Santa Barbara is known for its picturesque harbor sunsets, but have you ever seen the sun set from up above the clouds from Montecito Peak or Lizzard’s Mouth? It’s a breathtaking view, especially on a clear day when even the small grooves on the mountainous Channel Islands can be detected by the naked eye.
In our most recent newsletter we listed several of our favorite hiking trails and destinations around Santa Barbara: Inspiration Point, San Ysidro Trail, Seven Falls, Rattlesnake Canyon, Tangerine Falls, and McMenemy Trail. Most of these trails are manageable (and indeed enjoyable!) for the beginner, though they all require an adventurous spirit. Be sure to take along a bottle of water and sun protection, especially as we head into the warmer months of the year.
Here are details about the hikes and tips for further enjoyment!
Inspiration Point: This hike can start at either Jesusita Trail or Tunnel Trail. If you start at Tunnel Trail the trip is 3.5 miles round trip with about an 800 ft elevation gain. This is a popular sunset hike, with gorgeous views of the city, ocean and islands.
San Ysidro Trail: You can take this trail about 2 miles up to a gorgeous waterfall (even better after a heavy rain), or make the 9 mile round trip climb up to the summit (East Camino Cielo Rd).
Seven Falls: This one requires a little more adventure and agility because it requires some rock hopping as you climb up a creek bed to get to the falls. It is roughly 2-3 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 800 ft.
Rattlesnake Canyon: Just 15 minutes from downtown, this trail is a Santa Barbara favorite! It is also very well maintained and fairly shady. If you hike to the meadow, it’s about 3.5 miles round trip, but also has options of more strenuous hikes summiting at East Camio Cielo Rd or Gibraltar Rd (a great place for rock climbing and the launching zone for hang gliders!).
Tangerine Falls: Take the Cold Springs trailhead and hike along part of the West Fork trail (which summits at Gibraltar Rd). This slightly more confusing trail leads you to beautiful falls that are definitely worth the rock-hopping and extra attention required. It is 3 miles round trip with a decent elevation gain.
McMenemy Trail: This hike has two different options for summits, one at the junction with the Girard trail (3.5 miles round trip), and the other at Saddlerock (5.5 miles round trip). It has some decent uphill climbs, but also has some great views from both summits of the ocean and city.
Lizzard’s Mouth: Less of a hike and more of a destination, this is a view you will not want to miss! It also has some wonderful opportunities for rock climbing and bouldering. The trail itself is a mere ¼ of a mile, offering stunning sunset views of the ocean, islands, and city of Goleta.
Montecito Peak: One of the more taxing hikes in Santa Barbara, summiting Montecito Peak has incredible views to offer, both along the way and at the top. The trail begins at the East Cold Springs trailhead. It’s a 6.8 mile round trip climb with an elevation gain of about 1940 ft. Definitely pack some water on this one!