Northern California

Santa Barbara County Motorcycle Rides

Southern California
Foxen Canyon Rd

RIDE IT on a PASHNIT TOUR


22 miles - LENGTH
Narrow paved ranch road- PAVEMENT
Gentle, smooth- CURVES

Los Olivos to Sisquoc - CONNECTS

 Santa Maria, Solvang, Buellton - GAS

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Los Olivos to Sisquoc, CA

Quick Ride: Relaxed farm road connecting Hwy 154 to Hwy 176, Many wineries along this ride.

Foxen Canyon has become a personal favorite. It has a little bit of everything to offer the motorcyclist.

The first time I rode this, it was all about kamikaze squirrels. I thought I might have to name this road, Land of the Kamikaze Squirrels, but there's not much sizzle in that. As I led a Pashnit Tour with 10 other motorcyclists in tow, hoards of squirrels darted across the road taunting me, flipping me off, and daring me to hit them. Darned if I didn't try, weaving and accelerating about. But alas, nary a pancaked squirrel for the duration of the ride.

Oh yeah- the ride. First of all, Foxen Canyon Road is north of the Solvang Antique Motorcycle Museum. If you find yourself in the area, do visit the museum. It's small, and you can easily run through it in 30-60 minutes.  Solvang is built in the image of a Danish village, but often it's crawling with touristy types. There's only one main road which can get quite busy.  Fun town, great little cafes, but a lot of people depending on the time of year. 

After drooling and marveling at all the rare motorcycles in the museum, make tracks north on either Chalk Rd to Ballard Canyon Rd (twisty & narrow) or Alamo Pintado Rd (scenic & straight) and off to Foxen Canyon Road. If you do take the Alamo Pintado route, as you near Hwy 154, the road t-intersects into Ballard Canyon Rd and rolls into the tiny town of Los Olivos. This was the home of the late Michael Jackson who lived on the 2700 acre Neverland Ranch 5 miles north of town at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Road. Take a turn to the west here, and Foxen Canyon Road is 100 yards away to the west. (use map below)

Northward through the fields of grapes as the elevation climbs a bit to 1200 ft along the ridgeline. What you can't see at this point is the beautiful vista that is about to arrive. Roll up the hill, gaze westward, and realize you're atop a low ridgeline. Then there it is!!

The first time riding this road, I was beside myself- the land of Amazing Vistas by far. You can see far off to the west, far off to the east, a fantastic view to the north of the San Rafael Mountains! A broad pullout and the another at the north end of the ridgeline offer a place to park, but any solo motorcyclist will have no trouble pausing on the side of the road if they'd like to drink in the view for a moment.

At this point, I was filled with surprise and a high degree of pleasure. The ride flows northward away from the tourist mecca of Solvang, and starts off riding past the Petros Winery and several other wineries.

It has length, it has intense scenery, it's in the middle of nowhere, it has few side roads, it has some fresh pavement and a short distance of super-bumpy pavement. The first few miles are patched, then patched again, then a few more patches. They did repave a portion of it, sort of. Foxen Canyon t-intersects with Zaca Station Road at the Andrew Murray Vineyards Winery and Visitor Center.  Turn north to continue, it also has some 90 degree hairpins, twisting, weaving, and several horse farms.

Pavement is good for now, but much variety is in store. Thus far it's been a relaxed ride, but Foxen Canyon has tricks up its sleeve. As you come down off this ridgeline, the ride twists off to west and then straightens back out. Here, a long forgotten, bumpy, patched stretch of pavement throws itself at you, or rather throws you out of the saddle if you ride too fast on this bumpy section of road. It doesn't last long, but it will have you wondering what in the world is this? Why am I riding this road? Hang in there Speed Racer.

To make things a bit more interesting, the pavement changes to a brand new fresh slice of asphalt, but... they paved right over the bumps, so the road is still... you guessed it, bumpy. Who was in charge of this repaving project? Hope that person doesn't work for the Highway department much longer.

A plaque along Foxen Canyon Rd dedicated to John C. Fremont & Benjamin Foxen reads "Near this site on the Foxen Rancho in 1846 encamped an American force under Lt. Colonel Fremont warned by Foxen of and ambush in Gaviota Pass an guided by him Christmas Da over the San Marcos Pass. The Americans took Santa Barbara without bloodshed. Three weeks later, January 13, 1847 California was ceded to the United States."

 

Take note also of Foxen Canyon Winery. The wooden sheds are the tasting rooms for the Foxen Canyon Winery. They are authentic remnants from the 1800's.

 

Nearby Motorcycle Roads - Where to next?!!

Northbound: Tepusquet Rd is the continuation of Foxen Canyon Rd to connect with Hwy 166.
Southbound: At the south end of Foxen Canyon, ride directly across Hwy 154 to Ballard Canyon Rd and continue into Solvang.
Eastbound: Ride a large loop from Los Olivos onto Hwy 154 and continue on Hwy 192 to Hwy 150 to Ojai to Hwy 33 Pine Mountain. Combine Hwy 33 with Lockwood Valley & Hudson Ranch Rd, FR 95 (formerly called Cerro Noroeste Rd), then back on Hwy 166 to Tepusquet Rd for a large loop. Note the option to ride up 8 miles on Cerro Noroeste Rd to 8286 ft Cerro Noroeste Peak.
Westbound: Foxen Canyon rolls into Santa Maria. The Pacific Ocean is a few miles to the west. Circle around south to Solvang on Santa Rosa Rd and Alisal Rd.

 

Foxen Canyon Rd, Santa Barbara County - Photo Gallery

MORE INFO: Foxen Canyon Road

RIDE IT on a PASHNIT TOUR
22 Miles - LENGTH

Farm road, smooth, backroad - PAVEMENT
Gentle, smooth, - CURVES

Los Olivos to Sisquoc  - CONNECTS

  Lompoc, Buellton, Solvang - GAS

1200 ft- PEAK ELEVATION

 34°39′50″N 120°07′03″W - GPS LOCATION

Zaca Station, Alisos Canyon, Tepusquet Rd, - LISTED SIDEROADS
 

Maps

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About Pashnit:

Tim Mayhew has devoted nearly 30 years to photographing and writing about California roads. His tireless efforts on the California Motorcycle Roads web site have spread across the globe becoming the encyclopedic guidebook for motorcycle travel in California. As of 2020, Tim has been designing & leading professional motorcycle tours across California, Oregon & Nevada for the last 17 years.
Learn more about riding with Tim on a  
Pashnit Motorcycle Tour in 2020.

 

Dear Pashnite, the 1999-era California Motorcycle Roads you have used for the last 20 years to plan your rides has been retired.
Two decades later, it's time to rebuild. A lot of work will go into building a site like this from scratch. It will take time. Thousands of hours, years actually. I think only a crazy person would attempt a project like this. Which is why there is no equal. The original CMR had 300 webpages of roads, 600 pages of text, thousands of photos, tens of thousands of links and was made up of 241,148 files. I would like to double that. It will take time to rebuild this site. I appreciate your support over the last 20 years. Hundreds more road pages are coming.  -Tim

 

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