Montecito Peak Hike Trail

MODERATE 10 reviews
#9 of 121 trails in

Montecito Peak Hike Trail is a 5.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Santa Barbara, CA that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

5.8 miles 2539 feet Out & Back

dog friendly


trail running




wild flowers


This trail is rocky with lots of loose dirt, but standing on top of Montecito Peak you feel like you accomplished something. It is a physically demanding hike, but this is a hike we would recommend. Its always nice when you can end your hike with leaving a note in a peak journal or taking your picture next to a peak sign. There are three trailheads at this location. The one you want has a wooden sign with Cold Springs Trail and the letters MTF (Montecito Trails Foundation) on it. It is just before the road crosses the creek. From the road, the trail starts climbing immediately. Stay to the right on the beginning of the trail. Continue straight when you come to the West Fork trail on the left. Just past this junction there is a bench on the left. The trail continues a steady climb with two creek crossings. After the second creek crossing stay to the right, there are two other trails to the left, don't go on those. There are numerous switchbacks, take those but be careful because the trail goes straight and there is a switchback to the left. Take the switchback to the left, again stay on the wider part of trail at any junction. At 1.6 miles you will see the Edison access dirt road. Go left and cross under the power lines till you see a single track trail heading up the hill on your left. Once you cross under the power lines, take that trail. This rocky and sometimes steep trail passes the tree with a makeshift bench with great views. From the tree, the trail heads toward Montecito Peak and then passes to the west. When you are almost past the peak at 3.6 miles, look on the right for an unmarked narrow trail. The trail is narrow, steep and in shale, but the climb up to the 3,214 foot summit is well worth it. The summit is at 4 miles. The return route is the way you came. The reason I was so detailed in the instructions is because you can easily take the wrong trail.

1 day ago

Wow, last 200 yards are gnarley climb!!!

11 days ago

Great hike, views are totally with the uphill. The first 1/3rd is along the creek and in the shade which was appreciated in the heat. The signage for the peak is not great but we followed the signs for E Camino Cielo and then just took a right to head up the back to the peak. The last part was a bit loose and steeper but it's not for long, and again the views are worth it.

11 days ago

Solid hike.

1 month ago

2 months ago

5 months ago

Hiked it 5-1-16. 3 and 1/2 hour round trip. Very good hike. Excellent views. Heavy traffic though. Trail is well marked.

1 year ago

We like this hike. Started out 7:30am with nice coverage in the trees and hills covered us from the sun early. The last little 100-200 yards is steep. It's well worth it though for the views. My only draw back of this hike is the trail can get a bit confusing because a the forks and overlapping trails. If your think about this trail Kasi review gives great directions. Great way to start your morning.

1 year ago

Brutal hike.....great views.... but a brutal hike.

2 years ago

Went on a weekday , suprisingly a good amount of hikers, most of the hikers went to the fire road a couple miles up the trail but we went past that to the actual peak... which is hard to find at first but its a little trail on your right after the fire area past the nice eucalyptis tree.. gorgeous hike not too hott not much wind in the dark, great strenous hike

4 years ago

I started out this hike thinking we we're going to Tangerine Falls which is off the same trail. I am glad we made the mistake. Although we were low on water (2 liters to split) and I had only a Nature Valley Bar that day, the view was worth it.
The hike starts off in a well shaded area, almost rainforest like and runs along the creek. I would say around 3/4 to a mile in there is a small waterfall on your right which is accessible if you are a sure footed person. Eventually the nice shaded portion of the hike ends when you reach the fire road. From there you turn left and not too far up the road there is a trail that forks to the left. The hike gets a little more rocky and a little more steep from here. Eventually your will come to a 'T' in the trail, take the right this time. You will follow this portion of the trail past a big Eucalyptus tree and not too far past that there is another fork to the right you must take. This is the rockiest part of the trail. You must be super aware and careful as to not roll an ankle. The worst is towards the end of the trail, its shale and nearly a straight shot up to the peak. Took quite a few breaks and nearly passed out at the top. But once I saw the view, all was forgotten. Well worth it, but definitely not for the faint of heart.