Gaviota Wind Caves Trail

MODERATE 169 reviews
#1 of 8 trails in

Gaviota Wind Caves Trail is a 2 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
2.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
492 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

surfing

trail running

walking

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.

10 days ago

I’m not sure how all trails rate these but I would not call this moderate. I would call it hard, there were a few times I was on all fours climbing up to the tunnels. It rained last night so it was also very muddy but worth it. I saw around 5 couples a few dogs and a rabbit. Not that crowded considering it was a Sunday around noon.

22 days ago

Starts off with an extremely easy trail gradually claiming to a moderately difficult incline up to the caves which are spectacular.

23 days ago

Great hike! Brought my dog along and we had a blast. The caves are really neat and we really enjoyed the views. It was kinda steep going up the caves but it was worth it!

29 days ago

very fun, steep start but rewarding!

hiking
1 month ago

Great drive to the destination and fun hike up to the caves. Smoked a fatty and chilled for awhile. Best way to relax.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail, can connect to the fire road overlook trail which ends at a radio tower directly above/across from the tunnel. To connect you have to find a small path that goes downhill north from the second set of caves. You'll drop into a live oak grove that connects to the fire road.

hiking
3 months ago

I hiked this back in late 2012 in a large group. Short but steep, so it’ll get your heart rate up. Beautiful views of the ocean and surrounding mountains. There is camping on the state beach below. Not sure if dogs are allowed on this trail but they are not allowed on the beach. Very windy, obviously, so dress in layers. The caves are really cool, but unfortunately there is a lot of graffiti.

Pretty quick hike up to the caves with lovely views. Not super strenuous but a decent work out.

hiking
3 months ago

I didn’t think I could make it all the way, but I did and the view was amazing!

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful hike! Quite steep in some parts but relaxing in the caves with a view of the ocean was the best part.

hiking
5 months ago

Cool hike! Caves are neat. I would say kid friendly if 6 or older. 4 year old had trouble with the steep parts. My two year old got a shoulder ride once we were off the paved path. Short hike but definitely moderate due to steep trail.

hiking
6 months ago

I am in no shape of form a hiker. This trail was supper fun and I brought my 4yr old with me and she handled it like a champ. I definitely felt the burn during the hike but it was doable and I had a blast

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful hike especially when done in April. The mustard flowers coat the small valley and hills and it becomes very scenic with the ocean as the backdrop. The caves themselves are interesting but not mind-blowing. The hike itself is pretty enough to do it though. Unfortunately some of the rocks are tagged with graffiti.

6 months ago

Family friendly hike. Sad we can't take our dogs anymore. Beautiful caves and views.

6 months ago

Awesome hike! Nice wind caves. Wish there was more to hike.

8 months ago

Loved the vistas and rock formations.

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful views. Challenging part of the way but in a fun. The caves are unique. The turkey vultures gliding around made it more fun. Definitely worth the trip.

11 months ago

Good quick hike! Fun! Had to rock scramble a bit at the very top! Went on a nice windy day!

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful and unique. Very, very steep.

hiking
11 months ago

Love this place. Last time we hiked this, we finally ventured past the caves. Technically you're on the Beach to Back Country trail.. we took a right once that meets up with the Overlook Fire Rd & went to the tower. The views there are AMAZING...frightening & stunning as you overlook 101 Gaviota Pass & tunnel. Lots of magical hawks that like to show off. We headed back & had enough juice left in us to venture towards the other way & got a lil ways down Hollyridge (or someth like that, don't remember) before we headed back the way we came in.. looked like we weren't getting closer to ocean & was much hotter than forecasted.. so did total of 8+ miles. Worth it, but bring plenty of water, esp on warmer day. Can be trafficked on weekends & evenings, but only up to caves. Past that, you see very little of other humans.

hiking
11 months ago

great place

hiking
11 months ago

I've been meaning to do this short hike for quite some time. Finally got around to it today. I am not very athletic and found this trail to be a little challenging. It throws everything at you: easy, moderate, hard. Cool temps. Hot temps. Sand. Rocks. Ocean view. Mountain view. Scrambling. Sliding. Add in the "easy" paved trail to the trailhead and back and you've got a nice 4 mile workout. Not sure I'll hike this trail again, unless I was sharing it with someone. The caves are neat for what they are; nice views. Free.

11 months ago

gets very steep and dangerous towards the top .almost 90 degrees incline . with narrow path.

hiking
Saturday, January 13, 2018

I didn’t see a single piece of trash on my way to the wind caves but then I saw someone leave bags of dog poo in the parking lot. If you’re going to bag dog poo only to leave it on the ground, don’t bag it to begin with. You can also hear the nearby highway from the smaller peak. If you have 90 minutes to burn I suggest this hike. Otherwise I think there may be better options nearby

hiking
Sunday, November 26, 2017

Great hike. Not too long or hard. Great views from the top!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Great quick local escape

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Fun hike! Great views

Monday, August 14, 2017

About a two mile trip to the first set of wind caves and back. Fun trail, with a relatively gradual incline most of the way up. The wind caves are fun.

hiking
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Fun hike. Took my 11 year old son and he had a great time.

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