Gaviota Wind Caves Trail

MODERATE 94 reviews
#1 of 6 trails in

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.

DISTANCE
2.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
590 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

surfing

walking

horseback riding

beach

cave

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

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.

hiking
13 days ago

22 days ago

24 days ago

Great hike. Incline wasnt too bad after initial hill. Went early to avoid crowds. Caves were awesome, though I was only able to get into the first cave. The caves up top have a small wall of rock that I couldnt get footing to climb up. Next time I'll wear hiking shoes with traction and it should be fine.

26 days ago

1 month ago

It's a great short hike.
Awesome views.
I rate it as a 5 and not a 4Star for two reasons
1. You can feel like some serious Chumash history happened.
2. It's like my backyard.
Fished those waters.
Rode those waves.
Hiked and Hunted the other side.
And it's only a 15min drive.

1 month ago

Great domestic flavored hike.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Lots of flowers everywhere. This was great little hike with some great views. Highway noise kinda sux but besides that it was fun!

2 months ago

2 months ago

my kids fave

2 months ago

A great, relatively short, hike with stunning views of the coast. I'm beginner/intermediate level and I've had no issues on this trail (there's also a few great spots to rest on the way up). Can get crowded on the weekends so I'd get there early if possible, I usually end up going around the hill to the trail on the peak behind the wind caves. I think it's a better view without the crowd. Check the weather too, as some of the trail is dirt track so after the rains it can be a bit muddy.

2 months ago

rock climbing
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

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!

hiking
3 months ago

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/

3 months ago

3 months ago

Better markers for the trails needed.

3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

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.