With such an abundance of mountain trails, beach bluffs, and windy backroads, it’s hard to narrow down the best hikes in Santa Barbara. Luckily, no matter where you go for your next outdoor workout in SB, you can expect great weather, beautiful views and friendly locals on all your paths. With that in mind, here’s our guide to the best treks in town:
Starting off our list of the best hikes in SB are the Carpinteria Bluffs. Extremely easy to access and well-suited for beginners and families, this trail is appealing for the perfect combination of approachable and enjoyable. Winding right along the ocean and offering an exciting view of the seal sanctuary, this is the perfect place to both get a little exercise and bring the kids!
7 Falls is one of Santa Barbara’s most popular and well-known hikes, and for good reason. Short but somewhat difficult, it’s popularity comes from the opportunity to go for a swim in the creek and natural pools. Because of both of these factors, we highly recommend getting to the trailhead early to find parking and bringing a bathing suit!
Inspiration Point is the very popular and aptly named spot at the top of Jesusita trail with one of the best views of Santa Barbara around. At 1,800 feet above the city, this hike is a must for any first time visitors looking for a little adventure. Whether you chose to take the longer hike up San Roque Road or opt for the shorter version from Tunnel Trail, you’ll be happy you came.
In our opinion, the Romero Canyon trail is the most quintessentially Santa Barbara hike in town. While following a shady creek-bed for the first couple of miles, you’ll take in the sights and smells of the backcountry in a way you just don’t get Downtown. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of Montecito and the Pacific Ocean. There are usually lots of people and mountain bikers up here, so it’s a great social hike to catch up with friends or new acquaintances!
The Gaviota Peak trail, located about 30 minutes north of Downtown Santa Barbara, has a bit more of a rugged beauty than some of the hikes further south. With a steep incline and just a mile from shore, the path is difficult but rewarding. You’ll find pristine terrain and gorgeous ocean views at the top, and as an added bonus there’s even a hot spring located along the way if you feel like taking a break!