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Driving Road Review: Latigo Canyon - DrivingScene

Driving Road Review: Latigo Canyon

Posted on 29 October 2012 by Adam Kaslikowski

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Route: Latigo Canyon Rd North from PCH to S Kanan Dume Rd.

Total Length: 10.2 miles

Directions: Turn onto Latigo Canyon Rd from the PCH and follow until it ends at Kanan Dume Rd .

Total Rating: ★★★★☆

Let’s cut to the chase – Latigo Canyon is the best California canyon road we’ve ever driven on.  This is a high-precision “course” that requires full attention and shows you the worst and the best of your vehicle. Latigo is DrivingScene’s go-to test course for high performance cars and the canyon we pit our daily drivers against when we need to unwind. Close this browser and go drive it now.


Curves Rating: ★★★★★

The best canyon road for technical curves  we’ve found so far. Full stop. From hairpins to fast sweepers, Latigo has got you covered. It feels like the majority of curves are blind 2 lane switchbacks, which gives this route a complexity and repeatability I’ve found nowhere else. Given that the curves are tightly stacked upon each other, 2nd and 3rd gears are the weapons of choice here.


Police Presence Rating: ★★★★★

Unless this review sends hundreds of auto junkies up and down this route at high-speed, you’re gonna be pretty safe from prosecution here. Basically, there are very few places for a radar-trapper officer to hide and not enough traffic to justify the hours spent there.  The moral of the story is enjoy this road, don’t abuse it, and we can all continue to enjoy it at 10/10ths for some time to come.


Traffic Rating: ★★★☆☆

Traffic is fairly light throughout the canyon, but if you do run into another motorist you’re going to be behind them until they decide different. There are no overtaking areas or split lanes anywhere on this route. Fortunately the residents are quick to pull over and let you pass if they notice you charging up behind them.


Scenic Beauty Rating: ★★★★★

This is the consummate California canyon road. Stunning vistas, jutting canyon walls, green foliage and abundant wildlife. With few pull-off areas you have to enjoy the views while attempting to keep your sled on the road, but the quick glances are worth it. The canyon also features some fairly breathtaking houses mansions.


Population Rating: ★★☆☆☆

There are houses and small neighborhoods dotted throughout canyon. Because of this, you have to be conscious of other vehicles suddenly exiting or entering your lane of travel. There is also one particular corner where it is difficult to determine which path of a fork is the road and which is a house’s driveway. There is no extended section of Latigo Canyon that is free of houses – consider the entire route populated.


Speed Rating: ★★★★☆

Get ready to abuse your brakes, and boil your transmission, because even maintaining the posted speed limit is a serious challenge here. While the posted limit is low and there are very few straight sections that allow you to build up great speed, it’s not much of a concern here. Keep your lines and concentrate on hitting apexes and you’ll never want for more speed.


Safety Rating: ★★☆☆☆

The biggest danger on Latigo is either you or an oncoming vehicle overcooking their entrance speed and bleeding into the other lane right at the apex of a blind corner. The canyon is largely populated by these blind curves, especially the decreasing radius curves that catch drivers off-guard and create unsafe situations. Keep control of yourself and your vehicle and you’ll be relatively safe. Lastly, the road is populated by deer and rabbits once the sun sets, so unless you want to redecorate your hood/face with entrails drive aware.