Ellwood Mesa - Goleta

The Best Town Walks in Goleta & Fun Things to do in Goleta

Things to Know


Mileage: 1-3 miles or more • Path: Dirt Path • Region: Goleta
User TypesWalks, Dog Walks, Biking, Running, Photography, Birding, Kid Safe, Family Friendly, Equestrian

A very nice place to come for an early morning or afternoon walk. Paths lead out to the bluff tops overlooking the beach and along the edge of Sandpiper Golf Course, as well as through the eucalyptus groves to the Monarch groves. More than 10 miles of trails and a mile long stretch of blufftop makes this an excellent place for hikers, runners, families and kids.

Walk Details

  • Length : 2-3
  • Path Type : Wide dirt trails that can accommodate multi-use.
  • Use Fees : None
  • Canine : OK for dogs on leash.
  • Administration : City of Goleta

Find Other Similar Town Walks

User Types: Hiker , Dog Walkers , Bicyclists , Trail Runners , Photographers , Bird Watchers , Families , Kids , Equestrians
Region: Goleta

Links & Resources

Get Directions To The Trailhead

Driving Directions
Get Directions to Ellwood Mesa which is located at 34.429045,-119.896977.

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Access / Getting There

From Santa Barbara drive northbound on Highway 101 to the Glen Annie/Storke Road exit in Goleta. Turn left, cross over the freeway and drive 0.3 miles to Hollister. Turn right and continue 1.7 miles to the Ellwood Bluffs parking lot. 


Things to Know

When Ellwood Cooper first visited Santa Barbara in 1868 as a tourist, he was impressed by the olive trees which had been planted along Los Olivos by the mission padres. Quickly, he became convinced the oil produced in Santa Barbara's mild Mediterranean climate could compete with that produced in Italy.

By coincidence, Cooper later met Colonel W.W. Hollister in northern California and began corresponding with him. When Hollister moved to the Goleta Valley in 1869 and built his fabulous Glen Annie retreat he began singing the praises of the "Good Land" to Cooper and convinced him to move to the area in 1870.

When he arrived in the Goleta Valley, looking at the property on which he would soon locate his olive trees, Cooper wrote:

 "The appearance of the Goleta Valley is perfectly lovely, the prospect grand and sublime, mountains on the one side, the great ocean on the other. The building sites on our ranch cannot be surpassed anywhere. I can have wild ravine views, rugged mountains, the ocean and look all over the country between me and Santa Barbara 12 miles distant, the west view being of equal beauty."

 Cooper, being the industrious person he was, had 400 acres of his canyon holdings (what is now known as Ellwood Canyon) planted with 7,000 olive trees, and 12,500 walnut trees within two years. For many years he was the largest producer of walnuts in California and Cooper's olive mill eventually became the largest in the United States. He was hailed as America's olive oil king, but ironically, the olive oil business which brought him to Santa Barbara ended up being a failure; Cooper could not compete with the cheaper, and inferior, oil being produced in Sicily at a fraction of the cost.

The olive trees are gone, as are the walnut groves; nevertheless Cooper's mark has been left indelibly on the Goleta countryside and in areas like the Ellwood Bluffs County Park. It is he who was responsible for bringing the eucalyptus tree to Santa Barbara. Cooper was the first grower in the United States to begin commercial propagation and distribution of eucalyptus trees. The main plantation was just across from Ellwood Bluffs County Park near Ellwood Union School.

Today, as you walk down through the park you will notice the long rows of eucalyptus that line Hollister Avenue and in places separate the open fields from one another. It is these that are now the legacy of Ellwood Cooper.


On The Walk

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Last Updated: Sunday, November 9, 2014