San Marcos Road
If you are training for the Amgen Tour of California, you'll want to go for Santa Barbara's most difficult ride: Gibraltar Road. If you are just interested in brief yet serious uphill exercise without the bragging rights, try San Marcos Road instead. Think Gibraltar Road - light. The ride starts at 1078 North San Marcos Road ( Map
), where the road widens for parked cars on the ocean side of the Maria Ygnacio Creek bridge. That's the spot on San Marcos Road where the hill begins. It is a 1250-foot elevation gain over 3 miles. The turn around point is where the road ends at busy Highway 154 ( Map
) and you will have spectacular ocean views the entire return trip. Unlike Gibraltar Road, there is a lot of vehicle traffic from locals who live in the area so stay near the shoulder and be sure you brakes on in good working order for the return trip.