Toro Canyon

Hiking this week in the Summerland/Montecito area.  I made three different stops, all unique in there own right.  This was a good day.

1     2   My first stop was Toro Ridge Trail, a 1.5 mile round trip.  Look for the sign in photo 1 at a high point on Toro Canyon Park Road.  There’s a couple of parking spots by the side.  If you reach Toro Canyon Park and a dead end/private road then you’ve gone 0.3 miles too far.  The first half of the hike is a climb to the ridge.

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The views open up almost immediately.

5     6     7   After passing next to a house that sits atop the ridge, I came to a clear spot and a solidly built stone bench.

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View from the bench

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11   Photo 1 – Close-up on Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park  Photo 2 – Close-up on the polo fields in Montecitio  Photo 3 – On my way down to my car, looking north.

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16   I drove down to Toro Canyon Park and followed the road until I saw the trail sign.  The park has a one mile loop.  I explored the nice sandstone formation near the beginning of the trail.  Photo 5 – Sam y Esme = Criminals.  If you know them, shun them.

17   From the top of the sandstone rocks, I spotted the park’s gazebo at the top of the hill.

18   Ruts in the trail on the way to the gazebo

19     20     21   The Toro Canyon Park gazebo.

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Photo 1 – Here is the ridge I traveled before coming down to the park.  I started across the the road from that bald area on the right.  The house, I believe, is marked by the palm trees in the center of the photo.  And the bench, I think, is nestled in that low point on the left side.  Photo 2 – Cloudy view to the north.  Photo 4 – View down the coast.

26   The Struggle

27     28   I drove down a few miles and parked at Greenwell Nature Preserve.  There is a nature trail and a couple of old buildings.  Greenwell Preserve is the mid-point of the next two trails which run in opposite directions.

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I walked up the road.  Reservoir Trail, which I would take later in the day, breaks to the left.  Polo Club Trail/Toro Creek Canyon Trail breaks to the right.  The trail sign is slightly hidden.  These trails are kind of unique as they skirt the property lines of several horse ranches.  It’s not that bad as there is usually some space between the trail and the houses.  Photos 3 and 4 – I came to a road, the end of it, and crossed over following the trail sign.  The trail took me right next to a grove of citrus trees.

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36   I walked between walls of colorful flowers.

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Polo Club Trail ends at Lambert Road.  I took a left and went searching for the beginning of Toro Canyon Creek Trail.  I came to a dead end at a gated driveway.  I went to the right and again found a dead end.  Looking at all the trampled plants it was clear I wasn’t the only one who had missed the turn-off.  Photo 3 – Plants From Space  Photo 4 – I backtracked and finally found the turn-off.  Again the trail marker was kind of hidden off to the right.  I was actually distracted by this mailbox with the name “Whitney” written on it and walked right on by.

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Awesome pigs by the trail.

43     44   Photo 1 – Another turn-off with a hidden trail sign.

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48   I walked up on the polo fields I had seen from Toro Ridge Trail early in the day.

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52   I crossed over a dry creek.  The trail ends at Via Real, the frontage road I drove on that morning after exiting the 101 Freeway.

54   I backtracked to Greenwell Nature Preserve and headed in the opposite direction this time.

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The trail splits.  I went to the right on Reservoir Trail.

56     57     58   The trail climbs out of the canyon, sometimes on tight switchbacks.  At the top of the trail is a paved road, Hunt Drive. The reservoir for which the trail is named can be seen on the left.

59     60     61   For some reason, maybe because I was so attracted to the landscaping, I took a wrong turn and went right on Hunt Drive.

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I came to a dirt road an headed down what I now know is a beautiful private property.  I was soon run off by two big dogs.

VIDEO: As I walked back, now headed on the correct direction, I had to stop and take in this peaceful scene. Total quiet except for the gentle sound of wind chimes coming from a house on the hill.

66     67     68   I walked down Hunt Drive, past the reservoir, and came to what my guidebook calls Edison Trail.  I started down the hill but was greeted by several, no trespassing signs and even a Beware of the Dog sign.  I noticed some horses down below.  I could have continued but didn’t want to have to climb back up this steep road if I did have to turn around at the bottom.  I turned back and took Reservoir Trail down to my car.

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Beautiful day

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