Trek Travel’s #4 Greatest Ride In The World.
Camino Cielo in Spanish means “Sky road” and there could not be a better name for this route.
Discover this ride on our California trip.


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!

“Great trip to kickstart the cycling season. It is designed to continually step up the effort throughout the week…Oh and did I mention the value; can’t imagine how you pack that much value into a full week of biking. A great package! Thanks for keeping it within reach of aspiring cyclists.”

-Monica, Trek Travel Guest

Three Things 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.

Local Resources

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.

Discover this ride on our California trip.

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