Spring Sale! Get a year of AllTrails Pro for only $14.99
Get Started

Smugglers Cove Trail

MODERATE 52 reviews

Smugglers Cove Trail is a 7.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Santa Barbara, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
7.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,400 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

beach

views

wild flowers

no dogs

4 days ago

Really beautiful hike. Lots of flowers and green vegetation due to the amount of rain lately. The beach was nice, but rocky... would have liked to have been there at low tide instead in order to see more sea life. Would definitely recommend. Great workout too!

2 months ago

Incredible hike. The most amazing part was the sound dog the waves at the coves hitting the rocks

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked in November 2017. Great hike on a beautiful California day surrounded by ocean views.

hiking
3 months ago

700 ft elevation gain, then down to the cove. Leave the same way you came in. Nice open trail. 75degree weather was perfect.

hiking
6 months ago

Went to the Channel Islands for the day and this was one of the 3 hikes we did. Cool views, but not quite as spectacular as we were expecting.

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful ocean views all around. Not much vegetation.

hiking
6 months ago

With high temperatures continuously soaring, the landscape hardly had any sort of vegetation. However, revegetation is being carried through to make sure Santa Cruz Island is abundant in life to ensure ecological restoration. Regarding the hike itself, the trail consisted mostly of going downhill. You’ll also be passing though Smuggler’s Canyon Trail. As a result of hiking past another trail, it was difficult to record the actual amount of time and distance it took me to get to Smuggler’s Cove.

The map displayed that the hike towards Smuggler’s Cove is 7.5 miles, but from my experience, it was half that distance. This indicates, to me, that the distance is the total hike of going there and going back, in other words, a round trip.

When you get there, there’ll be few vegetation and the shore is compiled of rocks.

I put three stars because lack of vegetation and good scenic views.

7 months ago

Fun hike on mostly paved road. Water was nice to swim in at the cove. Great scenery and solitude.

hiking
7 months ago

I really enjoyed this trail. Awesome, commanding ocean views for the majority of the trail. I could see other islands in the distance and the mountain peaks of the island I was on. The cove was cool, too; I went at low tide and was able to do a little tide pooling. I saw jellies, snails, hermit crabs, anemones, fiddler crabs in the water and tons of lizards and grey foxes on land. Steep hike (definitely got a good glute workout and my knees didn't like me at the end) but a very enjoyable, scenic hike...would do again if I had the opportunity.

8 months ago

Had the cove to myself. Did some off-trail hiking near the cove, a dry riverbed. Great solitude, sweeping vistas. Fox followed me much of the way back.

hiking
10 months ago

On the last day of my three day camping trip with Wilderness Adventures, most people opted for a 2.5 hour kayaking trip to the sea caves around the island. However, I chose to stay on dry land and do a hike to Smuggler’s Cove, a delightful harbor on the back side of the island that got its name from the illegal sea otter trade that took place between 1769 and 1848. It was one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done. Just two hours out and an hour and a half back, this hike wove through a cypress grove, named Delphine’s Grove, grassy hills with purple clover, yellow mustard, and white and pink morning glories, Monkey Flower, Lemonade Berry, Santa Cruz Ironwood, and many other native plants on this island. The final mile of the hike was down, down, down to the sea. At the beach, we saw island foxes and lizards darting around, both of which are prevalent throughout the island. The island fox, deer mouse, and island spotted skunk are only found on the Channel Islands – and nowhere else in the world

The descent to the Cove was pretty steep and I wondered as I walked down, how I was going to feel climbing back up it. Well it was well worth it – it was such a beautiful beach and quite a dazzling vantage point in every direction. Climbing back up the hill reminded me of the Hobbit story with its rolling green hills and the light brown-red dirt on the paths. It looked like a fairytale to me.

The hike was just short of eight mikes, roundtrip, but the views from the top, coming back to Scorpion Bay were sensational. It was rejuvenating to see everything from the top of the island. This was a hike that I would like to do again.

10 months ago

Steep and gravely first miles levels out but steep about 3/4 mile from smugglers cove.

There are picnic tables at the cove

Nice hike can be windy

hiking
11 months ago

We had a lot of fun on Santa Cruz. The hike is steep at the beginning but levels off for most of the hike. We brought sandwiches with us and had lunch at smugglers cove. Beware the ravens and foxes looking for food. To switch it up we came back by the oil well.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Terrific hike. I'm wasn't so much a fan of the actual cove as I was the hike there, which consisted of beautiful rolling green hills, several Santa Cruz Island endemic species of animals and flowers, and incredible views of Mount Montañon.

hiking
Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Incredible wildlife! The trail is a bit washed out, but that's just the nature of the beast. Smugglers Cove is full of life. We explored the tide pools filled with bright purple urchins, little crustaceans, and magnificent looking shells. The ocean leaves its mark on the sand and it's simply stunning. The hike was pretty strenuous due to the humidity. We quite literally hiked through a cloud. We chose the day hike option and we're able to complete the out and back with well over 2 hours to spare. We saw multiple island foxes and they seriously are living, breathing stuffed animals. It's truly a magical experience! Next time, we'll definitely be staying over night and kayaking. Those caves beg to be explored!

hiking
Wednesday, August 10, 2016

hiking
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

hiking
Friday, August 21, 2015

Great trail with amazing views. If you are going in the summer be sure to leave early before the fog clears off and it gets too hot. Hopefully once you arrive the sun is out, however it will make for a dry and hot hike back. Bring lots of water because there are no places to refill. You basically follow what looks like a fire road. On the way back you can take a number of single track trails cutting between the fire road that make the distance shorter.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Such an awesome day, a truly unforgettable experience! Got seasick on the ferry over there, had to run the last mile back to catch the ferryat the end of the day, slight heat stroke (very little shade) didn't have a minute to spare to check out the welcome center or relax at the cove turnaround! Can't wait to get back for a second try, loved it. The ocean breeze, the birds that buzzed our heads, the Fox on the trail in front of us...totally worth the trip!

camping
Sunday, April 07, 2013

Breathtaking views, coastal breezes below to contrast with the general Santa Criz island (inland) warmth during late Spring/ summer months. Cover your food, bring insect repellant, and avoid the camp ground out houses (too many rats). One of my favorite hikes.

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Load More