_Trailheads for Santa Barbara Trails

Running East to West from Montecito and Santa Barbara

(A map of the SB trail system is available here.)

Romero
Take the Sheffield Dr exit from 101 (turn right onto Sheffield)
Follow Sheffield to 192, turn left
Almost immediately turn right onto Romero Canyon Rd.
After about a mile, there’s a fork and Romero Canyon veers left, continue to follow it
When it dead ends into Bella Vista Rd, turn right
After ¼mile or so the road fords a stream (often dry)
The trailhead is immediately to the left of the stream.
(there is parking all along Romero Canyon Rd).

This is the start of what is now a fire road, but which used to be a paved continuation of Romero Canyon Rd. It goes up all the way to Camino Ciello. If you proceed up the fire road then after crossing the bridge there is a junction, the fire road on the left goes out toward Buena Vista trail, the other is Romero. Then there is another stream crossing and Romero trail takes off to the left, just after the that. A ¼mile up the trail is a badly maintained trail on the left which goes back up to the Buena Vista bound fire road. Romero Rd and trail cross each other one more time. The trail gets up to the mountain crest, and then heads down into the back country and meets blue canyon trail.
Buena Vista
Take the San Ysidro exit from 101, turn north to the mountains
Follow San Ysidro up to 192 (East Valley Rd.), turn right
The sixth side street on the left will be Park Lane, turn left
After a ¼mile or so, the road forks, turn right (continue on Park Lane)
After another ¼mile or so, the trailhead is near the mailbox for 915 Park Lane

This trail goes up for about ¾miles and then branches.
The right fork goes up to a fire road which (eventually) heads back to Romero
The left fork goes up to a fire road which drops down to San Ysidro trail
Old Pueblo
Follow the previous directions, and just before the BV trailhead a small unnamed road takes off from the left of Park Lane. Beside the intersection is a trail sign. The trail proceeds up the road and then heads off to the left.
This is not my favorite trail, it feels like walking though someone’s driveway and backyard; all the flowers are from someone’s garden. It’s only ¾mile long and stops near the bottom of San Ysidro trail.
Basically its a way to get from the bottom of Buena Vista to the bottom of San Ysidro.
San Ysidro & McMenomy
Take the San Ysidro exit from 101, turn north to the mountains
Follow San Ysidro up to 192 (East Valley Rd.), turn right
The sixth side street on the left will be Park Lane, turn left
After a ¼mile or so, the road forks, turn left (onto Mountain Dr.)
Mountain Dr. dead ends into the back of the San Ysidro Ranch.
There is parking here, and the trail takes off on the left of the road.

The trail goes up beside the creek and then hits W. Park Lane, and runs beside it. When W. Park Lane dead ends the trail goes to the left and then hits a road again. About ⅓mile from the trailhead we finally lose the paved road, skip beside a metal gate and end up on a fire road.
At this point Old Pueblo Trail comes in from the right. It goes about ¾miles and comes out close to the Buena Vista trailhead.
At about a half mile lower McMenemy trail takes off to the left, crosses the river, and goes off towards Saddlerock, Girard and Hot Springs trails.Shortly after this there is a steep side road on the left leading up to some pylons, Buena Vista trail takes off from the top of this road.
Another quarter mile and the main trail takes off to the right of the road, this is San Ysidro trail and there are no more significant branches until you get to Camino Ciello. At Camino Ciello you can turn left and go about ¼mile and you will hit the top of Cold Spring trail.
The fireroad (on the left) continues to Hot Springs trail, and beyond that to Cold Springs trail.
Hot Spring
Take the Hot Springs Exit from 101, head toward the mountains
Continue on Hot Springs Rd until Mountain Dr, turn right.
The trail head, on the right, is just before Riven Rock Rd., on the left

Hot Springs trail is another route that feels like it is going through people’s back yards and driveways for a while.
It ends at a fireroad and Girard trail (which goes back to Saddlerock and McMenomy trails and eventually San Ysidro).
The fireroad branches shortly, the left fork goes up to Cold Springs trail
The right fork is the San Ysidro fire road.
Cold Spring
Take the Hot Springs Exit from 101, head toward the mountains
After ~½mile, turn left on Sycamore Canyon Rd.
After ~1mile, turn right on Cold Springs Rd.
When Cold Springs dead-ends into Mountain, turn right
At the bottom of the hill, the road fords a stream, the trailhead is on the left.

