1. From the Fairview Avenue overpass in Goleta drive 26.3 miles north on Highway 101 to the Highway 1 turnoff, one mile beyond the Gaviota Tunnel.
2. Take the offramp, turn right and head back down the frontage road for 0.3 miles to the Gaviota State Park parking area.
3. The cost is $2 for parking in the lot, or you can park farther back along the frontage road for free.
Expectations for Riding the Santa Barbara Area Trails
Country trails are multi-use trails and as such are used by several thousand users each week. If you are riding downhill on these trails, expect to encounter them on your way. Your cooperation will help make everyone's experience a safe and pleasant one.
Ten things every mountain biker who rides the front country trails is expected to do:
The Trespass loop isn’t nearly as difficult as the Gaviota Peak ride, but the first three-fourths mile is just as steep, meaning that it is no piece of cake either. Still, it makes a good short ride, has a great spot to look down on the coast after the ride up, and there are the hot springs to soak in afterward.
From the trailhead, ride up the main fire road for several hundred yards to the point where a secondary road turns off to the right beneath a large oak tree. This is the start of the road which will take you to the Trespass Trail. Fortunately you’ll have a few hundred yards of easy riding to recover from the first uphill. However, just when you think you’ve got it made, the jeepway turns left and begins to head up through a series of very steep grass meadows and then up through chaparral and more uphill.
The tough part brings you high up on the hillside. The road levels, and you can breathe again. An almost-level section takes you around a point and into a long canyon. The jeepway drops slightly for a hundred yards. Along the way you’ll spot the turnoff for the Trespass Trail.
Looking up ahead, you can spot the saddle which marks the farthest spot you can ride to; beyond this, the trail heads so steeply up the ridge toward Gaviota Peak that there is no way it can be ridden.
The rest of the jeepway isn’t as well maintained as the road leading up to this point, and in fact it is overgrown enough that all that is left of it is single track, but that makes it a bit more charming. With a little brushing, this would be a great single-track section. The trail parallels the left side of the canyon, climbing gradually toward the saddle. From the Trespass turnoff it is a bit more than a mile to the saddle.
Because of the brush, some riders may want to ditch their bikes and walk the last part. The trail winds through very pretty hillsides and past some very unique-looking sandstone formations before following a small creek uphill to a fairly open saddle. In the spring there is a small pond at the low point of the saddle. Follow the jeepway past the pond and head toward the ocean and up the steep hill if you want to enjoy the great views of the Gaviota coast you will find there.
For the return trip, head back down to the Trespass turnoff and follow it down through a series of meadows and oak forests. The first part takes you on a twisting route which winds in an out of a number of large and gnarly oak trees, and at some points you will need to duck to avoid their long, dangling branches.
Once you are below the oak forest the trail cuts across a long meadow with a slight climb and then goes down through more forests to the lower meadows. You will find one spot where nearby springs ooze out of the ground, creating a bog of sorts. In the springtime you may have a little difficulty riding through the ten-foot-wide bog without getting stuck in the mud, but if you are careful you can do it. From this point it is another quarter-mile of pleasant riding with several small wooden bridges to cross before you reach the main road.
The hot springs are not too far up the road from this point and are definitely worth the ride up to them.