Smugglers Cove Trail is a 7.8 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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.