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With scenic views in every direction you look and a variety of hiking trail ranging in difficulty, Santa Barbara is sure to have the perfect hike for you and your loved ones. Some of our favorite hikes range from easy, flat paved trails winding through lush gardens while others climb through rocky heights over the Pacific Ocean. Here are some popular Santa Barbara hikes to experience during your vacation:
Bring your swimsuits on this one, as you end your hike with a refreshing dip at the trail’s end. Seven Falls is an intermediate level 2.5 mile round trip hike. Begin the journey on a paved road following up to the turnoff to Inspiration Pt. Take a right and follow the creek up to Seven Falls. Three pools welcome you to the peak of your journey. Go for a dip, relax, and snap some photos before heading back into town.
Bring the kids on this one – the Nojoqui Falls Park hike is a mere .65 miles roundtrip. The park is located just beyond the Gaviota Tunnel on the 101 freeway. The uphill path follows a lush canyon of oaks and laurels. With a wooden bridge and stone steps the trail is easy to follow, and hikers who venture to the end are rewarded by a breathtaking 80-foot waterfall. This is a sight to see, especially in the Spring!
The Botanic Gardens are also a great area to explore with the kids and family. This 78-acre preserve is home to more than 1,000 native California plant species. Walk with a guide or explore the grounds on your own – there are 5+ miles of paths offering scenic views. Be sure to stop by the authentic Japanese Teahouse and Garden.
A more experienced hike averaging about 9 miles is the Tunnel Trail. This popular hike is well known for gorgeous city views, rock formations, and waterfalls. A paved road begins at Tunnel Road and winds around the mountain offering sweeping views of the city. After a rainfall, you may be lucky enough to catch a view of the waterfall. If it is a dryer season, the waterfall rock formation makes a great spot for a lunch break. Continuing uphill you will reach La Cumbre Peak – clad with an old fire tower, picnic area, and an outhouse. This peak also has mesmerizing views of the rugged backside of the Santa Ynez range.