At the stream crossing there are actually three trailheads in close proximity.
One on the west side of the stream branches almost instantly,
one branch crosses the stream and joins the main trail
the other branch goes up the stream and eventually peters out. If you like bushwacking and don’t mind poison oak, this route will, eventually, lead to the west fork of cold springs (but there is an easier way to get there).
The east-most trail is relatively new and it goes up away from the creek and rejoins the main trail either at the fire road, or just below it (depending on which of its forks you take).
The middle trail is the main and the traditional trail.
After about ¼mile it branches,
The west fork crosses the creek and branches again in another ½mile

  • The right fork plummets downward for about three feet and then forks again after a few hundred yards
    • The right fork here goes for another mile or so to tangerine falls
    • the left fork goes up to an old homesteading site
  • The left fork (the main west fork of Cold Spring trail) continues up to the big switchback on Gibraltar road (the one with the “No Shooting” signs). If you go another mile or so up Gibraltar Rd., you will find Rattlesnake trail leading off on your left.

The east fork follows the east side of the creek for a while, and makes two stream crossings before it heads up to a fire road.
Turn left at the fire road,
and after a couple hundred yards the trail takes off again on the left side of the fire road
(The fire road itself goes down to Hot Springs trail)
About 2 miles from the trailhead are two Eucalyptus trees, standing all by themselves in the middle of the chaparral. There’s a bench there and a view. This is a common destination.
Another mile or so beyond that is a trail on the right which heads up to the top of Montecito Peak. This trail (often there are several which join together eventually) is usually badly maintained and may not be obvious.
Finally 4.6 miles from the trailhead is Camino Ciello.

  • Turn right San Ysidro trail is a ¼mile up the road
  • Go across the road (and a little left) and Cold Spring trail continues down to Forebush Camp in Blue Canyon.
Rattlesnake
Take the Mission Dr Exit from 101, head toward the Mission
When Mission dead ends turn left on Laguna
When Laguna dead ends at the Mission, turn right onto Los Olivos
Los Olivos slyly changes its name to Mission Canyon
When you get to the first stop sign, turn right onto 192 (Foothill)
At the next stop sign (by the fire station) turn right onto Mission Canyon
Proceed up Mission Canyon, do not take Tunnel Rd.
When you get to Las Canoas make a sharp right
Stay on Las Canoas for a couple of miles
After passing Saint Mary’s Seminary you go up a hill and then down to a cute stone bridge. This is the trailhead. There is parking both before and after the bridge.

Rattlesnake trail heads up to a fire road which eventually meets the stream again.
Just before this, there is a scruffy little trail on the left which follows the creek up the right side of the canyon, while the main trail goes up the left. They join up again at the second stream crossing.
Eventually the trail comes out into a meadow, and just beyond the meadow is a junction
The trail on the right is the main trail and goes up to Gibraltar Rd. (about a ¼mile below Gibraltar Rock), if you head down the road in a mile or so you will find the West Fork of Cold Spring trail.
The trail on the right is the rattlesnake connector and joins Tunnel trail.
Tunnel
Take the Mission Dr Exit from 101, head toward the Mission
When Mission dead ends turn left on Laguna
When Laguna dead ends at the Mission, turn right onto Los Olivos
Los Olivos slyly changes its name to Mission Canyon
When you get to the first stop sign, turn right onto 192 (Foothill)
At the next stop sign (by the fire station) turn right onto Mission Canyon
At the next intersection, veer left onto Tunnel Rd.
Follow Tunnel Rd until it dead-ends, then look for parking.
Jesusita
Take the Los Positas Exit from 101, head toward the Mountains
Los Positas slyly changes its name to San Roque when you get to State St.
Continue up San Roque. At Foothill (192) the road becomes small and winding.
Continue up until you reach the Cator Water Treatment plant
The trailhead is immediately beyond the water treatment plant (on the left of the road)
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