Fremont Ridge Trail
This was an exciting day, challenging due to the wet and muddy conditions. I hiked to East Camino Cielo, like I have done on past Santa Barbara area hikes, but this time I came up from the other side of the mountain. This trail doesn’t seem to be very well known, maybe because of the overgrown section in the middle, but it’s a great trail with great views at the top.
I planned to park at Fremont Campground but the gate was locked so I parked on the street. The trail begins right off the road just beyond the campground. There were muddy conditions right from the start. I followed the trail that parallels the road for about half a mile. I passed some houses and then made a sharp turn uphill. There are no trail markers but you’ll know you’re on the right path when you pass these water tanks.
There were beautiful mountain views as I climbed.
After the first climb the trail became rather overgrown. It can appear faint, often covered with leaves. I asked myself several times if I had lost my way. This section reminded me of the close-by and also overgrown Davy Brown Trail. Look out for poison oak, it’s everywhere.
This rough section of trail usually runs right next to the stream, which was mostly dry on this day.
I came to a haunting meadow scene with white grass and moss covered trees. From here I followed tire tracks away from the heavily forested area from which I had just come.
I passed through private property. There is a yurt right beside the trail. I was momentarily held up as part of a tree had fallen right across the road and there was no easy way to get around. I pushed my way through on the left.
I put my foot down and muddy goo squirted out of the ground and on to my boot. You can also see I’m wearing my MicroSpikes, which made a world of difference. Very little sliding around even in these slippery conditions. I reached a power line and thought I must be right near the end of the trail. In reality I was only about half way there. As I came to a second power line the road made a sharp turn to the left and continued in that direction, up and down the ridgeline.
The weather got worse – rainy with limited visibility. I passed some sandstone formations to the left side of the trail. I made my final ascent. I could make out a row of trees above the trail and correctly assumed that they’re growing by the side of East Camino Cielo.
I reached East Camino Cielo. Having hiked to this road before I knew there was a great view of Santa Barbara below, but not on this day. Totally socked in.
I found another footpath that lead to the left of this moss covered tree and up and over the first boulders to a flat area on top.
Crack in the Sky
Cold Springs Canyon Arch Bridge on the left, Lake Cachuma on the right.
Close-ups of the bridge and lake
I believe the pointy looking peak right in the middle of photo 1 is Zaca Peak. I was hiking directly across from it on my Davy Brown hike.
I continued down the road headed to my car. At the top power line where the road makes a sharp left (as I came up), there is another road that heads to the right. I followed it hoping it would give me the closest (maybe best) view of the bridge.
Photo 1 – Just about all the way back down now, I look back up and see the power lines I passed at the top. Look close. Photo 2 – When I looked down from the ridge I noticed a road that exits San Marcos Pass just after crossing the bridge. I figured this road would have a great view so I stopped on my way home to take this photo.