Solvang: Santa Margarita-Pozo Loop

Friday, April 5, 2013

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

We’ve had five glorious days of cycling around the beautiful back roads surrounding the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County. We’re going to slip one last ride in and join the group for the Santa Margarita Pozo Loop before heading home.

After checking out from the Kronborg Inn, we head north on Hwy 101 for the 1.5 hour drive to the ride start at the Santa Margarita Community Park in Santa Margarita.

We all roll out from the park and head SE on W Pozo Rd for the first 7.5 miles on flat to gentle rolling terrain. This segment of the road follows the Rinconada Creek out to the turn off at Santa Margarita Lake Rd.

The wide valley has expansive grasslands with oak woodlands and fabulous views of the Santa Lucia Range and the mountains surrounding the Los Padres National Forest.

We take Santa Margarita Lake Rd for the short jaunt out to Santa Margarita Lake. There’s food, water and restrooms near the boat launch area. A few of us drop down to the south end of the lake for a brief stop at Jack’s Hill to enjoy the lakeside views.

We exit the lake and continue to head east on W Pozo Rd for the next few miles through the pretty tree lined road up to the short one mile climb to the top of Pozo Rd. The gradient ranges from 5-9%; you’re near the top when you see the guard rail on the right hand side of the road.

Pozo Rd descends along the north end of Los Padres National Forest and continues on a ridge with marvelous views of the surrounding Garcia Mountains. We pass a few horse ranches with paddocks and old abandoned one room houses as we make our way into the tiny town of Pozo.

Our lunch stop is at the US Forestry Dept Bldg on Hi Mountain Lookout Rd. There are no facilities here. Make sure you bring food, snacks and plenty of water or even a Camelbak.

We get back on Pozo Rd and head NW on Parkhill Rd through the valley floor with gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains of the La Panza Range. The clouds above cast their shadows over the mountains and create a more dramatic feel of the open range.

We pass a couple of ranches with grazing cattle and horses in the open fields. The old growth oaks provide a bit of shade as we roll by the meadows of wildflowers and horse paddocks.

Parkhill Rd goes on for a long 10 miles and takes you up another ridge with scenic views of the mountains and the expansive open range and grasslands. The group stops briefly in the shade before making the descent to Huer Huero Rd.

Huer Huero Rd is a quiet 5.9 mile stretch of road that passes through some residential homes and horse ranches. We ride by a woman taking her sheep out for a walk-that’s very country! The road descend quickly down to what looks like a destination western style ranch with lots of old farm equipment and cowboy type artifacts. The rusted iron fence has decorative wagon wheels and the building is decorative with the spirit of the US flag. The property also has a horse paddock with the classic windmill placed in the middle of the ranch.

From Huer Huero Rd, we continue on Hwy 58/Calf Canyon Rd for the one mile climb up to the summit. The rolling descent brings us back to Santa Margarita on Estrada Ave.

This was a beautiful ride to cap off our Solvang Spring Break! We drive back home after the ride while the remaining group continue on to Paso Robles.

Thanks to Jaz and Mark N for leading and organizing the week long rides!

Garmin Stats:
46.56 Miles with 3415′ of elevation gain
Max Elevation: 2039′
Avg grade: 3%
Max grade: 12%

Weather: GREAT! Morning clouds giving way to clear blue skies in the afternoon. Temps ranged from the mid 60’s to the high 80’s. NNW Winds

*some photos are courtesy of Zach Kaplan

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It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.
~Charles Spurgeon
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