Friday, July 27, 2012

Top 3 Easy to Moderate Hikes in Santa Barbara County

santa barbara hikesSanta Barbara County is a coastal town region in Central California. Blessed with great weather all year around and located between the Pacific Ocean and the mountain, it has many outdoor opportunities.

The Santa Ynez mountain provides numerous hiking trails that usually reward hikers with an expansive view of the town and the ocean.

All the hikes mentioned below should be do-able by anyone in decent fitness and should take anywhere from 2 hour to half a day.

1. Gaviota Peak - 6 miles round trip

The hike up Gaviota Peak albeit can be quite a workout, will provide hikers with a 360-degree view of Santa Ynez Mountain, the Channel Islands, and the Gaviota coast.

The trailhead is located at the Gaviota State Park, a 30 minute drive on Highway 101 north of the city of Santa Barbara.

The trail is a wide and unpaved road starting at the end of the parking lot. At 0.4 mile there's a fork to the right that will take you to Gaviota Hot Springs.

Continuing onto the main trail and pass some switchbacks you will reach a metal gate before a junction. Take the right fork that will take you to the peak and the spectacular view that awaits you.

2. Aniso Trail (from El Capitan State Beach to Refugio State Beach) - 5 miles round trip

The Aniso trail is a paved trail connecting the two state parks. It follows the shore, passes sandstone bluffs and secluded coves, and provides constant view of the coastline.

From the day use parking lot in El Capitan State Beach, head to the general store. The trail starts on the side of the store.

3. Ellwood Bluffs - 3.5 miles round trip

The Ellwood Bluffs Trail follows along 80-foot cliffs by the ocean. It's located in Santa Barbara Shores County Park is one of the most popular trails in the park.

The County Park can be accessed by taking Highway 101 North and exiting Glen Annie in Goleta. Drive on Hollister Avenue until you see the parking lot on the left.

The trail is well marked. Cross the creek and follow the trail as it veers left heading towards the bluffs. Follow the trail to the left along the cliff's edge. Soon you'll see a junction with a beach access trail that you can take to get to the beach below.

Farther on, the path will head inland and curve back to the starting point.

All of the hiking trails above are exposed. So bring necessary protection from the sun.

There more hiking trails in Santa Barbara to explore. Find out everything that Santa Barbara has to offer during your visit to Santa Barbara.


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