Where to Hike and Bike: Guides to Santa Barbara County

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Where to hike and bike: guides to Santa Barbara County

The Santa Ynez Range, the San Rafael, the Sierra Madre: the mountains of Santa Barbara County are among the most beautiful in Southern California, which is probably why numerous Hollywood types (and one prominent resident of Pennsylvania Avenue) have found refuge there.

The new Santa Barbara County Recreastional Map Series can help you explore this back country. The 22- by 27-inch maps aren't topographic, but they do show major peaks, streams, trails, and campgrounds. On the back are trail descriptions, natural history, and local lore. The series has four maps:

1. San Rafael Wilderness and Vicinity covers the 149,000-acre wilderness north of Santa Barbara. Overnight campers cluster in the Manzana Creek drainage; the more ambitious head north to the Sisquoc River and Hurricane Deck.

2. A Hiker's Guide to the Santa Barbara Front Country focuses on day-hikes in the Santa Ynez Mountains immediately behind Santa Barbara and Montecito.

3. A Hiker's Guide to the Dick Smith Wilderness covers trails in the 64,000-acre wilderness in eastern Santa Barbara and western Ventura counties. Backpackers will find rugged scenery, few people.

4. Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Routes takes fat-tire aficionados on national forest fire roads in the Santa Ynez Mountains and upper Santa Ynez Valley. …