Explore the most popular no dogs 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
2 months ago

Some nice views of the other side of Santa Cruz island but not as amazing as we expected from a national park.

hiking
2 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.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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
3 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.

At this point its a 3 day mountain biking adventure, starting all the way from the dead end of east Camino Cielo, it's easily about 30 miles now. If you plan on doing it. Please bring water! LOTS OF WATER. If you plan on going walking or biking be very cautious of not breaking or twisting any ankles. If you get stuck out there. You probably won't make it out alive. There is a ranger Outpost about six hours in. Don't expect it to be a walk in the park. You will cry, yell into the silence, bleed, and plead to god that a cloud comes around to offer shade. This back country. The wild...

4 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
6 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.

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
7 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
8 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.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Great hike. Complete solitude. Exposed ridges were, very windy. I repeat. Very windy. Recommend trekking poles to help anchor or provide added stability against strong wind gusts.Have your camera ready, the views are breathtaking. We combined with trip to Smugglers cove. All day hike. One of my favorites.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Did a variation of this
Went to High Mount only
Also combined with Scorpion Loop Trail

hiking
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Easily one of the most beautiful hikes Southern California has to offer. Its uniqueness especially contributes to its beauty; hills, canyons, and the Pacific Ocean are all visible throughout numerous portions of the hike. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to go in April after a year of steady rainfall, so there were plentiful wildflowers just off the trail as well.

Given that there's a limited amount of people on Santa Cruz island at any given time (due to its isolation), the El Montanon Trail is the perfect place to hike in complete solitude. The time constraints- if not staying overnight, the boat arrives at 11 AM and leaves at 4 PM- many opt to hike to Smuggler's Cove or Potato Harbor, for an 8-mile trek up one of the highest peaks on the island seems daunting. While there are sections that are strenuous, the hike is quite tranquil and easily completed within the time frame.

Depending on which route you take, the trail eventually narrows from a fire road through campsites to a narrow, single-track trail that is overgrown with tall grass and wildflowers. After the trail crosses a wide creek (dry during my hike), the 1,900 ft. elevation gain begins. It plateaus temporarily at the junction between Smuggler's Road and El Montanon ridge. As you continue on El Montanon ridge, it's not especially likely that you'll run into crowds of people.

The trail up the ridge has endured plentiful rainfall and is therefore washed out and somewhat difficult to follow. However, the rock is stained red (presumably by iron?) so it's impossible to venture too far off the trail. The views begin to become more spectacular as you gain elevation, starting with a quick overlook of the Pacific Ocean, subsequently followed by a view of the other side of the island.

High Mount is an easy summit to bag along the way, and the views from the top are nearly as extraordinary as El Montanon's. The other side of the island, along with Prisoner's Cove (if I'm not mistaken) can be seen on a clear day.

The trail gets a bit rockier and narrower post High Mount, though the views become more memorable. Both sides of the path offer extraordinary views, with Anacapa Island seen to the left (heading upwards to the mountain) and the other side of Santa Cruz Island seen to the right. I was fortunate enough to witness the phenomenon called "fire clouds," where a rainbow-like color forms in cirrus clouds. Certainly a sight I'll never forget.

The true summit of El Montanon is further than the solar panels/building where this AllTrails map has the trail end. The views from the summit are panoramic with nothing (trees, shrubs, etc.) obstructing the spectacular views of the island and ocean. It's definitely worth the journey, regardless of the short timespan you may have to complete it in. Take a lot of water- there aren't many resources on this island.

backpacking
Monday, February 27, 2017

Creek was flowing well at all the road crossings. Got to tub after 9 mile hike from Camino Cielo, no hot water flowing!

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.

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.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

A strenuous hike, especially if you are hiking from North to South from the Prisoners/Del Norte portion of the island, but well worth it. Beautiful views of Santa Cruz island that offer ocean, rolling hill, canyon, and mountain scenery. Bring plenty of water.

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!

on Shoreline Park

Monday, September 26, 2016

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

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.

hiking
Wednesday, August 10, 2016

hiking
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Took the 4 mile round trip guided hike from Prisoners Harbor. Didn't think I could make it all the way, in fact more than half of the group turned back but when I saw Pelican Bay Up ahead, all I wanted was to rest my sore feet in some cool clear ocean water! Stunning views, learned a lot of how truly unique this habitat actually is.

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.

I visited the Channel Islands in mid Feb of 2015. Decided to go to Santa Cruz and land at Prisoners so I could do the Pelican Bay Trail. The trail was only 4.5 miles, not 6 as the site suggest, but the difficulty was moderate/strenuous.

The hike itself was absolutely beautiful and our tour guide David did an absolute amazing job informing the group about the plants and wildlife. The Pelican Bay hike is inside the Nature Conservancy which requires that this hike be done with a tour guide. Getting to Pelican Bay was definitely worth the hike! We were able to stop to enjoy our lunch that we brought with us and the view.

I would highly recommend this hike. And we will definitely be back to the channel islands for some camping!

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