Explore the most popular walking trails in Los Padres National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I love this trail. Not too crowded ever, cool breeze most of the time- incredible views, good, moderately challenging (for someone out of shape) trail.

Went two weeks ago. Started at 10:30 am and came back at 5:30. Of course there were lots of breaks taken a good amount of time spent at the first punch bowls. There isn’t an obvious trail but there are orange and blue markers on the trees and arrows on the rocks. As long as you hear the water you will be ok. It was a real fun time and we thought we brought a lot of food and water for two but we barely had enough lol. Every chance we got we splashed water on our legs to keep fresh the whole way through!

Great view from the top if there is no marine layer! Moderate seems about right. I’m pretty out of shape and it was hard, but my nephew flew up it pretty easy. Can get cold and windy at the top, so might want to have a sweatshirt handy.

I wouldn't recommend taking your dogs. the rough surface is hard on them if u walk by the river. nice fun hike until my 120 rotty had to carried out 2.5 miles.

hiking
3 days ago

The trail is badly burned. The Mountians are stunning but it's a sad hike. There are no signs of wildlife. It's is uphill all the way and extremely strenuous and Rocky. This would be a nice trail when it's not a bone yard. Thomas fire destroyed it.

hiking
5 days ago

A great trial that unfortunately everyone knows about. Not great for hot days due to lack of shade though. Always high foot traffic, and parking is usually frustrating; pay attention to parking signs because cars Will be Towed!... It ends with a stunning view that everyone should experience at least once if they are local, and my dog loves this trail as much as me and everyone else.

This hike is actually 12.5 miles round trip, took us about 6.5 hrs with a 30 min lunch break at the top. Did it mid June 2018. We used strava to track it and most of the elevation gain is between miles 4-6. The last about 1.5 miles is bushwhacking through tall bushes and pines. Bring a jacket and wear pants to not get scraped up. The views going up are amazing, so it's nice to take breaks and look around. The summit has a fire tower which does not have a platform, but you can climb the stairs to just take a quick peek. Overall, it was a nice hike.

walking
7 days ago

Short walk to great views.

Beautiful views, perfect spot to watch the sunset!

Beautiful trail but must start early and take plenty of water and walking stick or it helped me.. ..at end of trail it’s all well worth just for the amazing punch bowl..

fun and easy "hike", it's really walking down a dirt road to the castle. The views of the horizon from the castle are amazing. I would def do it again, but be warned it is easy and super short.

This is my go-to hike in Santa Barbara. It is the right blend of difficult and beautiful. Doing trail runs on this hike is a huge part of my plan to get in better shape.

hiking
10 days ago

Trail is OPEN as of 06.06.2018.

Nothing technical or difficult but gets hot with very limited shade for the majority of the hike. Nice views from the top.

pretty creek but don't go this way looking for the waterfalls. the topo map shows some way up but probably not what you are looking for.

hiking
15 days ago

Gorgeous and scenic, this hike is located a few miles inland and starts out relatively moderate temperature-wise, but quickly turns hot as you enter the canyon — bring lots of water. Lots of wild flowers and expansive views, if you’re into photography it’s worthwhile to bring a camera. Enjoy this hike, it’s a beauty and not too strenuous at all.

the person before is completely right. great trail. I did the complete ride with a rzr. I was too scared of the return hill at the stair steps. figured down was safer than up, so did stair steps instead of turning around. I was alone. (not recommended At all.)

Amazing! I was so sore the next day!!

One of the better hikes in the area if you like some variety of bouldering/hiking. Not the best for trail running as most open path trails have been affected by the mudslides. Lots of visible poison oak but I was not affected by it after knowingly walking through it. Fun and not too strenuous. I did not realize the path forked and decided to go left instead but still found some falls and active streams. Fun for dogs too. Enjoy!

hiking
16 days ago

The trail is overgrown in places, sometimes necessitating up close and personal contact with the bushes on either side, but most of it was a lovely walk zigzagging across the creek (which still has water in it). There’s a good bit of scrambling over rocks, but nothing my wobbly ankles couldn’t handle. Bring extra water—it was quite a bit hotter up there than down by the coast.

