If you’re in search of hikes with ocean views in the Santa Barbara area, there are some great options to explore! Below is a list of some of our favorite coastal hikes, all boasting incredible views.
West Camino Cielo Road/Hike
The top of the West Camino Cielo Road becomes a dirt road that can be both driven by SUV vehicles as well as hiked. Once a strictly off-roading drive, West Camino Cielo has recently been converted into a road most vehicles can access even without 4-wheel drive capabilities. While a sedan may prove challenging, one can drive this road in most SUV’s or elevated vehicles.
For folks in sedans, this drive becomes a fantastic hike as the road winds through the hilltops of the Los Padres National Forest. This hike is not a loop and can be anywhere between 2-10 miles, depending on how far you choose to walk. This whole hike is scenic, regardless of distance travelled. Above the clouds, you will experience breath-taking views of Santa Barbara County. Gaze in awe at the 360 degree views of the ocean and the rolling hills above Lake Cachuma.
To get here:
Drive along the 154 (San Marcos Pass Rd) and turn left onto West Camino Cielo. Drive past Lizard’s Mouth (another popular hiking trail) and you will see the beginning of a dirt road. For those who cannot drive, park at this point and make the trek on foot. This is a hike you will not regret!
Douglas Family Preserve
For those seeking easily accessible, extremely moderate hikes with ocean views, the Douglas Family Preserve will not disappoint. This family friendly park offers amazing hiking paths along the Santa Barbara coastline. Walk along the bluffs of The Mesa and take in the views of the pacific ocean and Los Arroyos Beach, commonly referred to as Hendry’s Beach. Don’t be surprised if you spot dolphins along the way as these friendly animals are known to frequent the area. Work up an appetite and stop for lunch or dinner at the Boathouse at Hendry’s. This scenic route also varies in distance and time, depending on how far you choose to venture. Regardless, you will see spectacular views along the way.
To get here:
Park on Mesa School Lane or Linda Road and walk to the trailhead labeled Douglas Family Preserve. There will be a map with trail routes located at the trailhead.
Carpinteria Seal Sanctuary & Tar Pits Park
This walk is also fairly moderate with no incline. The coastal stroll begins by parking at the Seal Sanctuary parking lot and hiking towards the ocean. After crossing the train tracks, there are lookout points to observe the seals that inhabit the beaches between the months of December and May. They take refuge on these beaches, claiming them as their mating grounds. Observe the wildlife while walking along the bluffs. After about a mile, you will enter Tar Pits Park. This scenic route boasts incredible views of the Carpinteria coastline and the Channel Islands. There is a hidden beach carved into the rocks accessible by a path off of the main trail. This is truly one of the best hikes with ocean views in the Santa Barbara area.
To get here:
Park in the Seal Sanctuary parking lot and take any one of the paths (they all lead to the railroad tracks). Cross the tracks and continue onto the trail leading to the bluffs.