Montecito Peak

I had an extra day off so I went a little out of the way – a hike in Montecito.  As I hike in this area again I am sure I will learn the landmarks.  For now I will only guess, but the views from above possibly include Point Mugu, the city of Santa Barbara and UCSB.

1     2   I parked by the side of the road next to the trailhead.  There are three trailheads here.  I took the middle one with the wooden sign, as had been suggested in an online review.


Hiking about 20 feet above a stream.

5     4   The setting reminded me of Los Liones Trail in Pacific Palisades.  Both have invasive Cape Ivy.

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After a quarter of a mile I came to a bench.  Just before the bench is the turn-off for West Fork Cold Spring Trail.  I continued on the East Fork Cold Spring Trail.

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There are two stream crossings.


15   After a mile and a half I was spit out on a Fire Road next to power lines.


17   Four Dots in the Sea – oil platforms

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19   Views of Santa Barbara below, barely visible Anacapa Island and Santa Cruz Island

22     21     23   The Fire Road continues down the hill.  I went  left and up the hill.  Photo 2 – People use these two Eucalyptus trees as a landmark.  The trail passes right by them at about the half way point.

25     24     26   A fire had burned plants along the trail.  Must have been recent.  I could still detect a smokey smell.  The trail gets a bit crumbly in this burned area.  But, as photo 3 shows, life returns.

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31   Photos 1 and 2 – Looking down the coast, Point Mugu in the distance.  Photo 3 – Up coast

32     29     30   Photo 1 – Manzinitas in bloom, attracting buzzing bees.  Photo 3 – As I climbed the trail became a bit sandy.

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34   The two Eucalyptus trees – the trail slips right between them.  I love the roots of the tree on the left, trying desperately to cling to the rocky soil.  The terrain is tough in a lot of areas.  I started off in a creek setting then moved up to loose rock and some really bumpy terrain.  Finally I ascended to comfortably smooth dark brown dirt.  My turn around point is way up there.


Montecito Peak is not the highest peak in the area.  I missed the turn-off on the way up.  Here is a look back at the peak as I continued up the trail, which runs another mile and a half to a parking area at East Camino Cielo Road.

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42   I make it to the parking area at the end of the trail.  A platform stands on top of a hill.  The ladder looked sturdy enough so I climbed on top.


On top of the platform with Montecito Peak directly in front.


Panorama from the platform

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According to my GPS the elevation on top of the platform is 3,410 feet, a gain in elevation for the hike of 2,617.  Photo 2 – Mountains on the other side can be seen once the top is reached.

47     48   I head back down.

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A good view of the beast in front of me.  I could make out a faint trail running up the middle to the top of the peak.  I had second thoughts because it looked so steep, but you can’t rightly call a hike “Montecito Peak” if you aren’t going to hike to the top of Montecito Peak.  Photo 2 – The last 500 feet from the summit.   I find I have a difficult time capturing the steepness of hills in my pictures.  This is the kind of steep incline where I just like to keep focused and moving forward and try not worry too much about how I’m going to get back down.

54     52   At the top.  A box hidden in the rocks that contains a bunch of registers dating back years.

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56   Views from Montecito Peak

57   I hiked back down to the main trail to the junction I missed on my way up.  Here’s what it looks like.

58     59     60   Photo 2 – Looking back at Montecito Peak.


I had one last stop before heading back down through the canyon – Montecito Overlook, which is right near the junction with the Fire Road.  Here is Santa Barbara Pier(?) on zoom from Montecito Overlook, Christmas Day 2012.

62   Back under the canopy and to my car.

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