SANTA BARBARA DAY HIKES
Ellwood Bluffs / Monarch Preserve
This lovely stroll through Eucalyptus groves and protected bluffs offers access to a beach with 80-foot cliffs and to a Monarch Butterfly Preserve where thousands of butterflies come to feed during winter months. It’s an easy walk along the bluffs, and a pleasant way to spend the day with beautiful ocean views.
North 101, take Glen Annie/Storke Road Exit. Turn Left (South 101, turn right) , and drive a half a mile to Hollister Ave. Turn Right, and follow Hollister for about a mile to Santa Barbara Shores (the street has white walls at the entrance) and drive to the end. Walk through the fence and to the bluffs.
Tucker’s Grove is a popular park for locals, and nearby is a pleasant hike along San Antonio Creek. This trial will take you through a lush wooded area of meadows and bay, oak, and sycamore trees.
North 101 exit at Turnpike Road and turn Right (South 101, turn Left) and drive to the end of the road, at the intersection with Cathedral Oaks Road. You’ll see the park access on the other side of the intersection. Drive into the park and turn right and drive to the very last parking lot. The trail access begins here.
Ellings Park / Sierra Club Trail
This Park is one of the best in Santa Barbara. It offers both public and private amenities. There are multiple sports fields, a bicycle racing trace, a remote-controlled car racing track, and kids playgrounds. These areas are in a kind of valley. One one side of the valley are private gathering places for private parties and gatherings by reservation, plus a paved walkway with great views. On the other side of the valley are hiking trails that will
get your heart pumping when you first go up the hill but then eases out once at the top. Follow the trails to the hillside that overlooks the ocean and you find a great visual treat!
North 101, take Las Positas exit, turn Left (South 101, turn Right), and follow Las Positas for about a mile or more. On your right side you’ll see a sign for Ellings Park. The entrance is on the left, but watch out because it comes up quickly. If you reach then end of Las Positas, at an intersection, you’ve gone too far. Just flip a U-turn, drive back and you’ll see the park entrance on the right.
Cold Spring Canyon
There are many little pools and waterfalls along this hike. It’s one that you can meander up for an easy time, enjoying the environment, or you can charge forward to its end up a 200 ft. scramble to bigger waterfall named Tangerine Falls.
North 101, exit Olive Mill Rd, turn Right (South 101, same exit, but you will drive a block first and then turn Left). This road becomes Hot Springs Road. Follow it past E. Valley Rd (HWY 192), up to E. Mountain Rd. Turn Left and drive about 2 ó miles to the trailhead. There are a few curves on this road, and you may get confused as to where the trailhead is, but be sure that you’ll find it. It’s actually pretty easy
to notice. You’ll see a nice dirt pullout/parking area on the right, and a cement area where Cold Spring Creek flows over. The trails begin near the creek.
This is a bit out of the way, about a 15-20 minute drive from Santa Barbara, but it’s worth the views and the pleasure of the unique environment. Lizard’s Mouth is not so much a trail, as it is an area, up on the mountain, with numerous boulders to scramble up and around if you like, or little trails to weave around the boulders and take in the great overview of the ocean and entire Santa Barbara area. This is a popular place for rock
North 101, exit State St./HWY 154. Drive straight across State St. and up a couple blocks until you see a fork to the right for HWY 154 (also called San Marcos Pass). Head right and drive up HWY 154 for about 7 miles. Watch for a sign for West Camino Cielo. Turn Left on this road and follow the twisty road for about 4 miles to pullouts on each side and park (if you reach the Winchester Gun Club, you’ve gone about 100 yards past the trailhead). The trailhead is unmarked, but take a look and you’ll see some breaks in the bushes that are well worn. Enter here (you’ll be heading South, toward the ocean) an follow the trail until you come to a clearing where you’ll witness the views. From here, follow your own path, but be sure to remember where you came from.
The point offers wonderful views and good exercise.
From North 101, exit Mission St., turn Right (South 101, Left), follow the street until the end at Laguna St. Left and then Right at E. Los Olivos St.. You’ll pass the S.B. Mission. The street will become Mission Cyn. Rd. follow it to the end at Foothill Rd. Right. About ó a mile, left again at Mission Cyn. Rd. and then there will be a fork, bear left onto Tunnel Road. You’ll go uphill. Follow until the end at the top and park. The trailhead is gated and paved. Walk up this paved road for about a mile, to a bridge. Cross the bride and you’ll see the road forks right, but you want to bear left, into the woods. The trail is sometimes overgrown, but follow it to the left for about ó a mile up to a crossing of Mission Creek. Cross the creek and bear straight ahead. Follow this trail for about another mile and you’ll hit Inspiration Point. It sounds complicated but it’s not. You’ll do fine. Roundtrip, this trail is about 2 miles long, and well worth it.
This an uphill hike to a beautiful waterfall with sweeping views.
Follow the same directions to get to the Inspiration Point hike, but once you’ve been hiking and you reach the bridge, head to the right. Follow the trail and it will curve left, up a hill. 20 or 30 yards up the hill, on the right will be a sign pointing to a trailhead on the right. Follow this trail uphill all the way to the waterfall. About 2 miles up, you’ll see a sign for the Rattlesnake Canyon Connector Trail. Don’t take this, just keep going straight up to the falls. Round trip it’s about 5.8 miles.