Essential Guide to Biking Latigo Canyon

This isn’t the essential guide to biking Latigo Canyon as much as it is being an essential ride.

The Santa Monica Mountains has plenty to offer cyclists both on the pavement and dirt, but there are so many reasons why this climb is such a standout and was a close second to top climbs in Los Angeles.

First is its command of views, both from the scenic standpoint and the variety.



Part of this is due to its age, where roads covering mountains in the 1930s relied more on following the terrain to avoid the more tedious task of digging into the hillside at that time and making the grades friendly to the bulk of vehicles that didn’t have the horsepower to cover double digit climbs.

This contrast is clear with the modern Kanan Road to the west where people drive at speeds around 50 mph where on Latigo you’ll probably do half that.


Latigo Canyon Map


The result is that there is substantially less auto traffic on these roads than other parts of the Santa Monica Mountains to make biking Latigo Canyon a pleasant experience.

From a visual standpoint, there’s a lot of natural beauty as the sharp ridges and fire danger limit over development in the area.


Look at those curves


Even the small vineyard just past the halfway point is perfectly placed.

Another bonus is the length as it’s one of the longest in the region, so much so that temperatures can differ ten degrees with the coastal fog at the bottom to the exposed peak not far from the Backbone Trail.


Latigo Canyon Elevation Profile


At 9.23 miles (Strava link), you’ll see a lot of variation in undulating surfaces and curves that will keep you from settling into just one gear.

Biking Latigo Canyon is simply one of those rides you can always return to and find something new.