Santa Barbara hiking trails offer outdoor lovers plenty of options for terrain and scenery. The Santa Ynez Mountain range is one of only two in the world that runs east to west, eventually spilling into the ocean on the breathtaking Gaviota Coast. So throw the necessities in your backpack and hit the trail because the view is about to get incredible.

Santa Barbara Hiking Trails

Choose from several trails that wind along flowing creeks shaded by California bay, sycamore and oak tree forests before you eventually peak out above the canopy where chaparral-choked mountainsides sweep across the entire range. Catch sight of Santa Barbara’s red tile roofs, white sand beaches, and the Pacific beyond it with breathtaking, panoramic views.

You’ll find plenty of amazing vistas from the top of Inspiration Point, whose trailhead is located a short distance north of the Santa Barbara Bowl. For beautiful views of an 80-foot tall waterfall, check out the short but rewarding hike at Nojoqui Falls. Or, to pair some fresh air with an appreciation of local flora, head to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, where the Porter Trail will provide expansive views of the area.

Hiking in the Santa Ynez Mountains

Those who reach the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains are rewarded with more stunning views to the east and northeast showing off Santa Barbara’s backcountry and the vast Los Padres National Forest.

Some of the trails that lead to the spine of the range include Tunnel, Cold Springs, San Ysidro and Romero Canyon. This rugged wilderness is fortified in sandstone and inviting trails that lead all the way to New Cuyama. The backcountry is a backpacker’s dream where lonely trails lead to remote campsites, solitude and discovery, a piece of Santa Barbara experienced by just a few.

Channel Islands Hiking

And don’t forget the Channel Islands National Park as a premier hiking destination. The five islands; Santa Barbara, Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel, all have unbelievable trails leading to amazing wildlife, rare forests, and jaw-dropping scenery.  It’s only a short boat ride away to a part of California that is as captivating today as it was 200 years ago.

Hiking in Santa Barbara

Captain Jack’s Santa Barbara Tours

Captain Jack's began in 2005 after the founders spent a week in Hawaii engaging in fun-filled adventure tours. Captain Jack's is now owned and operated by longtime educator and local historical geek Meredith Brace. Captain Jack's offers wine tours,…

Channel Islands Expeditions

The Channel Islands are one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet, and Channel Islands Expeditions has you covered above the water, below the water, and beyond your expectations. Offering Sea cave kayaking trips into the largest…

Santa Barbara Adventure Company

See a part of Santa Barbara few visitors ever get to experience with the best outfitter in town. Our guides create thousands of unforgettable travel adventures each year – come join us!   CHANNEL ISLANDS TOURS Sea Cave…


Let's see. How a spa treatment feels after a glorious ride past idyllic beaches and citrus groves. How exquisite our evening meal tastes after a brisk climb up the California coast. Let's enjoy the best of biking with the best of everything. The…

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Explore California’s unique natural landscape at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, a 78-acre living museum designed entirely with California-native plants. Five miles of easy walking trails crisscross the wild-crafted gardens, so you can…

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