Explore the most popular 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.

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walking

views

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nature trips

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kid friendly

wild flowers

mountain biking

dog friendly

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hiking
5 days ago

One of my new favorites. Plenty of shaded areas, so one of the better trails for hotter days. Multiple sceneries including creek, dense trees, and open outlooks areas. Can be as difficult as you want it to be. Best part was my dog taking the opportunity for a quick cool off in the creek. And not too much foot traffic, especially for a Sunday!

walking
8 days ago

Short walk to great views.

Beautiful views, perfect spot to watch the sunset!

fun and easy "hike", it's really walking down a dirt road to the castle. The views of the horizon from the castle are amazing. I would def do it again, but be warned it is easy and super short.

Trail is open, checked it out yesterday and spotted a bear as an FYI. According to another hiker it is a mother who also has a cub

One of the better hikes in the area if you like some variety of bouldering/hiking. Not the best for trail running as most open path trails have been affected by the mudslides. Lots of visible poison oak but I was not affected by it after knowingly walking through it. Fun and not too strenuous. I did not realize the path forked and decided to go left instead but still found some falls and active streams. Fun for dogs too. Enjoy!

Really loved the hike what little I did of it. Only went about 1/2 hour in then out. Only had small amount of time. True bummer was I parked in the Skofield Park parking area. My driver window was smashed out and my laptop and back pack stolen. BIG bummer. Park on the road. Set your alarm.

hiking
18 days ago

This is a great hike, my first one in Santa Barbara. There were times where I felt like I was so isolated I could be in another country, in the forest, and I loved that. It was difficult for me, cannot speak for all but there were some parts where the path is very small. There are some really beautiful views. If you go to UCSB, extra plus because you can see campus from the top.

I did this hike very last minute and was totally surprised it was open. It’s right in the midst of the Montecito Debris Flow and shows the devastation that hit the area. I was almost in tears as I did the loop. There’s still plenty of poison oak though. After completing the hike, consider volunteering or supporting the SB Bucket Brigade.

There is another reviewer, Olek K., that is 100% correct in warning you about the difficulty of this trail.

This is the hardest hike in SB, but also the most rewarding.

Bring 2+ liters of water, sunscreen for before and at the top of the trail, a hat, clothes that you are alright with sweating through completely, and good hiking shoes.

Start out on the trail by 9:00 AM in the Summer or risk getting fatigued by the heat. Or start out at 4:30 PM in June/July and get a bit of natural shade on the way up.

Don't bring your dog, unless your dog's a goat.

It’s a good workout if you go all the way to the top! Beautiful hike, just beware there are a lot of bees toward the end of the hike, and it’s a little toasty (not shaded) toward the end of the hike, as well. Bring sunscreen!

Trail is open, but looks very different. Jeep road is good but following the creek is a new landscape post debris flow.

hiking
21 days ago

It was the first my trail in Santa Barbara . Love it. Little more that 7 ml. It took me 3:15 hrs. I’m an active person and I cannot say it was hard for me . Was a nice sunny day and the view was gorgeous !

Cool old structure, not really a trail more just a dirt road. With ease of access the Castles is filled with instagram models and littered with plastic Starbucks cups and straws.

hiking
1 month 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.

I went last Sunday and the gate leading to the trail was closed and it was 9 miles from the gate to where the hike started. Does anyone know if it is open yet?

walking
1 month 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.

Fun trail and nice views. If you hike all the way to the burn area on the other side of cachuma near the closed campground then it's almost 12 miles round trip.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike, took about 1:15min to get to Gibralter Rd from the base. Mostly covered by trees until after the meadow or sign pointing towards the road.

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.

on Parma Park Trail

1 month ago

Beautiful, fragrant and nice hills. Beauty

Connect with Snyder to get great views back down to the campground!!

1 month ago

Good moderate hike. Some sun exposure so depending on your comfort pick an early time!

Beautiful views but it’s not a hike

hiking
1 month ago

I started from Stevens park and the trail takes you all the way to the shooting range..it was a loooooong and grueling walk I wouldn’t recommend this trail for somebody that is going by themselves (like what I did) the first hour was fine then you start having to go uphill for the next hour or so and in some parts the trail cuts off into actually wooded areas where it feels like you are going off the trail but it is the actual trail...it feels like the trail just goes on and on then you get to a point where the trail is blocked by a bunch of bushes where you have to crawl through the bush to get past it...and from that point it took me about an hour to reach the shooting range...overall it took me about 4 hours to get through it but that’s because the trail side tracked me where I had to retrace my steps...but if everything would of went smoothly the hike would take about 3 1/2 hours to complete...my phone died when I was trying to record my journey through this trail but it captured most of it...I definitely recommend this to a group that’s avid hikers this is definitely an expert trail and DO NOT GO ALONE!!!!!

hiking
1 month ago

It was my first time hiking in the Santa Barbara area and I really liked this hike. I think it could have been a 5 star hike if I had hiked it on a clear day.

Parking- we easily found parking along the side of the road on the right side near the trailhead...which is on the left side of the road

Trail- the sign at the start states that the trail is 4.2 miles with 641 ft of elevation gain...not sure what that is based on, but if you are like me and wish to take this trail to Inspiration Point and back it was 7.1 miles for me with an elevation gain of 1,600 ft...so quite a bit of difference there; the trail is easy to follow and the first 1.5 goes north and sticks close to the creek and the water was running with some recent rain; the trail then leaves the trees and heads in a NE direction through a more open sort of grassland area and you will cross a road and some private property nearby and then the incline kicks in for the final mile or so with some switchbacks up to Inspiration Point...which I didn't see any signs but I had my app to verify we had made it there and there were some other hikers there already but sadly there was no view to enjoy since it was an extremely overcast and foggy morning (4/2/18) and visibility was maybe 200 yards so there was no view of the ocean or island sadly; the hike was green, with the sound of running water for most of the time, and great views of the mountains to the northeast...I just wished we could have seen the ocean...FYI dogs are allowed on this trail off leash which doesn't bother me but might bother some

*the second half of the hike we really worked up a sweat not only because it was steeper but it was very humid and there was a light mist/drizzle

Of course bring plenty of water and hiking shoes or shoes with good traction, trekking poles are not needed for this hike. Plan on this hike taking about 3-4 hours. I would rate this as moderately difficult.

2 months ago

Not great for hiking. Good bike ruts. Pretty views.

hiking
2 months ago

I did the full trail today. After the bench, it does get VERY overgrown, so much so that there are several moments you're unsure if you should keep going. But it was definitely worth it. There is a rock past the bench, to stand on you can see miles and miles in every direction. The heart thumping portion comes as you get closer to sea level though, and climbing back up was certainly a cardio workout (especially after I saw a snake and was hightailing it faster). If you have faith, you can find the trail after losing it every time, and the trail ultimately ends in a gorgeous rocky creek that winds all the way back to foothill road. Total time 3 hours.

hiking
2 months ago

I went on a very misty/foggy day so the views at the top of Inspiration point weren't that great, but the journey there and back made up for it! Lots of ravines, boulders, wooded streams, and then the winding turns making your way up the mountain made for a great walk. The last mile or two have very little shade so bring sun protection and plenty of water.

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