Local Hikes: Santa Barbara/Ventura

The best local hikes near Santa Barbara/Ventura.

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Your Guide

Los Padres Sierra Club (lospadres.sierraclub.org)

Your Hikes

» Cathedral Peak, Los Padres National Forest Climb a 3,333-foot sandstone spire just four miles north of Santa Barbara. From Mission Canyon, hike northeast past chaparral and crest the Dragon’s Back, a steep ridgeline punctuated with gargantuan boulders. At the top, follow a use trail along the summit ridge to a short scramble ending with bird’s-eye views of neighboring Santa Ynez peaks and the Channel Islands. Miles from city center 4.5/34; Trip ID748134

» Rincon Beach Park to Carpinteria State Beach Fifteen minutes from Santa Barbara, this six-mile out-and-back traces the coastline on sandy beaches and a cliffside trail. “I’ve seen everything from dolphins playing to sea lions lounging on the rocks offshore,” says outings leader Suzanne Tanaka. Grab lunch in Carpinteria, the turnaround point, before heading back. Miles from city center 14/16; Trip ID678892

» Topatopa Bluff, Los Padres NF A makeshift stone bench marks the highpoint of this 14-mile (round-trip) route. Follow the fire road north up Sisar Canyon to a steep, .6-mile path, gaining 900 feet, that tops out on the 6,367-foot summit. Take in views from the rock perch of coastline and the surrounding Sespe Wilderness before starting the return descent. Miles from city center 42/25; Trip ID768514

» Sandstone Peak, Santa Monica Mountains NRA In addition to cresting the highest peak in the Santa Monicas, this six-mile circuit swings past prolific wildflower displays. “Coreopsis, shooting star, and Indian paintbrush cover the hillsides,” says Tanaka. From Circle X Ranch, follow the Mishe Mokwa Trail north past balanced rocks and sheer cliffs to Sandstone Peak’s 3,111-foot summit. The return trip drops 1,000 feet in 1.4 miles. Miles from city center 61/33; Trip ID8573