Spring has sprung in the Santa Ynez Valley and it’s time to come out of your winter hibernation and enjoy the outdoors. Our Valley is full of day hike options that feature all kinds of terrain from easy to difficult. Here’s a roundup of some of the local day hikes:
This CA State Park trail is on the southbound side of the 101 past the Vista School. The trail loops past a sycamore grove, creek, and up the mountain. If you keep going, you’ll end up with views of Gaviota Beach and can even loop into the Gaviota Wind Caves trail.
Gaviota State Park is 2,775 acres of oak dotted trails, a natural hot springs, and views of the Pacific.This popular hike is busy on the weekends and takes around three hours. You’ll climb the mountain via a main fire road which is wide and accommodating for groups. The peak features a round Gaviota elevation marker and 360-degree views.
Gaviota Wind Caves
This hike has some steep sections, but it’s worth the assent to see the multiple caves that have been wind-sculpted. As you hike up, you’ll be able to spot the wind caves above you. They are large open-faced recesses in the rock. And once you make it there, the caves provide a nice shady respite from the sun with views of Gaviota State Beach.
When the orange poppies are blooming be ready for a crowd on this trail. The California state flower is a big draw, as it takes over a large swath of the mountain. This difficult hike can be taxing so be sure to bring lots of water. At the end you’ll be rewarded with wide open Valley views.
This easy hike is beloved by locals for its ease of access. The youngest and oldest members of your group will be able to tackle this short hike up to the waterfall. Recent mudslides have made getting close the waterfall unsafe, so it’s best to view it from afar.
Tequepis Trail is an 8-mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Cachuma Lake. It features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
Red Rock Trail
The Red Rock Trail is an enjoyable 3-4 hour hike and provides you with some of the best swimming holes on the SY river. You can head in either direction on this loop. At the midpoint along the way you'll find Gibraltar Dam. Near the top of it is a picnic area and a large board with interpretive information regarding the dam.
If you would like exact locations for each day hike please Google each trail name for directions/maps. Certain locations require a day-use fee, so bring cash if you don’t have the annual pass.
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