Carpinteria Bluffs Hike

I had such a great day.  On rare occasion everything just falls into place.  I had looked down at Carpinteria on previous hikes and it didn’t look that exciting, but I found there is a lot to see here.

1     2     3   I parked up the freeway a short ways off of Bailard Ave. in the parking lot for the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve.  There is a short network of trails for this preserve, but what I wanted to do was get down to the railroad tracks just below that.  I pecked my way through the shrubs on a little trail that branched off the main trail.  Photo 2 – All the oil platforms were lit up in the early morning.  Photo 3 – I found the railroad tracks and headed east down coast.  The trail is between railroad tracks and the edge of the bluffs.  Looks like homeless people camp along this stretch.  I came across a “camp” just off the trail.  This plastic frog was positioned so it could enjoy the ocean view.



Insane morning colors!


This hike has outstanding views of the some of the Channel Islands.  Here is Anacapa on zoom.

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Photo 1 – Looking up coast toward the private Chevron Pier.  The Carpinteria seal sanctuary is located just this side of the pier.  Photo 2 – I turned and faced the other direction, down coast, and looked toward Rincon Point, famous for it’s surfable waves.

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I arrived at Rincon Beach Park, located about 3/4 of a mile from the Nature Preserve.  Photo 2 shows a sculpture that stands in the park.  There are two parking lots that serve this park.  I came to the upper lot from the preserve, and would round the point to access the second lower lot.  I took the stairs down to the sand.

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Photo 1 – Santa Cruz Island  Photo 2 – Looking up coast again, this time from the lovely sandy beach.  It looks like one can travel up the sand almost all the way to the pier.

15     16     21   Coming up to Rincon Point.

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I round the Point.

19     20   Photo 1 – As I turned the corner I caught sight of the flame that burns near La Conchita.  It has something to do with burning off excess gas produced by the wells offshore.  Photo 2 – Also in view is Rincon Island, a man-made island which is also somehow used for gas and oil production.


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27       28      29   Photo 1 – .As I neared this wall, which encloses a bike path that runs right next to the 101 Freeway, I spotted the turn I would take to go to the lower parking lot.  Photo 3 – Unique surfboard shaped sign near the parking lot illuminates people about the “Surfer’s Code”.  Photo 4 – Cat photo glued to the parking lot restroom wall.  Photo 6 – Somebody misses his dad real bad.  Photo 7 – I noticed this rope which people use to descend the bluff.  Crazy!  I continued up coast and past the preserve.

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Turkey vulture perched atop a rocky pinnacle and a photo of another taken later in the day.

33     38   Just before the pier I came to the viewing spot for the seal sanctuary.


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37   Awesome!  Seals galore!  I planned this trip at this time of year in hopes that I would see a few.

39   As I said before, train tracks run right next to these trails.  On my way down to Rincon Point one passed me at full speed.  I guess I have never really been that close to a real, fast moving train before.  So powerful and dangerous.  Here are a couple of videos of the trains:

Amtrak Train Rolls Through Carpinteria

Another Amtrak Train in Carpinteria

40       41      42   There is an easement that runs past the pier through the property I assume belongs to Chevron.  Beyond is a beautiful natural area.

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Pretty sure this beauty is a blue heron.

45     46     80   My next stop was Tarpits Park which has wonderful bluff views.  Photo 2 – I noticed my hiking poles sticking in the ground a bit as I passed through.  This was from the natural tar which seeps up through the soil.

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After Tarpits Park I came to the campgrounds of Carpinteria State Park.  There isn’t much to see here other than a bunch of Rv’s and people.  My suggestion would be to walk up the beach on the sand as soon as you can get to it.  Photo 4 – There is an interesting playground near the entrance of the park. It has animals like seals, etc. for kids to play on, and pint-sized mock-ups of Chumash Indian dwellings.  Photo 6 – I reached Linden Ave. and made a left toward the beach.  A very short walk led me to Sandyland Road.  Another short walk down Sandyland led me to the entrance of Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park.

53     54   I entered the park an took and immediate left onto a boardwalk which led through the plants.  It’s very short and ends back at the street I had just left.

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I backtracked and followed the main trail.  The canals in the marsh have a strange beauty to them.  I crossed the bridge and explored more.

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Photo 1 – The bridge I hiked over a few minutes prior can be seen here in the distance.  Photo 2 – The trail eventually ends here in the center of a spiral.  Photo 4 – Nearer to the entrance of the park on a spur trail is this amphitheater-shaped sitting area.  I rested here and ate lunch.

66     67   I returned to Sandyland Road and then to Linden Ave.  Instead of hiking back up Linden I simply crossed the street to gain access to the beach.

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72   But first a quick trip on another boardwalk which took me through some sand dunes.  Photo 2 – The dunes aren’t really this tall, I was kneeling when I took this photo.

73   Now by the water on Carpinteria State Beach.

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Sea Bird Frenzy!  Photos 3 and 4 – I believe these birds are called terns.  Aren’t they funny looking, like balding old men who only have hair left on the back of their heads.



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At Tarpits Park, instead of hiking along the bluffs again, I proceeded through the eucalyptus grove.  It was nice and shady.


87   Paraglider a little ways down the coast.  There were several of them flying around today.

86     88   What a fantastic day!  Thank you, Carpinteria.


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