If you are looking for a peaceful stroll in the peaceful Central Coast city of Montecito, examine Ennisbrook Trail. This 1.85-mile lollipop loop with 150 feet of elevation change explores an oak woodland in the 44-acre San Ysidro Creek Preserve. The easy trail is charmed by old stone bridges spanning San Ysidro Creek, which you will follow on this creekside hike. In the spring, there are bursts of orange and yellow nasturtiums along the trail, as well other flowers that make the experience even more pleasant.
Set out from a trailhead on San Leandro Lane, just a few blocks from the 101 Freeway. In this classy neighborhood, even the trailhead has a white picket fence!
Walk through the gate next to the trail sign, and pass a small green building on the other side to begin up Ennisbrook Trail. The short hike crosses dirt, pebble, and paved trail, both wide and narrow, and there are a few junctions to be mindful of along the way. The first comes 0.05 miles from the start. Just after you cross a stone bridge, you will come to a T-junction. To the right a trail extends east to connect with Coffin Trail and Valley Club Trail. For the Ennisbrook Trail loop, turn left and head upstream above the bank of San Ysidro Creek.
After another tenth of a mile, the trail runs briefly along a chain-link fence as it borders a few backyards. This is a neighborhood hike, so the trail will pass some houses and roads along the way. Fortunately the roads are low traffic and the homes are impressive. The trail proceeds between San Ysidro Creek and Ennisbrook Drive. This roadside path is the least scenic stretch of the hike, but press on, there is more pleasant woodland just ahead.
Ennisbrook Trail bends to the left, leaving the road to cross a second stone bridge over San Ysidro Creek, just under half a mile from the start. The old stone bridge is a charming entry into more lush oak woods with a forest floor punctuated by ferns. Walk 0.15 miles from the bridge through the forest to reach the start of the loop at the top of Ennisbrook Trail, which is 0.6 miles long. You can proceed in either direction at this split.
Turning right, you will drop down to San Ysidro Creek. Rock hop across and continue up a dirt single track beneath a canopy of oaks. A quarter mile from the split in the trail, you will come to another junction. Turn left to keep with the circle. You will pass through an area that displays a massive amounts of nasturtiums in the spring. Nasturtiums are a flower native to South and Central America that seem to thrive in this corner of Montecito. The bright flowers come in a variety of colors and patterns in dazzling yellow, orange, and red.
The loop will then reach East Valley Road. Turn left, walking south down a trail along the road for 0.15 miles to a cul-de-sac. Venture back into the forest and proceed another 0.07 miles to close the loop. Continue hiking south, following the trail you came in on to hike 0.63 miles back to the start.
To trek farther up San Ysidro Creek, check out the hike to McMenemy Overlook. No fee or permit is required to hike Ennisbrook Trail in San Ysidro Creek Preserve (sometimes called San Ysidro Creekside Trail). Dogs and mountain bikes are allowed on this 1.85-mile lollipop loop, so get out enjoy!
To get to the trailhead: From the south (Ventura), take the 101 Freeway northwest to exit 92 for Sheffield Drive. At the end of the offramp, turn right and make an immediate right, following signs for Sheffield Drive. After a horseshoe bend to the left, Sheffield Drive will head north. Make the next left on San Leandro Lane and proceed 0.6 miles to the trailhead, which will be on the right. From the north (Santa Barbara), take the 101 Freeway southeast to exit 93 for San Ysidro Road. Turn left and the end of the offramp, cross over the 101 Freeway and turn right on Jameson Lane. Drive 0.3 miles and turn left on Hixon Road. After 0.2 miles continue straight on San Leonardo Lane. Go another tenth of a mile and turn right to stay on San Leandro Lane. Drive another 0.3 miles to the trailhead, which will be on the left. There is roadside parking outside the white picket fence next to the trail sign.
Trailhead address: San Leandro Lane, Montecito, CA 93108
Trailhead coordinates: 34.425482, -119.622238 (34° 25′ 31.73″N 119° 37′ 20.05″W)
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