The Steven's Park Trail wanders through a beautiful oak-filled canyon, whose combination of picturesque scenery and easy hiking is perfect for children. The hike to Inspiration Point provides views that make the ascent worthwhile. Along the way you will find a cutoff trail leading up to the historic Arroyo Burro Trail. Stevens Park is at the lower trailhead, making this a perfect place to go for an afternoon picnic, game of volleyball, or canyon hike.
Points of Interests: Canyons, Creeks, Family Friendly, Out & Back, Picnicking, BBQs, City Park
User Types: Hikers, Equestrians, Mountain Bikers, Dog Walker, Trail Runners, Picnicker
Locations: Front Country, Santa Barbara
Sub Regions: San Roque Canyon
Download Directions: Download PDF Map Directions
Most of San Roque Canyon was burned during the Jesusita Fire in 2009. Thanks to the valiant efforts of firefighters the fire was contained just below the bridge over the canyon and Stevens Park was spared. Today, the vegetation has recovered almost entirely.
Tucked into a beautifully landscaped residential area, Steven’s Park serves both as a delightful city park as well as trailhead leading into upper San Roque Canyon. The hike begins at the upper end of the park where the grass gives way to a wide dirt path which is very easy for even the youngest of children to walk on. Almost immediately you are immersed in canyon vegetation with oaks and sycamore trees as your companions. In the fall the sycamores and other riparian vegetation turn a brilliant yellow before shedding their leaves.
A hundred yards takes you under the Foothill Road bridge which is high overhead. The path continues along the creek and for the next quarter mile is wide, rising slightly but still easy walking. There are several spots along the way to reach the creek and on the right an absolutely beautiful grass meadow with excellent views of Cathedral Peak.
Beyond the meadow, the trail rises steeply over a small ridge then drops back down to the creek. The path is much narrower here and this is where the fun begins for the kids. There are several great places for the kids to play at the edge of the creek and a fabulous oak forest on top of a hill to the right. There are paths leading up into it, and a beautiful place to sit on top of the rocks and look down on the creek from the shade of a gnarly old oak tree but you are better off leaving this area alone: there is poison oak everywhere.
As the path turns to the right and follows the canyon, you will reach the first creek crossing and a small pool. Just across the creek is a second oak forest and a ring of truck-sized boulders which form a very peaceful and secluded glen.
Beyond the glen the trail splits. The path to the left leads up over a hill and on to a Flood Control spillway. The other path leads straight ahead and follows the creek around the hill, eventually re-connecting to the other just below the spillway. Kids will like exploring here and it is a good spot to end the lower canyon hike.
However, if you would like to continue further you can. The Jesusita Trail is just a few hundred yards beyond the upper end of the spillway. Stay on the left side of the basin and follow the path through an opening in the brush then across the creek to the intersection with Jesusita Trail.