Santa Cruz Trail is a 10.3 mile out and back trail located near Goleta, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
We wanted to backpack here because we'd heard online it was nice. We thought we'd hike in to the Happy Hollow campground the first day, about 5.5 miles by our map, and either take the fire road out (11 miles) or come back out the way we came. Well, the way we came in turned out to be hell. It was uphill for 7.5 miles instead of roughly 5.5, it was very hot with no substantial shade, and the trail was not well maintained. There were several places were there was a ton of loose shale that was horribly unsafe, especially as we had 20-30 pound packs on us. We're still not entirely sure if we made it to Happy Hollow, we found an unmarked, overgrown "campground" and called that home for the night. I do not suggest this as a day hike or anything!