Gaviota Wind Caves Trail is a 2.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Goleta, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
Beautiful wind sculpted caves, incredible ocean vistas. This is a semi-strenuous but short in and out hike. The begins trail following an old road along gaviota creek moving inland. This part is mostly flat with lots of riparian birds. As you head towards the hills, you can see final destination as series of holes in the sandstone outcroppings ahead. After about 3/4 of a mile you will start the ascending switchback, which was very well-maintained. Continuing along the ridgeline you'll come to the first wind cave. Cross through the wind cave and the trail gets much steeper with a couple of switch backs, until you reach the bottom of the second cave. To left is a trail, or you can scramble straight up. The views from the top are not to be believed.
It was a little muddy but great trail! We got up to the wind caves, which was cool but what was even more cool was the hole in the rock that served as a looking glass lookout point. Plus, the views were spectacular! Would definitely do this again!
From the parking lot head up the road and you will see a gate on the right side. The pavement path will take you to the entrance of the hike marked by a sign with the trail information.Follow the path up the hill for a 2.5 mile out and back hike. There is an immediate incline so prepare for a bit of work. The path gets narrow and at times it becomes single file. I recommend wearing long sleeves and pants as some of the brush is overgrown. After the first hill the land levels off. Take a quick few steps to the right for an amazing view and a waterfall. Be careful as the edge drops off. After taking in the view, turn around and continue back up the trail. The path has a few small forks which reconnect quickly and a good number of switchbacks, but keep your eye on the caves and you will know you are headed in the right direction.
I happened to take this hike while it was raining and the trails were super muddy. I suggest wearing shoes with traction rain or shine due to the clay-like soil that crumbles easily. You will encounter a set of caves that have some graffiti. This is a great resting stop to have lunch or just take in the views. You can climb around up to the top of these caves for stunning views of the rolling greens hills and the ocean. You can see more caves up in the distance. I didn't try to wonder any further as the remainder of the trail looks like a tough scramble and the rain was really starting to come down. I read that are more caves up ahead but, I am not sure if they are the set of caves you can see in the distance. There are also hot springs in the area.
FYI - 2/19/17 parking lot was VERY flooded. You can park up top and walk down. Be prepared to trudge through mud. I am sure this will dry up after rainy season.
Also, this is not a hike for young kids.
For pictures and more information: http://www.fruitstandfresh.com/category/adventuretravel/cahikes/
Better markers for the trails needed.
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.
very cool trail
It was short but wet, the rain caught us. Mud surfed. Will return to finish trail.Its an easy open trail
Trail is good and a good work to the top cave. I'm 50+ and it was a total 1.5 hours. We rested a bit at the top. Lots of people on trail which was one way at times. Saw a couple snakes but they were on the paved road which was odd. Take water and pictures.
Not a bad day hike. The trail is pretty steep incline going up the entire time to the caves. There are few along the way to stop and look at. Not too challenging besides the uphill part. Pack a lunch and enjoy the view from the top of the caves. No shade on the trail so bring plenty of water
It's a quick hike to the caves but its an incline and a little rock climbing involved. I would recommend it, great adventure!