Lizard’s Mouth is located in a large amphitheater-shaped rock formation at the point where the Coldwater Sandstone formation crosses over the Santa Ynez Mountains. Its chaparral environment is interspersed with large, massive sandstone outcroppings. The forces of wind and water have created an intricate network of caves and crevices that are wonderful to explore. Unfortunately, it has also been trashed by careless visitors and it is not nearly so attractive as it once was. You can help out by coming up here and helping collect the trash every so often.
There may be broken glass in places, remnants of past parties, which is a good reason not to bring your dog with you. Each year the Santa Barbara Ranger District and other volunteer groups have a cleanup day at Lizard's Mouth. If you'd like to volunteer you can find out more from the District office at (805) 967-3481.
In August 2000 Jesse James Hollywood ordered the kidnapping and murder of 15 year old Nicholas Markowitz as revenge for a $1,200 debt his older brother, Benjamin, owed him. The murder took place at Lizard's Mouth, which is also where a shallow grave was dug to place the body. Hollywood fled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he managed to remain until 2005, until he was captured and extradited to the US. Finally, in July 2009, Hollywood was found guilty of kidnapping and first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The 2006 movie Alpha Dog, is based on this story.
There really isn't a route to follow, other than the short trail you'll take to reach the boulder field. Once you are there you spot more open bedrock on the right that will take you to Lizard's Mouth proper and a series of boulderfields, crevasses, ups and downs and places to explore to the east.
Unfortunately in the last few years Lizard's Mouth has been spray painted througout the area, both destroying its character and giving it the feeling more of a freak zone than an explorer's paradise. Perhaps the ghost of the Nicholas Markowitz haunts the place but what once was a fantastic place to rock and boulder hop issn't anymore. Still, it is one of the best places for those who love to boulder and on most days you'll spot plenty of climbers testing their skills on the rocks.