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Lower Mono Creek Trail -


Overview
Access
Things to Know
On the Trail

Overview

Difficulty: Easy • Mileage: 1.5
Elevation Gain: 100 ft. • Location: Upper Santa Ynez River
Features: Canyons, Creeks, Family Friendly, Out & Back, Car Camp
User Type: Car Campers, Hiking, Equestrian Trail, Mountain Biking, Dog Walking, Trail Running


Highlights

The lower part of Mono Trail is part of the historic route from Santa Barbara to the Cuyama Valley. The section from Mono Camp to the river is 1.5 miles in length and is one of the most scenic hikes in the backcountry. The lower canyon is filled with cottonwood trees and they form a canopy for your hike to the river. You can continue another mile upstream to catch the lower end of the Cold Springs Trail.

 

The Basics

  • Length : 1 mile to the river
  • Gain : 100' elevation loss to the river.
  • Difficulty : Easy to moderate
  • Path : Single track. Trail re-routed after it was damaged by floods after the Zaca Fire in 2007.
  • Season : All year.
  • Restrictions : Multi-Use; expect to encounter mountain bikes.
  • Canine : Ok for dogs off leash.
  • Admin : Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara District

Things to Look For

  • Points of Interest : Canyons,Creeks,Family Friendly,Out & Back,Car Camp


Find Other Similar Trails

Difficulty: Easy
Points of Interests: CanyonsCreeksFamily FriendlyOut & BackCar Camp
User Types: Car CampersHikersEquestriansMountain BikersDog WalkerTrail Runners
Locations: Upper Santa Ynez River

Links & Resources

Gallery

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Hike Details



  • Length : 1 mile to the river
  • Gain : 100' elevation loss to the river.
  • Difficulty : Easy to moderate
  • Path : Single track. Trail re-routed after it was damaged by floods after the Zaca Fire in 2007.
  • Season : All year.
  • Restrictions : Multi-Use; expect to encounter mountain bikes.
  • Canine : Ok for dogs off leash.
  • Admin : Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara District

Access / Getting There

  1. Follow Gibraltar Road for 7 miles to Camino Cielo.
  2. Turn right on Camino Cielo and follow the crest road for 5.8 miles to Romero Saddle then drop down an additional 4.6 miles on a rough dirt road to the Santa Ynez River crossing where the road leading up to Jameson Reservoir takes off on the right.
  3. Continue past the crossing an additional 6 miles until you reach Mono Camp. The trail begins at the lower end of the camp.

 

Things to Know

In 2007 the Zaca Fire burned through almost all of the upper Indian and Mono Creek watersheds and rainfall the winter after caused the creek channels to shift and loads of sand to be deposited on the section of Mono Creek from the Debris Dam to the Santa Ynez River. Subsequent trail maintenance projects have improved lower Mono Trail and use is continuing to compact it over the years.

Background

Trip Log

On The Trail

This is a trail that I wish would go on forever and forever. The canyon through which it passes is filled with cottonwood trees and thick stands of willows, the canopy completely covering the trail and providing the feeling that you are walking through a tunnel of greenery. It is the home of a tiny bird known as the Least Bell’s Vireo, a migratory bird that is on the Endangered Species List. There are roughly only 300 known pairs of them left and approximately 50-60 of these pairs make this area their spring and summer home. 

What the Least Bell’s Vireo has meant to the city of Santa Barbara is a complete stop to any attempt to raise the level of Gibraltar Dam. What this means to hikers is that you should stay on trail so as not to disturb any nest sites.

Mono Trail begins at the lower end of Mono Camp. Though it isn’t that easy to spot, you shouldn’t have too much trouble locating it. Look for a path that takes off through the brush. A hundred yards after you pass through a long grass meadow the canopy closes in overhead, and from here on the trail curves back and forth through the cottonwood forest for a half mile, finally straightening out somewhat for the last mile which is along the left side of the canyon.

Near the mouth of the canyon the trail rises slightly and then turns sharply left and into the Santa Ynez River drainage. Mono Trail continues for a mile along the left side of the river and ends near the bottom of the Cold Springs Trail. A short hike up this will bring you to the Gibraltar Trail. Adventuresome hikers will follow this until directly opposite Mono Creek, then drop down to the river and cross back over it to the Mono Trail.

 

On The Bike

On The Run

On The Walk


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Last Updated: Sunday, November 9, 2014