Santa Barbara, located between the Pacific and Santa Ynez Mountains, is one of the top travelers’ and tourists’ destinations in the country. There’s lots to do and see in town but if you are a hiker there are also some wonderful opportunities just outside of town to put on your boots and hit the trails.
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Hiking to Gaviota Peak
Difficulty rating: Hard
The over 2400-foot hike to the top of the peak offers hikers with a chance to exercise their competency on outdoor events. The 6.5-mile hike is highly challenging for starters. However, with the option of guides and regular stop-overs, one can still manage. Gaviota peak is situated just a half-hour drive from Santa Barbara city center and about two miles from the shores of the ocean. There are numerous access roads to the peak, each of which offers a different level of difficulty and hiking time. Climbing to the Gaviota Peak is considered as touch as hiking the El Picacho mountains in nearby Los Cabos, Mexico.
Gaviota hot springs
Difficult rating: Moderate
Almost halfway to the Gaviota peak, it is every hiker’s dream to detour to a nearby natural hot spring where the hot water is just soothing to the exhausted and lactic acid-filled muscles. Although the water is laden with sulfur, it is considered fit and safe for swimming in. The pool is also not too deep for an average hiker. The hotspur would definitely get you highly energized for the rest of the journey to the peak. The springs offer a near-similar experience to the massage experience that one gets in Santa Barbara’s vacation rentals.
Cycling the Gibraltar road
Difficulty rating: Moderate for a professional but Difficult for a starter
Every outdoor enthusiast knows the value of a high energy charge through a road. It gives a break from the tiring hikes. Nowhere is more suited for such a bike charge than the Gibraltar road. The road is considered one of the best suitable routes in Southern California. Besides, one gets some exceptional prizes of breathtaking viewpoints along the way. The 9-mile biking route to the climax of the mountain gives the biker over 5000 feet of elevation from start to finish. To ease the challenge, the route has been divided into segments with their own summits where one can abort their expedition without feeling as having lost their chance.
Difficulty rating: Easy
It is impossible to mention Santa Barbara without recalling the Santa Ynez Mountains. The mountains themselves offer additional features of importance to a hiker. One of this is the Lizards Mouth, a bouldering cave about 20 feet wide. The boulder is just one of the numerous situated along the mile-long trailhead. Climbing the top of the boulder can reward one with an exceptional view of the bottom of the valley as well as the nearby city of Goleta.
The Nojoqui Falls
Difficulty rating: Easy
The Nojoqui falls are just part of the prizes that a hiker and an adventurous type can get when visiting and adventuring in Santa Barbara. The seasonal falls are mostly dry. It is advisable to visit them during such a season when the dry river beads offer ease of accessibility to the foot of the 80-feet tall waterfall. The falls are situated in a suitable location where access can be guaranteed through Gaviota tunnel along the 101 freeway. Accessing the falls is, however, a daunting challenge which is manageable even for starters. The route also gives access to scenic views of wooden bridges and stone steps. During spring when the waterfall is full, access is still cautiously possible and could offer an additional thriller to watch the waters fall gracefully below.