Country Ride: Alisos Canyon Loop

Looking for a challenge? Explore Solvang on this 41.5 mile bike ride through the countryside.

Description: A great, yet demanding country ride. Strenuous; 2,200’ elevation gain, 850’ climb in Drum Canyon and 600’ in Ballard Canyon. Adapted from sboutdoors.com/

Length: 41.5 miles

Directions: Begin at the corner of Mission Drive/Highway 246 and Atterdag Road in downtown Solvang. From Highway 246 heading west, turn right (north) on Atterdag and up Chalk Hill Road. After a fast downhill, bear left after the stop sign at the Ballard Canyon intersection, then curve to the right. The road is very quiet and rustic, then a quick drop down leads to Highway 154. Carefully cross it and proceed onto Foxen Canyon Road.

The ride follows Foxen Canyon for just a bit more than 10 miles, with several climbs and long stretches of country road. Two miles beyond the Fess Parker Winery, the road crests and from there it is a half-mile downhill to Zaca Mesa Winery. A mile of gentle downhill past the winery brings you to the Alisos Canyon turnoff (left). The first mile of the ride up Alisos is a bit of a workout but before long, you will be cruising downhill the next six miles to Highway 101. Once you reach the highway, look for a side road on the east side of 101. Turn right onto that road for about a mile, then turn left on the road that goes under Highway 101 and enter Los Alamos.  Look for the Centennial/Drum Canyon turn at the flagpole. This is the gateway to Drum Canyon, a 3.5 mile, 850’ climb to the top of the ridge, with lots of switchbacks. On the other side, there is a sharp downhill into a long, open valley dotted with cows and horses and ranches. Five miles of mellow riding bring you to Highway 246, where you turn left (east). The next six miles to Buellton will be the least fun part of the ride, though the shoulder is wide, there are many cars. Once you reach Buellton, continue ahead over Highway 101, three miles back into Solvang.

Points of Interest:

  • Fess Parker Winery: The amphitheater-style lawn, rimmed by mature oaks, provides a serene setting for picnics.
  • Zaca Mesa Winery: Relax on one of the many picnic tables or challenge your friends to a game of chess on the life-size chessboard.
  • Los Alamos: There are a number of places to eat in Los Alamos as well as a small park right in the middle of town.
  • Los Alamos County Park: A half-mile up Centennial Street aka Drum Canyon Road, a nice place for a lunch break.

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