Snyder Trail including Knapps Castle- Mountain Biking

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The Snyder Trail is an out-and-back trail that runs through the heart of the Santa Barbara foothills. While the trail starts and ends on fire roads, the middle portion is full and flowing singletrack.

Written by

Kara Kieffer


3.6 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

8.7 miles


3 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

3 hours


All Seasons

Dog Friendly


Yes, but it's advised to leave your pups at home.

Fees Permits




The Snyder Trail departs from a ridge top and rides east into the heart of the Santa Barbara foothills. This well-maintained trail is great for intermediate riders looking for a fun morning out.

What Makes It Great

Starting at E. Camino Cielo Road, you’ll begin a fun descent toward Paradise Valley with epic and sweeping views of the interior of the Los Padres National Forest. Toward the beginning of the ride look for signs and a trail to the right that will take you up toward Knapp’s Castle. This short detour is worth it for the views alone, but while you’re there you can check out the ruins of a once palatial estate that burned to the ground more than 70 years ago. After checking out the ruins, ride back the way you came and reconnect with the Snyder Trail.

The middle portion of the Snyder Trail is what makes this ride one to remember. Speedy and fun singletrack cruises past groves of chaparral with a few tight turns thrown in to keep you on your toes. The end of the ride becomes a little more technical and steep before you meet with Paradise Valley Road. If not running a shuttle, return the way you came. The climb is challenging, but rideable in it’s entirety if you have strong legs.

To do the ride as a shuttle, leave one car at E. Camino Cielo and another at Paradise Valley Road. However, you can just as easily do this as an out-and-back ride, returning to your vehicle at E. Camino Cielo.

Who is Going to Love It

This ride is great for intermediate riders and can be tailored for just about any liking by opting to use a shuttle at end points. Since this ride starts from a ridge, riders who are looking for a scenic ride should enjoy this one too.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From downtown Santa Barbara head north on CA-154 and follow it for 11 miles before exiting on the right onto E. Camino Cielo Road. Follow E. Camino Cielo three miles to the intersection with the Freemont Fuel Break, a dirt road on the left hand side of the road. Find parking along E. Camino Cielo or in the dirt pullout at the junction. Head up the fire road to start your ride.

Safety Note: As with many trails in the Santa Barbara foothills, this trail is used by hikers, riders, and equestrians alike. Please wear a bell, which can be acquired for free through the Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers, to keep others on the trail safe and aware of your presence.

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Snyder Trail

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