Top 3 Best Santa Barbara Hiking Trails

When you think of Santa Barbara, you probably think of the beach and sunshine. While there’s plenty of that to go around, there’s also a lot of great Santa Barbara hiking trails. Check out our top 3 trails to stretch your legs and enjoy the breathtaking views of Santa Barbara.

Nojoqui Falls Park

This hike is perfect for beginners or anyone who wants to focus on enjoyment rather than exertion. The hiking trail is more like a nature trail, and there are plenty of beautiful sights on the path. What really makes this trail special, though, is the natural 80-foot waterfall at the end. So make sure to visit Nojoqui Falls after a rainfall to see the falls in action.

Channel Islands

Just off the coast of Santa Barbara, the Channel Islands have many hiking trails for hikers of varying experience levels. Okay, so maybe this is more than one trail, but since they’re all part of the same island chain, we’re including this as our second spot. The Channel Islands are composed of:
  • Anacapa Island
    • Find about 2 miles of trail on east Anacapa that will lead you to overlooks, coastal views, and the last permanent lighthouse built on the west coast.
  • Santa Cruz Island
    • Choose hiking trails that are well maintained, relatively flat, and with lots of signage–or choose trails that are unmaintained, rugged paths through the mountains.
  • Santa Rosa Island
    • Santa Rosa Island also has both flat and mountainous hiking trails. The flatter trail leads to Water Canyon Beach and the rougher trail to Black Mountain.
  • San Miguel Island
    • Visit one of these locations to fill out a permit form to visit San Miguel Island. The island is only open when National Park Service personnel are on the island, but if you’re hiking on a day when the island is open, the trails are worth the difficulty of accessing them.
  • Santa Barbara Island
    • In order to access the trails on Santa Barbara Island, first you have to hike the steep trail from the landing cove over the cliffs. But once you reach the tops of these cliffs, you’ll find over five miles of hiking trails with beautiful overlooks and views of the ocean.

Inspiration Point

Just from the name, you can tell this is a good place to hike. While it’s technically the lookout spot on the trail, Inspiration Point deserves to be mentioned by name. When you hike up Jesusita Trail to reach Inspiration Point, you’ll find yourself inspired by the gorgeous views of Santa Barbara and the sea. There are two different routes you can take to reach Inspiration Point, but both offer equally impressive views.

  • Jesusita Trail
    • Mentioned before, Jesusita Trail is the full hiking trail that leads to Inspiration Point. The trail starts at San Roque Road and is 7.5 miles round trip. Hiking this trail will take you 1,400 feet above sea level, and will reward you with beautiful ocean views. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, you can add the .4 mile trail to Historic Inspiration Point to your hike and take in even more views.
  • Tunnel Trail
    • If you want a shorter hike, the 3.75 mile hike up Jesusita Trail from the connecting Tunnel Trail is a bit milder. By parking at Tunnel Road and walking almost a mile along Tunnel Trail to get to Jesusita Trail, you can cut distance from the hike without sacrificing the views.

Wherever you choose to go hiking in Santa Barbara, you’re guaranteed to find beautiful views of the ocean and the local scenery. Marina Beach Motel is conveniently located in Santa Barbara near these trails, and after a long day of hiking, relax and enjoy all the amenities we have to offer.