Nojoqui Falls Parks is located just off Highway 101 north of the Gaviota Tunnel between Santa Barbara and Buellton. In addition to picnic tables and playing fields, the park offers a short hike to an eighty-foot waterfall. This two-thirds of a mile round trip trail ascends 175 feet up a shaded canyon to the enchanting Nojoqui Falls.
There are no junctions on the way to Nojoqui Falls. Just stick to the wide trail as it passes through an old forest of oaks and laurels. Halfway up, the trail enters the canyon below the falls, crossing a wooden bridge and climbing stone steps on the left bank of the creek. The trail crisscrosses the canyon and arrives at a stone viewing platform at the base of the falls. Overhead, Nojoqui Falls cascades down an 80-foot wall of fern-lined sandstone. This year-round attraction peaks in early spring when the falls are fullest, but Nojoqui Falls remains picturesque in the autumn when the waterfall is reduced to a slender ribbon of water flowing down a lush green tapestry. After heavy rains, Nojoqui Falls expands from a trickle to a torrent, becoming a truly powerful sight.
Unfortunately, the Chumash word Nojoqui is pronounced na-hoo-ee and not no-joke-ee, which would have been more humorous to their English speaking successors. Regardless of the name, the waterfall is a beautiful sight, certainly worthy of the short hike (no joking). After enjoying the falls, simply return the way you came. The entire hike takes about 20 minutes. While this is not enough time to work up a sweat, visiting the falls is a nice activity for anyone driving on the 101 and looking for a quick break. Those spending more time in Nojoqui Falls Park can make use of the picnic tables, BBQ pits, and ball fields. The park is free to the public and dogs are welcome on leash.
To get to the trailhead: From Santa Barbara, take Highway 101 north. Drive 5.4 miles past the Gaviota Rest Area and turn right on La Lata Place, following signs for Nojoqui Park. Take La Lata Place for one mile and make the first left on Alisal Road. After 0.8 miles, turn right into Nojoqui Falls Park. Follow the road through the park to the left and toward the mountains. Restrooms are located in front of the cul-de-sac at the trailhead. The park is free to the public and dogs are welcome on leash.
To get to Nojoqui Falls Park from the north, from the city of Buellton, take Highway 101 south for 4.7 miles and turn left following signs for Nojoqui Park onto La Lata Place. Make the first left on to Alisal Road and proceed to the park as described above.
Trailhead address: 3200 South Alisal Road, Nojoqui Falls Park, Gaviota, CA 93117
Trailhead coordinates: 34.530632, -120.176306 (34° 31′ 50.27″N 120° 10′ 34.70″W)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding Central Coast trails and campgrounds.
|Gaviota Pass Overlook Loop |
This 6.5-mile loop tours scenic ridges in Gaviota State Park to arrive at a soaring overlook above the Gaviota Tunnel.
|Gaviota Hot Springs |
This short hike visits a warm hot springs along the trail to Gaviota Peak in Gaviota State Park.
|Gaviota Peak |
This 6.5-mile 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.
|Tunnel View and Trespass Trails Loop |
This 2.6-mile loop steals a view over Highway 101 and the Gaviota Tunnel.
|Gaviota Wind Caves |
This 2.5-mile hike just off Highway 101 visits wind-carved caves in Gaviota State Park with great ocean views.
|Tequepis Trail |
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|More Central Coast Hikes |
Explore other destinations along the California coast between Ventura and Monterey, including trails in Los Padres National Forest.
|Rose Valley Falls in the Los Padres National Forest |
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|Salmon Creek Falls |
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|McWay Falls |
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|Fish Canyon Falls in the San Gabriel Mountains |
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|Escondido Falls in the Santa Monica Mountains |
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|Lower Yosemite Fall in Yosemite National Park |
This 1.2-mile hike delivers visitors to the base of the tallest waterfall in North America. The experience is not to be missed.