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
11 days 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
11 days 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
1 month 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
2 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
2 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
3 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
4 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
4 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!

Beautiful scenery

hiking
8 months ago

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.

Very easy walk with interesting people and boat watching.

gorgeous!!

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

hiking
Monday, January 16, 2017

wow what an amazing place. I am extremely out of shape and had a blast walking this trail. thank you Douglas family! everyone was so nice. there is not a bathroom near so I suggest using one before you hit the trail.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

All street
We had hoped to be on trails and on the beach

Also the trail had us going through backyards without access

Disappointing for what we had expected

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.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Love this very dog friendly area to walk! Thank you Doulas Family!

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!

walking
Monday, November 14, 2016

Nice for families to walk along the coastline. Handicap accessible. We pushed our disabled daughter in her chair along it without difficulty. Great view.

walking
Thursday, September 29, 2016

Not really a trail, just a steep staircase that leads down to the Mesa beach. But the views are really nice!

on Shoreline Park

Monday, September 26, 2016

Not a hike. But my favorite jogging path in town!

walking
Monday, September 26, 2016

It's not a hike - rather a nice place to take your dogs off leash. Solid views of course.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Super easy, family friendly hike. Great for my young kids (3 and 5).

walking
Thursday, September 01, 2016

This isn't a hike unless you start by Hendrys, even so it's kind of just a walk in a circle. Good off leash area, great in the spring time when things are blooming.

walking
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Not sure I'd call this a hike, it's more of a walk along the beach, nice either way.

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