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Los Padres Traverse — mountains to sea on the Sierra Madre Road

Alison Tetrick

Los Padres Traverse — mountains to sea on the Sierra Madre Road

Mountain Biking Collection by Alison Tetrick



18:58 h

110 mi

15,175 ft

Los Padres Traverse is a very rarely traveled mountain bike point to point route on fire roads that traverse the Los Padres National Forrest from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara, following Sierra Madre Road. The Traverse covers 83.7 miles (134.7 km) with over 10,300 feet (3,140 m) of climbing. The views expand from the Carrizo Plains and Soda Lake into the Pacific Ocean and up over the famous mountain, Sierra Madre, snow capped in all her glory.

The Los Padres Traverse promises a very long day in the saddle, and much of the route is not accessible by vehicle. There is no water along the way, so make sure to bring your own water filtration equipment and hydration packs.

You could easily make this a multi-day trip, if you prefer, and there are campsites on route. I camped in my 4x4 truck with a roof top tent and we got a friend to pick us up and shuttle us back to our camp that night, which is about an hour's drive.

This is truly a bucket list mountain bike ride or bikepacking adventure. Just make sure you do it in the right time of year when it is neither too hot or too cold.

I promise that when you finish this route - you will say never have I ever!

On The Map


Tours & Highlights

  • Baja campground to the start of Sierra Madre Road — Los Padres Traverse

    4.56 mi
    2.9 mph
    725 ft
    650 ft

    This is the route from the Baja Campground to the start of Sierra Madre Road. We parked the truck at the base of Sierra Madre Road to then pick it up later that night.


    There is parking at Sierra Madre Road, the start of the Los Padres Traverse.

    by Alison Tetrick

  • 09:39
    84.9 mi
    8.8 mph
    10,375 ft
    10,550 ft

    Los Padres Traverse is an epic day in the saddle. This is a Point A to Point B mountain bike ride that traverse the Los Padres National Forest from just outside of Santa Maria into the outskirts of Santa Barbara.


    It is not a technical MTB ride as it follows only fire roads and does not contain any singletrack

    by Alison Tetrick

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  • 07:44
    20.6 mi
    2.7 mph
    4,100 ft
    4,075 ft

    We got to our campsite just in time to set the roof top tent up and go for a gravel spin. It was super hilly but the lighting was just perfect.


    It was a lot of climbing for such a short distance but as you could imagine, the views were amazing. This could also be completed on a MTB.

    by Alison Tetrick

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    110 mi
  • Duration
    18:58 h
  • Elevation
    15,175 ft

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