Gaviota Wind Caves Trail is a 2 mile heavily 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.

Length2.0 miElevation gain492 ftRoute typeOut & back
Kid friendlyCampingHikingHorseback ridingMountain bikingWalkingBird watchingRunningBeachCaveForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeNo dogs
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Getting There

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.

California state parks 805-968-1033

From the 101 exit at Gaviota Campground, just before the entrance to the campground,veer to the right and up the hill. Park in parking area and follow the road beyond the gate and mountain lion danger sign.

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Reviews (557)
Photos (517)
Activities (481)
Completed (1,234)
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Dianna Barnes Glantz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 10, 2021
Hiking

Beautiful hike...moderate hike...took a few breaks with the kids but the views and caves made it all worth it.

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Len Berkowitz
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Hiking

Out in the lovely town Solvang, California. Here with Tim on a nice morning hike with great views.

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Mary Van Domelen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 22, 2021
Hiking

Awesome hike on a beautiful day. Recommend wearing good trail shoes as there is a fair amount of loose gravel on steep slopes. Sunscreen, plenty of water too.

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John Weber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 21, 2021
HikingScramble

short hike on service road then 1 mile steep hike. 1/4 last mile rock scrambling. great views of canyon and ocean. u can climb up to caves but need long limbs.

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Elvira Flores
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Hiking
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Debbie Paul
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 15, 2021
HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

Windy. Steep. Narrow. Rocky. Way more difficult than I thought it would be and I’m an active hiker. Not really impressed.

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Lauren N
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Hiking

Nice views! Pretty steep and rocky, but cool rocks at the top

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Levi Bennett
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Hiking

Excellent! Slightly windy

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Victoria Smith-Cuellar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 4, 2021
Hiking

Moderate trail with incline. Great caves and views! During the week it was empty

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Mary Phillips
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HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

This was a really fun hike and not what I was expecting at all. I will say climbing the first hill was not my favorite part. and there are no blazes. Still-it’s well traveled and the trail is obvious if you’re looking for it. I don’t think you can get lost as long as you go up? There was more than one way. Just look up and follow the trail. Pace yourself and bring plenty of water and a snack for the top. And sunscreen. Enjoy!

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H B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 1, 2021
HikingNo shadeOver grownRocky

First half in is a paved trail, but don't be fooled. The trail gets challenging. You walk up a very steep dirt trail and then start maneuvering through rocks and cracks. I questioned where the trail was many times. I would not call parts of it moderate. This 2 mile trail takes you to Wind Cave #1. There appears to be more up the technical trail. Pretty views of the mountains, rock formations, and ocean. The trail was not extremely crowded on a Sunday afternoon.

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Pat Regan
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HikingGreat!

Baby rattlesnake reported on trail 2 pm.

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Emily House
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 27, 2021
Hiking

Easy paced path up to the actual trail. Went at 10am with it being about 69 degrees already. Would definitely recommend avoiding the afternoon as there is not much shade from the sun and you will heat up quickly. All in all a short but challenging trail with great views and awesome rock features at the top to explore.

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Charles Brewer
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Hiking
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Lacey Connolly
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Hiking

Lots of uphill hiking trails are well maintained. Sad to see graffiti when we got to the first cave decided to not keep climbing since we had our older dog and younger children with us stunning views!

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Cassandra De La Cerda
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Hiking

Pack plenty of water. Lots of fun but not a lot of shade.

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jeremy europe
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Hiking
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Casey Haughin
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HikingNo shadeOver grownRockyWashed out

Views are absolutely stunning once at the top. The trail goes on beyond the map designation in red- it’s a couple hundred more feet in elevation but so worth it for the second set of caves. The path is narrow and crumbling in parts, so be safe when descending especially. Also, this trail is marked NO PETS— saw more than a few people struggling to get their dogs down the slope. Please take care of your furry friends and leave them out of this one! All in all, amazing hike.

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Anna Hernandez
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Hiking

Beautiful

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Miko Alberts
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Hiking
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cheryl cordero
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Road biking
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