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Camino Cielo

#4 on our Great Rides list

Camino Cielo

Camino Cielo in Spanish means “Sky road” and there could not be a better name for this route.


Santa Barbara, California, USA

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48.7 miles / 78.5km

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Elevation Gain

6,702ft / 2,043m

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Best Time to Visit

Spring or Fall

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Paved Road

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Level 4

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Level 1

Discover this ride on our Solvang ride camp

Pro cycling training and home to the Tour of California Time Trial

You’ll start by parking at a campground off of San Marcos pass and immediately start climbing and winding your way up to the ridge.

About 11 miles in, the trees will open up and you will start to understand why this is called the “sky road” when you experience the incredible 360 degree views of the pacific ocean, Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez mountains. On the ridge line, thousands of feet above the ocean, you will experience a dry chaparral landscape that is far different from the lush greenery where the ride started. This rollercoaster of a road will take you higher and higher up into the sky before dropping down every once in a while and allowing your legs to recover and take in the views. While extremely challenging and steep, this southern California gem is unmatched in its views of the surrounding areas and should not be missed!

What you need to know

The first 11.5 miles will be the hardest section where the climbing is relentless and you will see grades of 12%. The middle part of the ride once you are up on the ridge is 30 miles round trip and 3600ft of elevation gain. The maximum grade on this ride is 13.4% and this can be sustained for half a mile in some sections. Be prepared to climb!

The temperature up on the ridge can be 10-15 degrees colder than down in Santa Barbara. Be prepared for colder weather and possibility of rain especially in winter and spring. Camino Cielo is also extremely exposed and therefore can be incredibly hot and dry in the summer and fall. Plan your hydration, clothing and sunscreen appropriately during these times. Due to the duelling extremes of very high heat and drought to intense and frequent rain, this road is subject to landslides, washed out sections and debris in the road. Make sure to use caution and check with local bike shops to understand the condition of the road before you go.

There are no resources at any point on this ride. It is recommended to bring at least 3 16oz bottles of water and plenty of food and supplies to be self supported on the ride.

While you’re in town

For those looking to tack on some extra elevation and miles, at mile 31 you can turn off onto the famous Gibraltar road which will take you down toward Santa Barbara. You will then, of course, have to climb back up the Amgen Tour of California climb before linking back up with Camino Cielo.

There are a number of bike shops in Santa Barbara that will gladly get you set up with a rental and any gear needs you may have. Santa Barbara boasts a number of other iconic bike rides, epic hikes, surfing, boat tours, wine tasting, shopping and more. Make sure to spend a couple days here to take it all in.

Ready for Camino Cielo?

Book early and save. We reward our guests with lower pricing and more dates to choose from the earlier you book. Rest assured, once you book, your price is guaranteed.


If a date is marked as Private, it is reserved for a private group.

Looking to travel with a small group or looking for a custom date?
Call our trip consultants at 866-464-8735

What is the Difference?

Ultimate Luxury:

Savor some of the most spectacular, 5-star properties in the world. Exuding luxury and elegance, these one-of-a-kind accommodations offer the chance to rejuvenate at award-winning spas, dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, and more.


Enjoy luxurious accommodations handpicked for a refined experience. From signature spa treatments to delicious local cuisine, you’ll be more than provided for; you’ll be pampered.


These handpicked hotels provide relaxation and fun in a casual and comfortable environment. Delicious cuisine and great service mix perfectly for a memorable stay.


On select cycling vacations, you’ll stay at a mix of Explorer and Luxury hotels. Rest assured, no matter which hotel level you’re at, our trip designers carefully select every accommodation.

Activity Level

Level 1:

Road: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 25 mi (40 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Gravel: 1-3 hours of riding. Up to 20 mi (35 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 1-3 hours of hiking. Up to 5 mi (8 km). Up to 1,000 ft (300 m).

Level 2:

Road: 2-4 hours of riding. 20-35 mi (35-60 km). Up to 2,500 ft (750 m).

Gravel: 2-4 hours of riding. 15-30 mi (25-45 km). Up to 2,000 ft (300 m).

Hiking: 2-4 hours of hiking. 4-8 mi (6-12 km). Up to 1,500 ft (450 m).

Level 3:

Road: 3-5 hours of riding. 25-55 mi (40-85 km). Up to 4,500 ft (1,500 m).

Gravel: 3-5 hours of riding. 20-40 mi (35-60 km). Up to 3,000 ft (900 m).

Hiking: 3-5 hours of hiking. 6-10 mi (9-16 km). Up to 2,000 ft (600 m).

Level 4:

Road: 4+ hours of riding. 40-70 mi (60-110 km). Up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m).

Gravel: 4+ hours of riding. 30-50 mi (45-80 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

Hiking: 4+ hours of hiking. 7-15 mi (11-24 km). Up to 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

What are your trip styles?

Classic - Reserve:

Savor the finer things as you relax in luxurious 5-star accommodations and wine, dine, and ride in some of the most unforgettable destinations around the world.

Classic - Signature:

Explore beautiful destinations by bike, enjoy extra inclusions, savor delicious local cuisine, and enjoy the perfect mix of accommodations.

Classic - Discover:

Enjoy a casual cycling vacation with fantastic routes and comfortable accommodations.

Ride Camp:

Train like the pros in some of their favorite riding destinations.

Pro Race:

See the pros in action at the biggest cycling events of the year.

Cross Country:

Tackle an epic adventure that takes you point-to-point across mountains, countryside, and more.


Enjoy a bike tour on your schedule with just your chosen travel companions.

Single Occupancy

Sometimes it’s more convenient and comfortable to have your own room while on vacation. We understand and that’s why we offer a Single Occupancy option. The additional price guarantees a private room all to yourself