Tucked between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful destination than Santa Barbara. The area is home to roaring waterfalls, towering cliffs, and winding trails all just waiting to be explored. So what are you waiting for? Put on your hiking boots and get ready to venture into a world of excitement! Here are some of the best hikes in Santa Barbara.
After you check out some of the best hikes in Santa Barbara, be sure to request your complimentary Vacation Guide for a complete list of area attractions. The guide is full of information about places to eat, attractions to see, and things to do during your stay!
Where Are the Best Hikes in Santa Barbara?
With over 300 days of sunshine, it’s easy to plan an outdoor adventure in Santa Barbara. Here are some of our favorite hiking trails in the area:
1. 7 Falls Trail
When it comes to the best Santa Barbara hikes, 7 Falls Trail should be at the top of your list! To get to the trailhead, you’ll pass the historic Santa Barbara Mission and park on Tunnel Road. Parking is free but it is limited, so we recommend going early to beat the crowds. Once you arrive, follow the well-marked dirt pathway all the way to the creek. Then, you will need to scale some rocks and wade upstream to get to the falls. Several gorgeous waterfalls and deep natural swimming pools await you at the end. The trail is approximately 3 miles round-trip.
2. Santa Barbara Inspiration Point
Not far from 7 Falls Trail, Inspiration Point is the perfect place to watch the sunset. The 8-mile round-trip hike begins on San Roque Road, crosses over Mission Creek, and leads into to Jesusita Trail. Along the way, you can enjoy spectacular views of the ocean and the Channel Islands. If you prefer to take the shorter route to Inspiration Point, you can hike 3.5-miles round-trip via the Tunnel Trail. Once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views stretching as far as the eye can see.
3. Montecito Peak Hike
If you are looking for more of a challenge, get your heart racing with a hike at Montecito Peak. You’ll start your trek on Cold Creek Trail, which winds past several swimming holes and Eucalyptus trees. While the hike may not seem very difficult at first, it gets gradually steeper with each mile. The very end of the trail is extremely rocky and has a steep incline, but the views from the top are well worth the climb. The overlook offers uninterrupted vistas of the coastline in one direction and mountain ranges in the other.
4. San Ysidro Trail
You don’t have to go on a difficult hike to see the incredible views! The San Ysidro Trail is one of the most beautiful hikes in Santa Barbara with a waterfall. In fact, you’ll see several small waterfalls and pools as you stroll along the wooded pathway. The overhead canopy of trees provides a peaceful setting and ample shade to keep you cool during the hot summer months. Once you’ve walked approximately 2 miles, you’ll discover a large, picture-perfect waterfall. Keep in mind that the waterfall will be much more impressive after a heavy rain than in the dry season. The trailhead is located at the end of Mountain Drive and is also a great destination for mountain biking.
5. Arlington Peak in Santa Barbara
Not for the faint of heart, Arlington Peak is a popular destination for the most passionate of trail runners. It’s pyramidal shape makes it stand out amongst the surrounding ranges, and visitors can enjoy a rewarding hike every time. The trailhead begins at the same trail that leads to Inspiration Point, but it veers off to the right once you cross over Mission Creek. You can expect to traverse through the brush, past jagged boulders, and over rocky outcrops. The total distance is 6 miles and takes approximately 2-4 hours to complete.
Book Your Stay at Cheshire Cat Inn
After you check out some of the best hikes in Santa Barbara, come kick back and relax at Cheshire Cat Inn. Located in the heart of Santa Barbara, our bed and breakfast is just minutes from the best attractions. Each of our rooms and cottages features modern amenities and are designed with comfort in mind. No matter which of our accommodations you choose, we guarantee that you will have an incredible time!
During your stay, you can start off each morning with a delicious homemade breakfast to send you on your way. Then, come join us for complimentary wine and hors-d’oeuvres each afternoon. Check our availability and book your stay today. We can’t wait to hear all about your Santa Barbara hiking adventures!