Solvang: Jalama Beach

Sunday, March 31, 2013

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Click here to watch a short video of today’s ride

On our drive down to Solvang, Michael and I decided to leave the Bay Area early and get a short ride in before checking into our room at the Kronborg Inn for our week-long cycling tour around Santa Barbara County and Santa Ynez Valley. We have plans to ride a majority of the week on our own and ride a few days with friends from Grizzly Peak Cyclists.

The out and back route on Jalama Rd to the beach seemed like a perfect fit for the day. Instead of parking off CA-1 and riding down to Jalama Beach, we elected to drive down to the beach, pay the $10 day use fee and park our van there for security reasons and for peace of mind. Food, water, showers and restrooms are available here.

Jalama Beach is gorgeous! The ocean breeze whips up the scent of the salt water each time the waves come up to kiss the sandy shores. The sounds of the sea brings about a calm and peacefulness to the mind and body. Take the time to enjoy views of the cliffs sitting at the edge of the sea, the sand dunes, the different types of colorful grasses and the soft sandy bays along this beautiful coastline! You can also see the offshore oil rigs in the far distance off the horizon.

Our ride begins with a short climb out of the parking lot up to the RR crossing. The two lane road takes you up and over the hills on rolling flat terrain for the first 7 miles through the canyon and down to the valley through open farmlands and green meadows. The rolling green hills are carpeted with a wonderful display of yellow wildflowers.

Several short rollers will lead you up to the one mile climb at 1105′ with gradient ranges of 5-9% with steep pitches maxing out at 10-11%. Take a moment to enjoy the fabulous views of the surrounding mountains and valley!

The last 6 miles out to CA-1 rolls along the flats through fertile farmlands, ranches, old barns, vineyards and farm houses. A very short gentle climb takes you out to the end of Jalama Rd at the intersection along the highway-our turn around point.

Even though we’re riding on the same road back to the beach, the landscape and terrain is different from a new perspective. The first climb up is a bit longer and the flat sections seem to go by faster!

The coastal fog is quickly rolling in as we climb our way back up to the RR crossing along the back ridge. I like seeing fog; it brings a certain air of mystery to the ride. The sloping hills are filled with beautiful soft lavender colored wildflowers along with a sprinkling of yellow wildflowers scattered in between.

We cross the RR tracks and descend Jalama Beach Rd back to the van. This is a wonderful short scenic ride with plenty of climbing and fantastic views of the mountains and spring flowers!

We had at the Red Viking Restaurant in Solvang. You can go for the Danish Smorgasbord or order off the menu. We shared the open-faced Danish Sausage sandwich with red cabbage and mashed potatoes and a grilled chicken salad. The food was very plain and lacked seasoning. 

Garmin Stats:
28.5 Miles with 2941′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1105′
Avg grade: 5%
Max grade: 11%

Weather: Fantastic! Sunny and warm! Temps ranged from the high 60’s to the low 70’s. Coastal fog rolling in on the return to the beach. WSW winds for the entire route.

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.


Click here to view the interactive route map & profile

Follow this route for today’s ride:


  1. What, no Jalama burger?

    Bob, Looking forward to having it the next time we’re out there on a longer ride. Have to make it worthwhile to eat that big burger! Nancy


  2. Nice to see you and Michael making the best of life and doing it in one ride at a time. Thanks again for sharing. Love the Mt. Diablo photo of you two.

    Rinaldi, Thanks-Life is great! hope all is going well for you. See you out on the roads. Nancy


  3. Jalama Beach is a great spot; glad you enjoyed it. The french fries at the little store there are great too!! Carole

    Carole, next time I’m going to have the burger and fries-need a longer ride to burn off all those calories! Nancy


  4. A wonderful day for a ride . . . thanks for sharing . . I bought myself a mountain bike to ride trails to better my bike handling skills . . . Anyway . . keep smiling it make the boss wounder what you have been doing

    James, Great-get on out there and ride! Nancy


  5. Glad to find your blog. I live in Ohio but travel to Santa Ynez Valley each March for a couple of weeks to get a head start on my cycling buddies. Jalama Road is a classic. You may want to start in Solvang next time, roll through Buellton and make a left on Santa Rosa Road, hang a left on the 1 and the a right on Jalama. Around 75 total miles. Also check out the Refugio Road climb from the coast or from Solvang. It’s dirt on the Solvang side but usually good enough to ride on a road bike and then at the top take the road to the satellite array. Probably the best conditioned road in Santa Ynez Valley at the top of this mountain. Reagan’s old ranch is up there too. If interested, here is a link to my ride:

    Mark, thanks for sharing your route-I’ll have to try it next time I’m out that way! Happy Riding! Nancy


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