Stimulating. Aromatic. Soothing. Those could be apt descriptions for riding any kind of motorcycle along this easy, coastal-valley paradise. Those words could also be a reference to the wares of over 70 wineries and tasting rooms that the Santa Ynez Valley Visitors Association lists on their website.
There’s not too many ways to get to this valley, but one well-known starting point would be from Santa Barbara: Exit Route 101 onto Route 154, and motor up and over the San Marcos Pass. Once at the top, either take a left detour to Cold Spring Tavern or continue straight ahead and cross over the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge while cruising down into the Valley.
Route 154 is only 32 miles long, but is such a fine stretch of motorcycle pleasure that the road is officially designated as part of the California State Scenic Highway System. The Santa Ynez Mountains and the San Rafael Mountains will parallel your ride along the 2-lane asphalt (with an occasional passing lane thrown in to keep things sane on any warm weekend afternoon).
Another noteworthy detour would be to take Route 246 into the tourist-village of Solvang, the “Danish Capital of America.” It’s also home of the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum.
Back on the Route 154, there are a number of places to hike, picnic, camp or just pass on by:
- Santa Ynez Recreation Area, Los Padres National Forest
- Cachuma Lake Recreation Area
- Bradbury Dam
- Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area, Los Padres National Forest
Ultimately you are going to end up in the very small town of Los Olivos.
Want to make a loop? From Los Olivos, hop on the Route 101, head south, cruise along the ocean, and end up back in Santa Barbara.