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Devil's Canyon -


Overview
Access
Things to Know
On the Trail

Overview

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult • Mileage: 7
Elevation Gain: 800 ft. • Location: Lower Santa Ynez River
Features: Viewpoint, Canyons, Creeks, Loop Trip
User Type: Hiking, Equestrian Trail, Mountain Biking, Dog Walking, Trail Running


Highlights

Though a relatively long hike, Devil’s Canyon offers the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful hike up the Santa Ynez River to Gibraltar Dam with a return trip through a narrow, lush canyon and back along the grassy slopes of the Santa Ynez Fault to Live Oak picnic area.

The Basics

  • Length : 7 miles
  • Gain : 800'
  • Difficulty : Moderately strenuous with shuttle; strenuous without one.
  • Path : Combines river trail and higher country single track.
  • Season : All year.
  • Restrictions : Multi-Use; expect to encounter mountain bikes.
  • Canine : Ok for dogs off leash. No water at all on the Devil's Canyon and Matias section.
  • Admin : Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara District

Things to Look For

  • Points of Interest : Viewpoint,Canyons,Creeks,Loop Trip


Find Other Similar Trails

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Points of Interests: ViewpointCanyonsCreeksLoop Trip
User Types: HikersEquestriansMountain BikersDog WalkerTrail Runners
Locations: Lower Santa Ynez River

Links & Resources

Gallery

[Cliche] Album not specified

Hike Details



  • Length : 7 miles
  • Gain : 800'
  • Difficulty : Moderately strenuous with shuttle; strenuous without one.
  • Path : Combines river trail and higher country single track.
  • Season : All year.
  • Restrictions : Multi-Use; expect to encounter mountain bikes.
  • Canine : Ok for dogs off leash. No water at all on the Devil's Canyon and Matias section.
  • Admin : Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara District

Access / Getting There

  1. Park either at Live Oak picnic area or Red Rock. Follow Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass to Paradise Road.
  2. Turn right on Paradise and follow it for 5 miles to the first Santa Ynez River crossing. You will need to have an Adventure Pass or purchase one there to park anywhere inside the Lower Santa Ynez Recreation Area.
  3. After crossing the river continue up the river for an additional 5 miles to the point where the road ends at the Red Rock parking area.
  4. To reach the start of the Devil's Canyon Trail. hike 3 miles up the river trail to the base of Gibraltar Dam. 

Things to Know

A long but rewarding hike. Late November or early December is an excellent time for the hike. The weather is much cooler and the cottonwood trees have all turned a vibrant yellow.

Background

Trip Log

On The Trail

The Devil’s Canyon loop allows you to experience the enchanting canyon to be found beyond Red Rock while at the same time escaping the crowds that sometimes end up there. This is possible because the swimmers and sunbathers don’t usually begin to show up until the early afternoon. Starting at 9am (or so) allows you to avoid most people. 

Begin the hike by following the gravel road past Red Rock. As you leave the popular swimming hole behind you’ll find yourself walking on what seems like a country road—this one dates back to the days when this area was being developed for its mineral riches—mainly quicksilver. Contorted layers of rock on the north side of the river show the extreme pressures which the shale must have undergone. Underfoot, if you look carefully, you can still find pieces of the red brick quicksilver kilns. Beyond this you’ll find more pools as the road meanders back and forth across the river and through sycamore, cottonwood, and willow groves, meadows, and groves of live oak for several miles to Gibraltar Dam.

When you reach the base of the dam, rather than hiking up the last steep hill to the top of it, head up the road just as if you were returning back to Red Rock on the high road. Fifty yards up the road look for the beginning of the Devil’s Canyon Trail. The canyon is deep and narrow, and for the first half mile has a rugged and wild character to it as it passes through a thick layer of sandstone. Above this the canyon opens, and the trail turns to the right (west) and begins to climb a series of grass slopes as it rises up into the Santa Ynez Fault. Another half mile brings you to the end of Devil’s Canyon and the beginning of Matias Potrero. Continue west of this for 2.5 miles to a trail intersection (marked by a sign). A right turn will drop you down to Paradise Road just a few hundred yards below Live Oak picnic area.

 

On The Bike

On The Run

On The Walk


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Last Updated: Monday, July 27, 2015