Santa Ynez mountains include tucked away roads with estates such as Neverland Ranch, the former home of Michael Jackson.
Santa Ynez Mountains, California Transverse
Santa Ynez mountains in the
Tranverse Ranges of Southern to Central Coast are some of California's youngest mountain ranges
(about five million years old,) and most relaxing to enjoy
as you travel Central Coast California's scenic highways.
Shown in the picture are the mountains near Lake Cachuma in
Santa Barbara County.
As you leave the Los Angeles basin on Interstate 101, and head
north into Ventura, you'll notice the city is flanked by a
range of mountains that continue northward through Santa
Barbara. Known as Santa Ynez Mountains, this range extends
into Ventura, though mostly found in Santa Barbara County.
Entirely east-west trending mountains, they become apparent at
the canyon of the Ventura River, and as they extend north
through Ojai in Ventura County. They extend north through
Santa Barbara, then west, paralleling the coast.
Before reaching Lompoc the mountain range diverges into two
low ranges, separated by Jalama Creek, which then vanish into the Pacific Ocean. The Santa Ynez
River flows just north of the mountains, paralleling them
for most of their length.
Summits in the Santa Ynez range don't generally exceed 5,000
Divide Peak, 4707'
La Cumbre Peak 3985'
Santa Ynez Peak, 4298'
Santa Ynez Mountain Passes -Gaviota Pass - travelers easily
see the pass on Interstate 101 at the Gaviota rest stop and
Gaviota Tunnel. This is the western portion of the
range and is considered the gentler method, traveling I-101
through the Gaviota Pass. Less steep inclines, more highway
lanes, and not as susceptible to fog, this is the preferred
route for most travelers.
San Marcos Pass is a steep, windy path on SR154. There are
rock slides on occasion, windy roads, and slow driving
behind trucks. Fog also creates challenging road conditions.
The drive is incredibly scenic but not for everyone. San Marcos Pass
- travelers on SR154 northeast of the city of Santa Barbara
drive through this pass which includes a drive over the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge near the summit.
Things to see:
Chumash Indians created rock art paintings seen at Painted Cave State
Historic Park. Large portions of the mountain range are
located in the Los Padres National Forest. The walls of a
small cave carved from sandstone boulders contain some of the finest remaining rock art created by Chumash Native Americans. A steep path leads to the cave entrance, which is protected by heavy iron grillwork. Anthropologists estimate that the paintings date to the 1600's and earlier. The
cave is three miles south of San Marcos Pass. Take Highway 154 from Santa Barbara and turn right on Painted Cave Road. The cave is located on the left about two miles up a steep, narrow road. Parking is limited to two or three cars. RVs and trailers should not attempt the road.
Cachuma Lake: Flanked by the picturesque Santa Ynez and San
Rafael Mountains, Cachuma Lake features camping facilities,
boating, fishing, and nature watching boat tours.
Tranverse Ranges are mountains in Southern California
with east-west trending. These Transverse Ranges include a series of eastwest trending mountain ranges that extend from Point Conception at the western tip of Santa Barbara County, eastward (and a bit south) to the east end of the San Jacinto Mountains in western Riverside County. The Santa Ynez
Mountains make up the westernmost ranges, extending from
Point Conception to the Ventura River just west-northwest of
Ojai, in Ventura County.