Santa Barbara on Foot: Hikes for Every Skill Level

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Ah, Santa Barbara! A hiker’s dream destination. Whether you’re in the mood for a tranquil seaside stroll, an engaging ridge hike, or a sweat-inducing ascent, Santa Barbara delivers. Let’s dive in!


Easy Hikes


Perfect for beginners, families, and those looking to relax in nature.

1. Douglas Family Preserve

  • Distance: 2 miles loop

  • Enjoy coastal views and the sound of waves crashing. It’s dog-friendly, too!

2. Ellwood Mesa Trail

  • Distance: 3 miles round trip

  • This flat trail provides vistas of the Pacific and a chance to see Monarch butterflies.

3. Andree Clark Bird Refuge

  • Distance: 1 mile loop

  • An educational and serene loop around a bird sanctuary.

4. Lake Los Carneros

  • Distance: 2 miles round trip

  • A peaceful hike around a picturesque lake, perfect for birdwatching.

Intermediate Hikes

For those who want a bit of a challenge, but not too strenuous.

1. Inspiration Point

  • Distance: 3.5 miles round trip

  • This trail offers splendid views of the ocean, city, and Channel Islands.

2. Rattlesnake Canyon Trail

  • Distance: 4.5 miles round trip

  • Navigate shaded creeks and open ridges, with an abundance of wildlife.

*Note: This trail lives up to it’s name. Make sure you stay on the trails when hiking this trail. 

Difficult Hikes


For the seasoned hiker looking for a robust adventure.

1. Cold Spring Trail

  • Distance: 5 miles round trip

  • Test your endurance with steep ascents, rewarded with striking vistas.

2. Gaviota Peak Trail

  • Distance: 6.5 miles round trip

  • Tackle rocky paths and steep inclines for awe-inspiring ocean views. Don’t forget to relax in the Gaviota Hot Springs afterward!

From its gentle coastal paths to its exhilarating mountain trails, Santa Barbara’s diverse hiking landscape truly offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a casual walker or a seasoned trailblazer, the natural beauty of this Californian gem is bound to captivate your heart. So, lace up those hiking boots, and let Santa Barbara’s trails lead you on an unforgettable journey of discovery. Happy hiking!

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