Hiking in Santa Barbara
Trips offered by California Explorer:
See below for tips on how to go hiking on your own.
Santa Barbara has many great hikes into the nearby foothills and beyond! The majority start near the downtown area, but there are also some that begin in Goleta and Montecito. For directions and detailed descriptions about all hikes, visit: www.santabarbarahikes.com or google Santa Barbara Independent day hikes.
Here are a couple fun hikes to get you started:
Tunnel trailhead is a great spot for hiking because it offers access to many different hikes. Inspiration Point, Tunnel Trial, 7 Falls, and Cathedral Peak all start at Tunnel trailhead.
Directions: The easiest way is to get a ride, take a taxi, or Uber to a trail head. If you want to do it without paying for transpo, here is your best bet: Take bus 6 or 11 to the corner of Pueblo and State Street. When you get off bus, walk back one block to Los Olivos street and then walk toward mountains. In about 4 blocks (0.8km), you will reach the Santa Barbara Mission. From here, keep walking up Mission Canyon road. After 1.1 km, this road takes a quick right onto Foothill/192, then another quick left (at the stop sign) and you are back on Mission Canyon road. After 0.5km, you will reach a fork with Tunnel road, go left onto Tunnel and follow this till it ends (2km). Then continue as it turns to dirt road and go around the double gate. It takes about an hour to get to the trailhead from the bus stop, but it is a nice walk. Just be very careful on the roads as they are narrow and there is no sidewalk. Once you reach the trails, there are many places you can visit. It is about 1.5km to reach Inspiration Point, which is a great view or you can rock hop up the creek to go to 7 Falls.
HOT SPRINGS TRAILHEAD
Hot Springs Trail in Montecito is another great way to reach Santa Barbara's trail system. As the name implies, there are actual hot springs on the mountainside. Unfortunately for bathing enthusiasts, the water from the springs are owned by a private company and the water is piped to nearby reservoirs. This leaves just a trickle of the sulfur smelling hot water to trickle out of the mountain walls. The area is beautiful however and was once the site of a health resort going back to 1870. Banana plants from the days of the resort still flourish in the canyon. Parts of the ruins of the Hot Springs Hotel foundation also remain.
The trailhead gives access to many other trails including the popular Saddle Rock Trail, the McMenemy trail, and connectors to the Cold Springs canyon trail system as well as San Ysidro trail.
The easiest way is to get a ride, take a taxi, or Uber to a trail head. If you want to do it without paying for transpo, here is your best bet: Take bus 14 to the corner of Hot Springs and East Valley Roads. From here you will walk up Hot Springs 1.5 km to the corner of Hot Springs and East Mountain. The official trailhead is 200 meters to your left (or to the west). You will see many cars parked here and a sign for the trailhead.
Lizards Mouth offers incredible views of Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands. With its large boulders and steep rock faces, it is a popular spot for climbing and scrambling around.
You will need a car to get up to Lizards Mouth. If you don't have a car, you can come with us on our Lizards Mouth Fun Tour, or you can take a taxi/uber. If you are driving from downtown, head north on the 101. Take the 154/Cachuma Lake/State St. exit and follow the signs to 154. Head up the 154. and turn left on Kinevan Rd. When you come to a fork in the road, go left onto West Camino Cielo Rd. Go past a long row of mailboxes on your left. Keep going past a sign that says Windemere. Then pass a water tank on your right. Soon after you will pass a gate on your left with a "no shooting" sign. Keep going. When you come to a spot where the dirt road begins to widen, you can park. There may already be cars parked there. If you get to the gun club at the end of the road, you have gone too far.
CALIENTE HOT SPRINGS
The Caliente Hot Springs are popular natural springs up in the foothills north of Santa Barbara. Depending on your preference, you can visit Big Caliente Hot Springs or Little Caliente Hot Springs.
The Little Caliente Hot Springs are accessible by car along a bumpy dirt road OR by a long 13mi (21km) hike round-trip. The hike is all downhill on the way there and pretty strenuous on the way back up. If you would rather drive instead of hike, there is a rocky dirt road that also leads to the springs. Either way, you will need a car to get there, and if you decide to drive the dirt road, you may need a four wheel drive vehicle or a car that can handle the bumpy road. Definitely read more about the Little Caliente Springs before you go www.santabarbarahikes.com. Although the trek is long, it's well worth the trip!
Big Caliente Hot Springs are about a 2 hour drive from downtown Santa Barbara. You will need a vehicle that can handle rough roads for this trip. The road leading to the Big Caliente Hot Springs may also be closed from time to time because of rain or other weather conditions. Make sure to check the Forest Service website for updates and more information.
GROUP HIKES - join in for free!
Wednesday and Friday nights leaving from the Old Mission at 6:15 PM
Saturdays and Sundays, all day hike leaving from the Bank of America on State St. near La Cumbre www.sierraclub.org
Check the Santa Barbara County Hikers group for regular hikes and events www.meetup.com/SANTA-BARBARA-COUNTY-HIKERS/