UCSB Lagoon / Coal Point Oil Reserve
A unique day of hiking that took me through the University of California, Santa Barbara and then further up the coast to Coal Oil Point. I was treated to perfect weather, fun and nature.
Sky on Fire
I began the day at Goleta Beach Park, the same place I began my Obern Trail/More Mesa hike. This time I traveled upcoast in the opposite direction, west. The sunrises in this area at this time of year are jaw dropping.
The purples, pinks and blues of the early winter morning look almost unreal, like psychedelic art. Photo 4 – My first destination was in sight from the start, Campus Point, a.k.a.Goleta Point.
Santa Cruz Blue
The UCSB campus is a total fantasy, complete with unbelievable views and beach access. I didn’t go all the way down. There are numerous beach access points along the trail.
I backtracked from the dead end and circled around the buildings. I came to a lovely park-like area near the UCSB Marine Laboratory. There is a loop around the school’s lagoon. I stayed on the inland path first, and would finish the day on the ocean side.
The lagoon is full of interesting birds. This is a good destination if you’re a birdwatcher.
The lagoon loop continued past the dorm buildings. Things began to get a little less glamorous at this point. Although I was right next to the lagoon, the sights, noise and odors of a large community overwhelmed the area. Beep, Beep, Beeping trucks and the smell of cooking eggs and tacos permeated the air. I came across the biggest dandelion I have ever seen and a pier made from plastic modules.
I made the turn and headed toward the ocean.
Looking back toward the campus and the 175-foot clock and bell tower, Storke Tower.
That is until I reached Del Playa , a busy road littered with tacky apartment buildings catering to students. What a mess! Photos 3 and 4 – Occasionally I came across a tiny, one lot park like this one. Somehow these little pieces of land have survived the greed of many a real estate developer.
There were also several beach access stairways. Clearly, there was no way anyone was going to walk up the sand with a tide this high.
I was again trekking next to apartment buildings but was now on the edge of the bluff. Big improvement. That’s Coal Oil Point straight ahead.
There are a few placards explaining the point’s history.
Stormy ocean views from Coal Oil Point.
I briefly had to return to a road. The continuation of Pond Trail is well marked. I reached the sand after looping for a couple of miles, I would guess. This lagoon is quite a bit larger than the one at UCSB.
I considered heading further up the beach but instead turned back here. For me on this day, this was the right call.
Closing in on Del Playa again, I rested on a bluffside bench and ate lunch. Photo 2 – Santa Cruz Island looking mysterious.
Love these flat rocks in front of the point.
This rock looks like a big doughnut.
Surfers getting radical.
Photo 1 – Looking down the coast now, is this Santa Barbara Point, or maybe Rincon? Photo 2 – Almost done with the loop, that’s the Marine Laboratory straight ahead. After passing through the campus once again I headed for Goleta Beach Park.
Views from the pier, panning east to west and then inland.
I complete another super day of hiking. Thank you, Santa Barbara.