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Stagecoach Road is one of Santa Barbara County's most famous roads. It is part of the original Stagecoach Route when the coach's ruled the terrain from 1861 to 1910. In 1910 the first automobile drove across the San Marcos Pass, effectively ending the stage coach era. However, Stagecoach Rd remained the only means of traversing the Cold Springs portion of the San Marcos Pass until 1963, when the construction of the Cold Springs Arc Bridge (and modern day Hwy 154) was completed and motorists could finally pass over Cold Springs and the winding Stagecoach Rd.

Stagecoach Road is also home to The Cold Springs Tavern, an historic stagecoach stop dating back to 1868, when it was home to the Chinese coolies who built the Santa Ynez Turnpike Rd over the San Marcos Pass. Many original buildings (from different time periods) are still there and there is an air of history that surrounds the place. The Tavern today is one of the most popular places to go to on the weekends, for motorcyclists and motorists alike. On Sundays, the main parking lot is reserved strictly for motorcycles; autos must find space on the roadside. Live music, outdoor tri-tip bbq (or indoor restaurant) and lots of great folks can be found on Sundays, while other days the restaurant is the main attraction (although on Saturday the bar is open as well, but it is usually a sparse crowd). Everyone is welcome at Cold Springs and it is an eclectic group spanning all walks of life.

Stagecoach Road in modern times is a short one, spanning only 5.3 miles from start to finish. Most folks are barely aware of the first 1/2 mile, as the main signage on Hwy 154 for Stagecoach Rd is actually further down from the actual beginning of Stagecoach Rd.

The road itself is quite twisty and in fair condition. It does get a bit bumpy in spots and also sports a few potholes here and there. The scenery is for the most part California Chaparral, although you get into some thick tree line from time to time. Because Stagecoach Road is a popular one, you also need to pay attention to traffic, especially in the blind corners and on Sundays, when traffic is at it's heaviest.


Stagecoach Rd. 5.3 Miles of twisties on one of the most historic roads in the County.

3D Contour Map


Stagecoach Rd starts at approx 7.8 miles north-west from Hwy 101. The exit to the first entrance is marked as the Kinevan Rd exit, although it is actually the start of Stagecoach Rd. The actual Signal for Stagecoach Rd is 1/2 mile north-west on Hwy 154, the common entrance to Stagecoach Rd.


The beginning of Stagecoach Rd is actually marked as Kinevan Rd. Kineven however, begins 500 yds south-east of the exit. This is the start of Stagecoach Rd.


Signage on Hwy 154 for Stagecoach Rd actually puts you on Stagecoach Rd 1/2 mile down from the start of the road. While this is the most common entrance to Stagecoach Rd, it does not represent the begining of Stagecoach Rd.


From the beginning at the Kinevan Rd Exit, make a right (north-west) and head onto Stagecoach Road.


You will immediately see sign #26 of the Santa Barbara Stagecoach route markers.


Head on up into the tree lined roadway!


This ride was shot in late September, and autumn colors were still plentiful. Note the road detereoration that you will find on Stagecoach Rd. It's not too bad, but you need to keep an eye out for it.


Coming around a couple of moderate sweepers, road conditions are good and very ridable.



After 1/2 mile you come to the spur of the main entrance, were the Stagecoach Rd exit is marked on Hwy 154.


Heading down to Cold Springs on some nice twisties. Road conditions deteriorate a little here, and watch the blind corners for traffic.


If you pay attention on the way down to Cold Springs you will see a terrific view of the Cold Springs Arc Bridge, which finally allowed motorists to pass over Cold Springs and Stagecoach Rd.

The Cold Springs Arc Bridge is the largest arc bridge in North America. Using 5,094,000 pounds of steel the bridge ia as tall as a 36-story building. The painters of the bridge used 2100 gallons of paint to cover the 180,000 sq. ft. surface. (Rassmussen, p. 18.)



Nearing the Cold Springs Tavern on some nice twisties, you can see how the road condition has deteriorate a bit...


Once you see cars parked along the side of the road you know you are nearing Cold Springs Tavern.


On Sundays the main parking lot at the Tavern is reserved for motorcycles only. It can get quite crowded there at times (this pic was taken early morning, before traffic into the Tavern got heavy)!


The Cold Springs Tavern Restaurant. Historic ambience and terrific food!


The Cold Springs Tavern Bar. Live music outside (then inside later in the afternoon) every Sunday, with a very diverse crowd who come from all walks of life. Cold Springs Tavern is a terrific way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


Heres how it's gonna look to you coming up to the Tavern from the opposite direction.


Now past the Cold Springs Tavern and heading down Stagecoach Rd, you pass underneath the Cold Springs Arc Bridge. There's no missing it.


Some terrific views of the Santa Ynez Valley and Los Padres National Forest can be found on Stagecoach Rd.


Zooming down through some more twisties....Road conditions are decent, but watch for the occasional pot-hole.


Again through the tree-line on a nice sweeper.


Paradise Road Intersection. From here you can head south and connect with Hwy 154 or straight through on Stagecoach Rd.


Fantastic scenery!


Back into the dry chaparral and hitting some twisties...


And again back into the treeline...road conditions are dry but very ridable.


This one section of road collapsed some time ago. I guess the county just decided not to deal with it and squeezed the road into one lane here at this spot. A bit odd but oh well...watch the traffic here.


End of the line, Hwy 154. From here you can head north-west and continue on to Santa Ynez, Solvang and/or Los Olivos, or head south-east back to Santa Barbara.


Stagecoach Rd is NOT well marked on the north end Hwy 154 entrance. If you wish to enter Stagecoach from this side you really need to watch for it. About the only thing you will see is a Los Padres National Forest sign (up ahead, to the right in this picture).



Highway 154



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