Jalama Road

Distance:  28 miles out and back
Elevation gain: 2150 ft

There’s a whole genre of literature that testifies to Man’s need to make for the sea occasionally.  Amen to that.  Especially on a bike.  Not ride along the sea—head straight for it.  Here’s a ride that does that in classic fashion.

This is not a life-changing ride.  You won’t be able to brag to your friends that you bagged it.  It’s just a lovely rolling ride to the beach, with a Sixties throw-back beach community straight out of a Gidget movie at the end of the road.   It’s all gentle up and down, with one hill in the middle that’s a bit more than that.  The scenery is perfect coastal hill-and-dale, as you ride up a creek drainage, sometimes in the gnarly riparian oaks and sometimes in the grassy hills above them.  The road surface is a bit rough about 1/3 of the time, but nothing to spoil the mood.   Not a “big” ride but a jewel.

Word has it that Jalama is scheduled for resurfacing soon (written on 5/17), so a) the surface problems may be a thing of the past, and b) you may run into road work.

(To see an interactive version of the map/elevation profile, click on the ride name, upper left, wait for the new map to load, then click on the “full screen” icon, upper right.)


Park at the intersection of Jalama Rd. and Hwy 1.  There’s a large dirt parking lot a stone’s throw up Jalama.  Ride to the ocean.  About 4 miles in you’ll start a pretty serious 1-mile climb, summit, then do a pretty serious descent.  Everything else just rolls up and down peacefully.

Sometimes you're above the trees

Sometimes you’re above the riparian woods

About a mile from the end, you summit a small hill, and the ocean and coastline are all before you (see photo below).  The road drops steeply away in front of you, and it’s a big, fast 10% esse curve plummit to the beach.  Now kick back.  Adopt the relaxed vibe.  Grab a burger at the surf shack.  Say to someone, “That ho-dad grommet really ate it when he tried to hang ten in that woodie.”

Sometimes you in the trees

Sometimes you’re in the trees

The ride back is the same in reverse.  The big hill is a mite bigger in this direction, and the descent down the back side is good for 40 mph if you can handle the moderate road chatter.

Shortening the ride: It hardly needs shortening, but if you’re determined, drive down Jalama as far as you need to to make sure you get to the ocean.

Adding miles: You’re a short ride up Hwy 1 from Santa Rosa Rd. (not to be confused with Santa Rosa Creek Rd. in our list) and the other riding in the Solvang area discussed in the Adding Miles section of the Mt. Figueroa ride.

First view of the ocean

First view of the ocean

5 thoughts on “Jalama Road

  1. Dan from Virginia

    Planning to ride Buellton to Jalama Beach and back. Do cyclists have to pay the $10 vehicle fee? Just wondering how much cash to pack. Need to make sure I have enough to buy one of those burgers.

    1. Jack Rawlins Post author

      I never heard of a vehicle fee, so I certainly never paid one. Let me know what you find out.

  2. Sebastian

    There’s an ATM in the burger store by the beach. A rider died two weeks ago hitting a semi truck. It’s a smooth ride but don’t be overconfident. Gravel in some of the sharpest corners is common.

  3. Ken Cushman

    To answer Dan from Virginia’s question: No, cyclists do not have to pay the $10 vehicle fee to enter the Jalama beach park.

  4. Stephen Durfee

    I did this ride yesterday. The road surfaces aren’t great but manageable. The cheeseburger made it all worthwhile.


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