Montecito Peak Trail

MODERATE 48 reviews
#11 of 163 trails in

Montecito Peak Trail is a 6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Santa Barbara, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

6.0 miles
2,444 feet

dog friendly


trail running




wild flowers


NOTE: The road to this trail is currently closed This is a physically demanding and rocky hike with lots of loose dirt. There are three trailheads at this location. The one you want has a wooden sign with Cold Springs Trail and the letters MTF (Montecito Trails Foundation) on it. It is just before the road crosses the creek. From the road, the trail starts climbing immediately. Stay to the right on the beginning of the trail. Continue straight when you come to the West Fork trail on the left. Just past this junction there is a bench on the left. The trail continues a steady climb with two creek crossings. After the second creek crossing stay to the right, there are two other trails to the left, don't go on those. There are numerous switchbacks, take those but be careful because the trail goes straight and there is a switchback to the left. Take the switchback to the left, again stay on the wider part of trail at any junction. At 1.6 miles you will see the Edison access dirt road. Go left and cross under the power lines till you see a single track trail heading up the hill on your left. Once you cross under the power lines, take that trail. This rocky and sometimes steep trail passes the tree with a makeshift bench with great views. From the tree, the trail heads toward Montecito Peak and then passes to the west. When you are almost past the peak at 3.6 miles, look on the right for an unmarked narrow trail. The trail is narrow, steep and in shale, but the climb up to the 3,214 foot summit is well worth it. The summit is at 4 miles. The return route is the way you came.

8 months ago

The last bit to the peak is a little sketchy but do it - it’s totally worth it.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

There was a race going on the day we did this race, which created some extra traffic on the trail. Overall, nice views of the ocean but the humidity and heat was too much for our much experienced dogs to continue after only one mile.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

if you do this in june during the day, bring a good half gallon of water. went up to peak then the road. Little under 1.5L water and a Monster protein drank def not enough but I figured as much once i go to the peak but wanted to go up to the road, too. Nice views past the peak up on the road. anywyas, That last push up the peak was fun and steep, almost tripped at one pointing while swatting at the myriad of flies and bees that kept kamikazing into my face and pissing me off lol. Trail was easy to follow, and I only had one accidental off trail that saved me a third of a mile on the way down but bent my raybans in my camelbak when I slipped on a narrow tangled bush and rock embackment.

Nonetheless, I'd recommend this easy in and out burger joint

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Originally wanted to head to Tangerine Falls but ended up following this trail instead. The trail for this is not well marked and we ended up hiking past the peak, but could see the trail from the lower part of the mountain. It seems the actual split has been overgrown, as there was no clear path to getting there. We ended up hiking all the way to the other trail head for cold springs. The water further up the mountain has dried up currently, once you split of from the cold springs/falls trails.

It was quite frustrating to not be able to find the correct trail, but I would like to attempt it again.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Beautiful wildflowers and the creek is rushing now - it was a great way to spend the Spring Equinox 2017! The trail is confusing and not well marked. I'm unclear about the trail description as well. The miles and elevation gains given above don't reflect the same numbers in the summary and the fuller trail description. Is the summit at 3 miles or 4?

Friday, March 10, 2017


Monday, February 20, 2017

Lots of unmarked trail intersections, but as long as you keep going up, they mostly lead to the same place.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wow, last 200 yards are gnarley climb!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Great hike, views are totally with the uphill. The first 1/3rd is along the creek and in the shade which was appreciated in the heat. The signage for the peak is not great but we followed the signs for E Camino Cielo and then just took a right to head up the back to the peak. The last part was a bit loose and steeper but it's not for long, and again the views are worth it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Solid hike.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Hiked it 5-1-16. 3 and 1/2 hour round trip. Very good hike. Excellent views. Heavy traffic though. Trail is well marked.

Monday, September 28, 2015

We like this hike. Started out 7:30am with nice coverage in the trees and hills covered us from the sun early. The last little 100-200 yards is steep. It's well worth it though for the views. My only draw back of this hike is the trail can get a bit confusing because a the forks and overlapping trails. If your think about this trail Kasi review gives great directions. Great way to start your morning.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Brutal hike.....great views.... but a brutal hike.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Went on a weekday , suprisingly a good amount of hikers, most of the hikers went to the fire road a couple miles up the trail but we went past that to the actual peak... which is hard to find at first but its a little trail on your right after the fire area past the nice eucalyptis tree.. gorgeous hike not too hott not much wind in the dark, great strenous hike

Saturday, July 07, 2012

I started out this hike thinking we we're going to Tangerine Falls which is off the same trail. I am glad we made the mistake. Although we were low on water (2 liters to split) and I had only a Nature Valley Bar that day, the view was worth it.
The hike starts off in a well shaded area, almost rainforest like and runs along the creek. I would say around 3/4 to a mile in there is a small waterfall on your right which is accessible if you are a sure footed person. Eventually the nice shaded portion of the hike ends when you reach the fire road. From there you turn left and not too far up the road there is a trail that forks to the left. The hike gets a little more rocky and a little more steep from here. Eventually your will come to a 'T' in the trail, take the right this time. You will follow this portion of the trail past a big Eucalyptus tree and not too far past that there is another fork to the right you must take. This is the rockiest part of the trail. You must be super aware and careful as to not roll an ankle. The worst is towards the end of the trail, its shale and nearly a straight shot up to the peak. Took quite a few breaks and nearly passed out at the top. But once I saw the view, all was forgotten. Well worth it, but definitely not for the faint of heart.

21 days ago

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