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Santa Barbara, CA: Cold Springs to Tangerine Falls

ca

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 1.2 miles


Look for banana slugs, newts, and canyon tree frogs on this 2.5-mile hike to Tangerine Falls, the largest cascade in the Santa Barbara frontcountry.
  • West Fork
  • Banana slug
  • Ladybug Cluster
  • Tangerine Falls

The 2.4-mile out-and-back from the West Fork of Colds Springs Creek to Tangerine Falls packs days worth of scenery into just a few hours and offers after-work hikers and trail runners a short but intense climb (1,000 feet of elevation gain in less than a mile and a half).

Follow the creek upstream through a canyon full of oaks and sycamores. Keep your eyes peeled for amphibians hiding along the trail. As you rock-hop over the creek, also watch for garter snakes and ladybugs in its shallow pools.

As you hike north, the canyon masks the 250-foot-high Tangerine Falls almost until you are standing right beneath it. Climb up either side of the falls for a spectacular vista of Santa Cruz Island. From there, retrace your route back to the trailhead.

-Mapped by Chuck Graham

TO TRAILHEAD: Head northwest on East Mountain Drive. In 0.4 mile, turn left on Cold Springs Road. Stay left on Cold Springs after a half mile. In 0.6 mile, turn right onto CA-192/Sycamore Canyon Road. Bear left to stay on CA-192. Turn left onto CA-144/Sycamore Canyon Road. Continue for 1.1 miles, then take the first exit onto Alameda Padre Sierra. Turn left onto East Cota Street and continue for a half mile. Turn right onto North Milpas Street. North Milpas turns left and becomes East Anapamu Street. Continue straight to the trailhead.

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