Gaviota State Park takes its name from the Spanish word for seagull, given to the area by soldiers of the Portola Expedition who supposedly killed a seagull while camping here in 1769. Marked by a tall Southern Pacific railroad trestle that crosses Gaviota Creek high above the day-use parking lot, the park is a popular spot for swimming, picnicking, surf fishing and camping, despite high winds that often blow through the area. A pier on the west end of the beach is used by anglers, and scuba divers and surfers use a boat hoist on the pier to access the waters of the Santa Barbara Channel. Visitors can explore the rugged upland portions of the park from a trailhead in the parking area. Ambitious hikers can climb to Gaviota Peak that offers a spectacular view of the coast and the Channel Islands.
I'm not a hiker by any means so I did the whole loop in 4 hours. We went up Gaviota peak trail, which is hard on the heart. We went down Trespass trail which is hard on the knees and toes! But I'm glad we did it this way rather than the other way around. People who have bad knees may prefer to start up with Trespass trail. When going up peak trail, look behind, there are some wonderful views. At the top, write down something ni the log book and take a selfie with the marker (bucket). We could not see very clearly in the distance because of the sea fog. Not a good trail for just after the rain, we saw several muddy spot (slippery!) on our way down.
This is one of my favorite trails in the Goleta area. We started early morning with showers light so we just kept on going. Hit the hot springs at the bottom on the way up to warm up , and then as soon as we were out - torrential downpour!!! The temp dropped to 40 , wind was howling, fog was heavy , and the rain wouldn't stop!!! Eventually got to the top a couple hours later turning the corner expecting a final ascent to the peak, but fooled again!! Once we reached the top... that's for you to find out!!
Great hike this time of year. The trailhead starts off paved, but right after the pavement ends begins a steep ascent. After reaching the set of graffitied caves, KEEP GOING. Reaching the higher set of caves adds about 10 minutes to your hike but it is definitely worth it. Expect light traffic and spritz on a bit of bug spray if you have it.