Amazing hike! It’s now open. Got to the first punch bowl at 10am with no one around and it later got crowded. Had a hard time finding the other punch bowls so just swam around the first one!

hiking
18 days ago

This is a great hike, my first one in Santa Barbara. There were times where I felt like I was so isolated I could be in another country, in the forest, and I loved that. It was difficult for me, cannot speak for all but there were some parts where the path is very small. There are some really beautiful views. If you go to UCSB, extra plus because you can see campus from the top.

hiking
18 days ago

Not too hard, great view from the peak.

There is another reviewer, Olek K., that is 100% correct in warning you about the difficulty of this trail.

This is the hardest hike in SB, but also the most rewarding.

Bring 2+ liters of water, sunscreen for before and at the top of the trail, a hat, clothes that you are alright with sweating through completely, and good hiking shoes.

Start out on the trail by 9:00 AM in the Summer or risk getting fatigued by the heat. Or start out at 4:30 PM in June/July and get a bit of natural shade on the way up.

Don't bring your dog, unless your dog's a goat.

hiking
20 days ago

We reached the Munch Canyon trail via the Davy Brown campsite, which added ~1 mile on each way. The trail starts out beautifully and the views were amazing. However, when you get around 3 miles into the hike, the trail becomes really overgrown and is overgrown throughout the next ~3.5 miles. At times, I was skeptical that we were even on the trail because it had become so narrow and overgrown. At about 5 miles, we came across what looked like a rusted tractor and bed frames. We ended up taking a wrong turn and didn't realize it until we had gone about 0.3 miles out of the way. Definitely check a map when you get to this site because the Munch Canyon trail isn't marked. We haven't hiked extensively in Los Padres, so this might be common to those who have, but there was fresh mountain lion scat on parts of the trail, so be cautious around here. I also discovered a tick that had burrowed its head into my shoulder about an hour after we got off trail, so be sure to do a tick check after you hike around here. Overall, the views were amazing, but the trail conditions were less than amazing, and we both agreed that we probably wouldn't be back to this particular trail but we definitely will be back to Los Padres!

The trail is actually open. Mostly shaded. You crossed a couple streams. Pay attention to the trails. Like people said followed the arrows would be okay however, not really reliable since some faded away. Today we also found someone purposely blocked the arrow, which was really upsetting. Luckily we caught us on the wrong trail fairly quickly. When you go up there, the stream shall be "mostly" in your right hand side sometimes aren't. It is opposite on the way back, the stream shall your left side. I felt taking a dog can be hard on dog if the dog isn't trained. Some parts require you to climb on big rocks.

hiking
20 days ago

It was the first my trail in Santa Barbara . Love it. Little more that 7 ml. It took me 3:15 hrs. I’m an active person and I cannot say it was hard for me . Was a nice sunny day and the view was gorgeous !

hiking
20 days ago

Great hike, I completed it late December. The round trip took me a little over 5 hours with break at the top. The first half of the trail is in woods, then there is little to no shade for the rest of the hike. I couldn’t stop turning around and admiring the views. And the last hour of the drive has some great views as well.
A few things of note: there were a few places where I had to double check if I was on the trail.
And at the top the trail takes you to the other side of the mountain - the temperature did drop nearly 20 degrees with winds gusts.
For a scenic hike to escape the crowds - highly recommended

hiking
21 days ago

I loved it its a long adventure were theres alot to explore, Also connecting to the e.camino del cielo. Trails right now are rough because of the Montecito mudslide they’re pretty much destroyed far in the back where they cant access

Cool old structure, not really a trail more just a dirt road. With ease of access the Castles is filled with instagram models and littered with plastic Starbucks cups and straws.

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