For hikers who would like to experience the feeling of a walk along the upper edges of Montecito, where you can look down on the coastline from a lofty perch nearly 1200’ in elevation above the valley floor, the route up to the Buena Vista lookout provides just such an experience. The power line road is wide, easy to walk on, and the views are spectacular. It is possible to reach the Buena Vista Trail or hike all the way to San Ysidro Canyon on the power line road.
Points of Interests: Canyons, Creeks, Viewpoint, Out & Back, Loop Trip
User Types: Hikers, Equestrians, Mountain Bikers, Dog Walker, Trail Runners
Locations: Front Country, Santa Barbara
Sub Regions: Romero Canyon
Download Directions: Download PDF Map Directions
From the locked gate the route finding is easy—as you walk up the oak-lined road, the power line road splits off to the left a bit beyond the concrete bridge. This is where the hard part begins. The road leads up a side canyon and begins to gain elevation fairly rapidly. Fifteen minutes of strenuous climbing will get you to the summit and from here the next mile along the power line road is easy. The road is almost, though not quite, level as it winds along the side of the Santa Ynez Mountains.
Just after the road begins to level out look for a small trail on the ocean side that diagonals up to a high point. It doesn't look like much but at the top is one of the great viewpoints and stone benches you'll find in the front country. The bench was constructed in honor of Jimmy Andros' son, Mark James, who died tragically in 1961.
There are several promontories along the way which provide great places to stop but the best is near the end of the road on a knoll which is marked on the Carpinteria topo with a small triangle and the elevation—1543’. Look for a trail in the chaparral leading out to the top of the knoll. On it you will find a beautiful hand carved bench to sit on and enjoy the sunset views. You can thank the Montecito Trails Foundation for providing this magnificent bench.
The power line road ends just a few hundred yards beyond the knoll trail. If you look closely you will spot the Buena Vista trail sign without too much difficulty. The trail drops down into Buena Vista Canyon, a very pretty sycamore-filled canyon which is the most colorful front country canyon in November and September when the leaves are a golden yellow.