When one thinks of Santa Barbara both the ocean and mountain wall come to mind — sea and summit — a combination that provides a special place to live and an abundance of opportunities to enjoy the area's open spaces, long stretches of beach and mountain hikes. Whether you enjoy a walk on the beach, exploring Santa Barbara's hsitoric past, a hike up one of the front country trails or a more secluded backcountry adventure, there is no shortage of trails and places to get out on foot.
Front Country There are six canyons carved in the Santa Ynez Mountains which lie almost directly behind Santa Barbara — San Roque, Mission, Rattlesnake, Cold Springs, San Ysidro, and Romero — that provide loads of opportunities to explore their canyons, loop from one to another, make your way up to vista points or the mountain crest, all within a few mintue's drive from town.
Open Space - Local Walks Viewed from above, the open spaces along the ocean bluffs and along the foothills are easy to spot: in the springtime they are like emeralds, the rich green colors sparkling in the afternoon lighting. There are many of them: Ellwood Mesa, More Mesa, Lake Los Carneros, the Douglas Family Preserve, the San Marcos Foothills Preserve, Parma Park and the Carp Bluffs. These are the places where you can go to spend a few minutes or an hour or two depending on the time available to you.
Montecito-Summerland Valleys Tucked amidst spacious mansions and rolling hills, thanks to the Montecito Trails Foundation efforts over the past 50 years, both Montecito and Summerland are host to a network of trails that reflect the unique quality of the area — Valley Club, Polo Club, Ennisbrook — and provide miles of trails that are perfect for hikers and equestrians alike.
Historic-Town Strolls If you are looking to explore Santa Barbara's Spanish and Mission history, enjoy the area's unique architectural styles or explore a neighborhood or two, you'll find a number of walks that are easy on the feet and rich in history.
Gaviota Coast One of the few remaining parts of the Califrnia coast that have resisted intense development, there are numerous beach access points that proviude an opportunity to walk the coast, state parks with overnight and day use facilities and two — El Capitan and Gaviota — that have extensicve inland trail systems that provide excellent backcountry hikes, and a hot spring too!
Santa Ynez River Valley Over the mountain crest, the Santa Ynez Recreation Area provides camping, day use areas and lots of opprotuntities for hiking, biking and horseback riding. From Highway 154 you can access the lower river canyon, developed facilities, swimming holes and plenty of hiking. For more remote car camping and hiking the upper Santa Ynez River features a number of tributaries of the Santa Ynez — the Monon, Indian and Aqua Caliente drainages, no cost car camps and way out back hiking.
Figueroa Mountain Across the Santa Ynez Valley and just north of Michael Jackson's fromer Neverland Ranch the Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area provides a network of trails that meander through the Figueroa part of the San Rafael Mountains and offer plenty of short hikes and loops through steep canyons and real pine and fir trees.
San Rafael Wilderness While thought of more as a take-off point for a backpack trip into the wilderness, nearby car caps at Nira and Davy Brown provide an opportunity for shorter day hikes up or down Manzana Creek and a camp spot to come back to afterward.
Thank you for taking the time to visit Santa Barbara Outdoors. The website was created to provide our local community and those who visit here with up-to-date information about where to go and what to see in our beautiful county.The website is currently undergoing major revisions so please be patient.
When heading out on any of our local trails always remember to bring plenty of water and take care while you are out there.