Hikes in Santa Barbara County
If you come to Santa Barbara for the scenic coastline, fine wineries, and quaint lodging, you should stay for the excellent hiking. Just behind the coastal cities of Santa Barbara County are the Santa Ynez Mountains. This east-west range is part of Los Padres National Forest and forms a beautiful green backdrop for Santa Barbara. Many great trails run through these mountains, visiting quiet canyons, gushing waterfalls, and tranquil overlooks with stunning ocean views. Another attractive thing about hiking in Santa Barbara is that most of the trails are free! Start exploring Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara Hiking
This collection of trails around Santa Barbara, California lists the hikes from west to east. The table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. Each trail links to its own report complete with directions, photos, GPS maps, elevation profiles, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these hikes. You can also view hikes around Santa Barbara County on the Hike Finder Map.
This short out and back hike visits an 80-foot tall fern-lined waterfall.
|550||Gaviota Pass Overlook Loop|
This loop tours scenic ridges in Gaviota State Park to arrive at a soaring overlook above the Gaviota Tunnel.
This loop mounts a 2,458-foot summit two miles from the Pacific and then descends Trespass Trail to explore the wilds of the Santa Ynez Mountains.
|570||Gaviota Hot Springs|
This short hike visits a warm hot springs along the trail to Gaviota Peak.
|580||Tunnel View and Trespass Trails Loop|
This loop steals views over the 101 Freeway and the Gaviota Tunnel from Gaviota State Park.
|590||Gaviota Wind Caves|
This out and back hike just off the 101 Freeway in Gaviota State Park visits wind-carved caves with great ocean views.
|595||Nature Trail in El Capitán State Beach|
This loop explores a lush sycamore grove bordering El Capitán Creek to approach the rocky shore at the end of El Capitán Point.
This out and back hike delivers views of Lake Cachuma as it climbs the Santa Ynez mountains to a saddle overlooking the Pacific.
This easy hike visits the scenic ruins of an estate home built atop the mountains behind Santa Barbara.
|620||Chumash Painted Cave|
This very short trail looks in on Native American rock art in the Santa Ynez Mountains.
This short out and back hike visits a unique rock formation with amazing views over Santa Barbara and the Pacific.
|640||Inspiration Point from San Roque Road|
This out and back hike up the western side of Jesusita Trail reaches a panoramic perch in the Santa Ynez Mountains overlooking Santa Barbara.
|642||Inspiration Point from Tunnel Road|
This out and back hike combines Tunnel Trail and Jesusita Trail to ascend Mission Canyon to a sweeping viewpoint that looks down over Santa Barbara and up into the Santa Ynez Mountains.
This out and back hike crosses a lush canyon to a beautiful waterfall on the edge of Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara.
This partial loop climbs to a panoramic summit in Los Padres National Forest overlooking Montecito and Santa Barbara.
This hike uses four trails to form a loop to a vista point in the Santa Ynez Mountains behind Montecito.
This easy lollipop loop crosses charming stone bridges over San Ysidro Creek to explore a lush oak forest that is flooded by nasturtiums in the spring.
|680||Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park|
This level out and back hike explores El Estuaro, a vital ecosystem for shorebirds.
|690||Carpinteria Bluffs Trail to Carpinteria Seal Sanctuary Overlook|
This short hike goes from Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve to a viewing area above a harbor seal rookery, offering beach access and beautiful oceanfront hiking.
|1 - 2 miles|
25 - 100 feet
Or explore hikes around Santa Barbara County on the Hike Finder Map