Gaviota Wind Caves Trail

moderate 272 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

camping

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

walking

bird watching

running

beach

cave

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

This hike features beautiful wind sculpted caves and incredible ocean vistas. This is a semi-strenuous but short out and back hike. The trail begins by 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 the final destination as a series of holes in the sandstone outcroppings ahead. After about 3/4 of a mile you will start the ascending switchback, which is very well-maintained. Continue along the ridgeline and 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. There is a trail to your left, or you can scramble straight up. The views from the top are beautiful.

hiking
2 days ago

Great trail- it is quite steep however so be prepared for an immediate climb once you get onto the trail up to the caves. Make sure to wear shoes with good traction! It was a lot of fun exploring the caves and had some awesome bouldering opportunities.

hiking
rocky
8 days ago

This trail is moderate. The very beginning of the actual trail will get your heart pumping, great cardio. There is a lot of loose dirt and rocks so be cautious of your footing. There is lots of wild life birds, rabbits and condors. Overall this trail is great!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Very fun and rewarding hike. Lots of views and plenty of alternate trail routes to top

hiking
no shade
rocky
3 months ago

This is relativly tough high with an amazing payoff, being the view and the caves themselves. The terrain is safe for kids but the caves are slick in some locations, so watch your step.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice, moderately strenuous hike, somewhat diminished by the sound of rush hour traffic and the sighting of a rattlesnake on the way up. Coming from a country where the only dangerous wildlife works in the financial services and belongs to the Tory party, I was pathetically scared for the rest of the ascent, jumped into the air every time a lizard or bunny crossed our path and kept my dog on a tight lead! The caves are fun and if you are dexterous and wearing good shoes, the view from the rocks is great. I didn’t think the view was spectacular but it’s worth a quick hike after work.

recorded Gaviota Wind Caves Trail

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
4 months ago

hiking
scramble
5 months ago

hiking
bugs
rocky
6 months ago

I agree this trail is moderate. Expect to deal with rocks as you might have to maneuver and maybe climb pass some but nothing too serious or scary. Due to it being so hot out I only made it to the first set of wind caves, but it was also due to doing a brutal up hill hike the day before that my legs and calves were already done from that, that prevented me from making it to the top. My husband made it to the top though and took some great pics. Beautiful and we get to see the Pacific Ocean and a glimpse of our campsite.

6 months ago

Did this trail last year and it was great! If you enjoy leg day, this is a good one and not for the faint of heart. Bring plenty of water and there isn't much shade, but the view is PHENOMENAL.

hiking
6 months ago

Great trail. Perfectly moderately moderate. The caves are really interesting and fun to explore. Perfect amount of fog today—could still see the ocean and amazing views, but got some shade from the sun. Saw a couple rattlesnakes on the way down.

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

hiking
rocky
6 months ago

Tough climb but worth the view!!

hiking
over grown
7 months ago

First portion of the trail is along a paved road. The trailhead is on the left and you’ll see a sign. From there it is a very steep incline. Rocky. Overall, this a great hike. Went to the first and second cave. Very doable. I would rate this is low moderate though not easy due to the steep incline and scrambling.

hiking
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
7 months ago

Very difficult trail, worth the view at the end.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful hike just about all year round. It is most beautiful in the spring when the meadows are blooming and everything is green. Hiked here yesterday - be careful to watch for snakes. Saw two gopher snakes and two rattlesnakes.

hiking
bugs
no shade
scramble
7 months ago

This is actually a pretty strenuous hike, just not too long. Beautiful views of the ocean and mountains. Biting flies out in force. Bring bug spray.

hiking
8 months ago

Fun trail. The beginning is tough but it mellows out quite a bit after that.

hiking
8 months ago

Semi-strenuous walk but worth it! The beginning of the trail is paved then you are basically going up the whole time. The first cave is very accessible, but the others are not as easy. There was a bit of rock climbing involved to get to the peak and the other caves, but I would highly recommend it. There were bugs but nothing to worry about. Highly recommend this hike!

8 months ago

strenuous walk for a 60+ but view from the arch was worth it :) 3 miles round trip from the parking area

hiking
9 months ago

Pretty cool seeing the way the wind shaped the rocks. Decent hike through the dry valley. I saw a doe and some of her fawns. Next time I’ll go with someone else so I’m not such a scaredy pants about snakes

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