Rattlesnake Canyon – La Cumbre Peak

Back in the Santa Barbara area again this week.  Rattlesnake Canyon Trail is a fun creek-side trail with pools and little waterfalls.  I climbed up to the Tunnel Trail and then on to La Cumbre Peak, which I was told is the highest in the Santa Barbara Front Country.  A rewarding day.

1   Santa Barbara Mission – about a mile and a half from the trailhead.

2     3     4   I parked near this bridge. Rattlesnake Canyon Trail begins at the bottom.

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The terrain on this week’s hike is similar to last week – mostly rocky.

7     8     9   Photo 1 – My hiking guide says these trees were planted in 1966 by the Sierra Club to replace those lost in a 1964 fire.  Photo 2 – There has been fire in this area recently.  I think the blackened bark on these trees was caused by the Tea Fire of 2008.  Photo 3 – A mysterious structure at the top of a hill.


Close-up on the mysterious structure

11     12     13   Heading up the canyon

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16   Lots of pools and little falls, and shown in photo 3, a rock grotto that you can hop over to and crouch inside.

17     18   I climbed out of the canyon to lovely Tin Cabin Meadow.

21     19   I started up the Rattlesnake Canyon – Tunnel Trail Connector.

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Photos 1 and 2 – The pier and oil platforms again, a little closer this week.  Photo 3 – I believe that’s East Camino Cielo winding it’s way along the cliff across the way.  Photo 4 – I reach the end of the Connector Trail and catch my first glimpse of La Cumbre Peak a little over three miles away- it’s there in the middle with several trees visible on top.


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Massive walls of rock and views along the way.

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I reach Mission Falls, a large waterfall that is almost dry on this day.


33     34   Surprise – ice and snow on the trail as I gained elevation.

37     35     36   I reach East Camino Cielo.  Photo 2 shows the mountains on the other side, in Santa Ynez, I believe.  I noticed paragliders and hang gliders in the direction of La Cumbre and headed up the paved road.

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A lot of this section of East Camino Cielo is in the shade – the snow and ice reappeared.

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I turned the corner into the shining sun.  The top of the peak has a park like setting.  There are a few of picnic tables and a very short road/trail to the top.

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Views from La Cumbre Peak.  Photo 4 shows Cathedral Peak and possibly Arlington Peak, not quire sure yet.

46     47     48   A hang glider takes off just a few yards away.

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56     55     58   Heading back now, I noticed a body of water on the Santa Ynez side.


Tunnel Trail – the top of it anyway.

60   Last look at La Cumbre Peak

61   My day ends.  Great way to kick off the new year.

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