Santa Cruz Trail - Upper Oso Campground to Happy Hollow

MODERATE 7 reviews
#88 of 166 trails in

Santa Cruz Trail - Upper Oso Campground to Happy Hollow is a 10.3 mile 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. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

10.3 miles
3,241 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly




horseback riding

mountain biking



wild flowers


washed out

1 month ago

This trail should be noted as closed Majority of trail is overgrown and the campground is not maintained. Ascent to Happy Hollow Campground included countless washed out sections of trail with serious exposure as of July 28 2018.

6 months ago

Hardest hike/ trip of my life! Went backpacking as the online reviews said it was moderately challenging. This hike is uphill for 10+ miles. NO shade for majority, and we had to carry all of our water. It took us like 8.5 hours to get up to happy hollow. There were some really sketchy bits too where you could easily fall down 50ft slopes. I would not recommend backpacking.

11 months ago

Could be a really nice trail, unfortunately some washouts about 5 miles in, just below the peak made it impassable. We climbed around two before deciding to head back. There was a sign warning that it was closed at the Ranger Station that we saw in the way out but no sign at the trailhead.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Lower oso to upper oso road closed to due rey fire restoration. Accessible via hiking. Trail from upper oso to happy hallow is all through a recent burn from the rey fire. Trail is still somewhat easy to navigate. Creek is flowing strong but heavy erosion from burn and rains. Heavy oak snag patches all along the trail near the creek. Heads up
Still a great hike just not what she used to be pre rey fire.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hands down the hardest hike of my life! Went last year June 2016 with a group of three and pup.

1) Little to no shade the whole trail
2) No water sources (we each brought a gallon since it was a hot weekend)
3) Don't underestimate the INCLINE. (8 hours up/3 hours down for us)

We were so desperate to setup camp, but since the trail is only a foot path we had no choice but to keep going up and up. Once we got to the peak we found a gorgeous spot to call it a day (not a designated campsite) and were rewarded with he most amazing views. Definitely a learning lesson with overpacking and knowing your limitations. We will be back this year to conquer it!

Monday, July 18, 2016

We wanted to backpack here because we'd heard online it was nice. We thought we'd hike in to the Happy Hollow campground the first day, about 5.5 miles by our map, and either take the fire road out (11 miles) or come back out the way we came. Well, the way we came in turned out to be hell. It was uphill for 7.5 miles instead of roughly 5.5, it was very hot with no substantial shade, and the trail was not well maintained. There were several places were there was a ton of loose shale that was horribly unsafe, especially as we had 20-30 pound packs on us. We're still not entirely sure if we made it to Happy Hollow, we found an unmarked, overgrown "campground" and called that home for the night. I do not suggest this as a day hike or anything!

Sunday, May 24, 2015