Sweetwater Trail

Art from the Trail at Wildling Museum

connect to the outdoorslake cachuma hiking trailsWhat to Expect: The trail’s route from the Observation Point for Bradbury Dam to Cachuma Lake County Park winds through oak woodlands along the southern side of Cachuma Lake. Gratifying is the panoramic views of the lake with three sides surrounded by mountains. The halfway point provides an opportunity to grab a snack at the general store in the Cachuma Lake Campground or to check out the Nature Center to learn more about the local birds, fish, and flora, as well as the native Chumash Indian culture.

Description: Cachuma Lake Recreation Area consists of 9,000 acres of wilderness and lake, with the Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains looming above the park. The recreation area offers year-round natural history adventures, lake cruises, and nature walks.

Trailhead: San Marcos Pass Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Directions: From the City of Santa Barbara, take Hwy 154 toward Santa Ynez. After you pass Lake Cachuma, take the turn off for the Vista Point (also the Bradbury Dam Observation Point) and park in the parking lot near the dam. To get to the Sweetwater Trail from the junction of highways 246 and 154, drive about 5 miles (toward Santa Barbara). Again, take the turn off for the Vista Point.

  • Difficulty Rating: Easy to Moderate
  • Distance: 4.50 Miles out and back
  • Grade Change: 5% average
  • Trail Layout: Linear
  • Surface: Packed earth
  • Average Width: 3 to 6 feet
  • Shade: Yes
  • Obstacles: Uneven surface
  • Accessibility: Not rated
  • Restrictions: Dogs on leash
  • Emergency: Call 911

Special thanks to Wildling Museum of Art and Nature for creating Art from the Trails, a juried invitational exhibition, showcasing trail systems in Santa Barbara County. The exhibit is ongoing through October 3, 2021.