Explore the most popular beach trails near Santa Barbara with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
29 days 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.

Here is the deal. It’s a park with a nice paved walking path, but the “hike” starts when you take the long-ish stair case down to the beautiful relatively empty undeveloped beach and “hike” to your hearts content along the beach or to any of the other long staircase access points. This is very much an unofficial off leash dog area. This hike is also tide dependent. A hide tide would make this potentially impossible. Tides change daily. A quick google search will let you know what the ocean is up to that day.
You could also head South on the pavement from the park towards the marina and walk on pavement for miles along more development/used beaches, but that’s not what this “hike” is sharing.

Beautiful ocean views all around. Not much vegetation.

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.

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

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail and views. FYI - If you go to More Mesa Beach the local rule is nude beach to right and clothes to the left.

hiking
2 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.

walking
2 months ago

Went for an evening stroll and loved every second of it! Beautiful sunset and peaceful, not too many people.

3 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
3 months ago

Awesome, easy, beautiful trail!

Fun walk for kids

An almost daily of mine. It really is a dog park that some people without dogs go to...

hiking
5 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.

walking
5 months ago

Great running spot with awesome bluffs. Stick to the main trails right now, don't venture onto smaller overgrown ones. My dog and I spent about 10-15 mins on a smaller trail and she ended up getting 70+ ticks! It's prime season right now, not usually this badat all.

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

POISON OAK AND TICKS SO MANY TICKS.

hiking
6 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.

walking
7 months ago

As a park, this place is fantastic. There are a lot of sitting areas, picnic benches, trash cans, bathrooms and free parking on both ends of the park, and the lovely ocean views of course. The steps down to the beach are towards the middle of the park. There is a small playground, and a free ocean view finder! The tide pools here are really beautiful and worth the visit.

As a hiking trail, this completely paved walk through the park is ideal for those with wheels (wheelchairs, walkers, knee scooters, etc). If one includes the beach access, you literally can walk/jog for miles.

walking
7 months ago

Nice ocean views. Easy to navigate. Appears to be very popular and well used. The trail is sandy and/or hard pack. The doggo off-leash space is not enclosed like many other off leash dog runs.

Douglas Family Preserve has 4 access points. If you are driving there, from what I could tell, the most available parking is probably at Arroyo Burro Beach unless Hendry's is packed, in which case head for one of the other 3 neighborhood entrances. From Arroyo Burro Beach the main trail is a 1.5 mile closed loop. Once you go up the hill from the parking lot, the park trails are relatively wide and flat with minimal obstacles. There are a lot of paths crisscrossing the preserve.
Nice spot. Probably a fantastic place to catch a sunset.

walking
8 months ago

it's a nature walk along the ocean with beautiful ocean views. it's a dirt road and many dog companions on the trail. many different trails paths, but it's a closed system, don't worry. the main entrance is in a neighborhood. I used Google maps to get there.

walking
8 months ago

This trail can be done in a comfortable pace. Not strenuous. The scenic view of the ocean is EXPECTACULAR. We saw people riding their bikes, walking with their dogs, and some horse poop. The entrance is surrounded by poison ivy. I will not bring a kid here. I wore long sleeve shirt, pants, hat, closed shoes and it helped feel a little safer when entering the trail. This was for about 10mins of walking. It was a great walk and great views. PS this walk was on Dec 2017. I am unsure if fires, mudslide, rain have affected the area after that date.

walking
8 months ago

Didn’t feel especially safe. The trail is very overgrown and had a number of bees and poison oak. It’s also very secluded, and has a lot of little inlets filled with beer bottles. I wasn’t super comfortable finishing on my own. I made it to the first clearing and it was a gorgeous view, but definitely recommend taking a friend and wearing long pants!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Beautiful scenery

hiking
Thursday, September 07, 2017

Really nice hike by the beach. Avoid the entrance of the hike by the border of where you can park ends. Trail vegetation is overgrown and poison oaks is impossible to avoid.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Very easy walk with interesting people and boat watching.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

gorgeous!!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Very peaceful, flat terrain. Not as many dogs as I anticipated but the ones encountered were very friendly as were their owners! Great view photo op of Hendrys. Decided to loop around and take a few different paths (some concrete) on the return and ended up at a different entrance! But it was well worth it, I navigated through some back alleys of the Mesa neighborhoods and loved it. All in all, great family walk, definitely not a hike though.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Very easy, not really a hike at all, more like a walk. Great ocean view over the bluffs, and plenty of shade for most of the trail. People do well cleaning up after themselves too, it's always looks nice here.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Its a park. Benches, side walks and grass. Great for morning jog and views. You can do your push ups, squats and etc.. Lots of people walking dogs.

hiking
Saturday, January 28, 2017

Interesting

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