonally away from the bluffs to the eucalyptus groves which house the monarch.

6.5  Monarch Grove. A number of trails lead down into the grove. Please walk your bvike when you are on any of them.

13.0  Goleta Beach.Return via the same route (at low tides you might consider riding on the beach all the way back).



On The Ride

d thousands of miles to get here. They are the monarchs, their beautiful orange and black patterns making them exquisite as they flutter in the warm afternoon air. They are on display many places along the coast, from San Diego to Monterey Bay, most often in the shelter of tall eucalyptus groves, those with enough shelter from the wind, a water source, as well as plenty of food to help them build up fatty reserves. We are fortunate to have such a grove in the Goleta area.

To reach the grove by road bike, head west from Goleta Beach on the bike path into UCSB, taking the bikeway that leads along the northern (mountain) side of the Administration building and Robertson’s Gym. Continue on it as it parallels El Colegio to Francisco Torres, bear right and pedal in the direction of K-Mart., which is at the intersection of Storke Road and Hollister. However, before you get that far turn left on Phelps Road, which is just before a easily visible fire station. This keeps you from having to go left near the K-Mart. 

Continue on Phelps to Canon Green, then curve right until you reach Hollister. Go left, then left again on Coronado a few hundred yards past the 7-11. From there it is all downhill to the Monarch Grove, which is at the end of Coronado. Lock your bike against the wooden guard rail. You'll find the monarchs to the right a hundred yards.

For the return trip, either retrace the route, or walk your bike up onto the ocean bluffs and along them east for a quarter mile until you reach pavement. Follow this past a large oil tank and the Ocean Meadows Golf Course. At the bottom of the hill ,take the dirt trail right for a hundred yards to the paved road leading out to Devereaux Point.

The real treat, though, is by mountain bike. The route can even be negotiated by road bike if you ride very slowly on the dirt sections. As you begin to enter UCSB on the bike path, turn left on Lagoon Road and follow it down to campus beach. Look for a narrow trail on the ocean side of the slough. This leads a hundred yards to a rough asphalt road. 

Be careful not to fall off while you are on the trail or it’s into the slough for you! Actually there’s no danger—just the possibility of getting wet. If in doubt walk this hundred yard long section.

The road meanders up and down along the bluffs into IV. Continue through on Del Playa and then onto the dirt path leading out to Devereaux Point. There the pavement begins again and parallels the right edge of Devereaux Slough. 

Follow this as it meanders along the slough and towards the corner of El Colegio and Glen Annie (Francisco Torres). As you start uphill and slightly away from the slough, look for a trail leading to the left. It takes you around the upper part of the slough and right to the edge of the golf course. Rough pavement leads west, gradually uphill towards an easily spotted oil tank. Veer left just past  the tank, then right through the eucalyptus trees onto a dirt path that follows the edge of the ocean bluff. You can follow this for almost a mile. Along the way look for one of several dirt roads which  diagonal  inland. Any one of these leads to a long expanse of eucalyptus (which you can see from the bluffs) and the Monarch Grove. Please walk your bike when you are within the groves. Thanks.

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Last Updated: Monday, August 4, 2014