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Solvang To Ballard Canyon Loop

Solvang To Ballard Canyon Loop

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Explore quiet and rustic areas on this 12.5 mile cycling loop with views of the San Rafael Mountains.

Description:  This moderately easy ride combines the charm of a ride through Solvang, the Alamo Pintado Valley, and the country feeling of Ballard Canyon. Adapted from

Length:  12.5 miles, with a little elevation change.

Directions: Begin at the corner of Highway 246 and Atterdag Road in downtown Solvang. From Highway 246 heading west, turn right (north) on Atterdag and up Chalk Hill Road, the first of several climbs. At the top knoll, take one last look back over the river valley before a fast downhill section to the Ballard Canyon Road intersection. After the stop sign, bear left, then curve to the right onto Ballard Canyon. A short climb brings you up into the upper canyon, which is not actually a canyon but a very pretty valley. The road is very quiet and rustic, level for the first part then rising steadily to a high point looking out to Los Olivos and the San Rafael Mountains. A quick drop leads to Highway 154, turn right and look for Mattei’s Tavern to the right. Just past Mattei’s Tavern, turn right on Grand Avenue into the town of Los Olivos and go south 0.9 miles, curve right across the creek and then turn left and follow Alamo Pintado Road for 4.2-mile return trip to Highway 246 (there is a bike lane the entire stretch). Turn right on 246 and ascend the slight rise into Solvang.

For a slightly longer and more strenuous trip: rather than turning on Atterdag, start on Highway 246 in Solvang and follow it two miles west to the lower end of Ballard Canyon Road. Turn right onto Ballard Canyon. This adds 3.5 miles to the ride and several miles of riding next to fast moving cars on Highway 246. However, the lower section of Ballard leads through a narrow and very pretty canyon for a mile then rises several hundred feetbefore dropping down to the Chalk Hill intersection. Bear left here and follow the original route on Ballard Canyon Road.

Points of Interest:

  • Mattie’s Tavern
  • Los Olivos: A charming historic town, known for wine-tasting
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