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Santa Barbara Sunset Hike | Jesusita Trail Head


The hike’s distance and elevation change will depend on how far you follow the trail. The full roundtrip route is about seven miles, with 1500 feet of gain/loss and a total hiking time of roughly 3 hours. Since our route is out and back, and well-marked, you can turn back earlier if you become winded or are short on time. On this route, the terrain is either dirt fire road or fairly well-tended single and double-track trail. Please be sure to bring water, a snack, an extra layer of clothing, and a headlamp or flashlight. Details of the hike are provided below…hope to see you there! Santa Barbara Sunset Hike Hike Type: Conditioning Level: Intermediate Route Type: Out & back Distance: ~7 miles Elevation gain/loss: ~1500 feet Terrain: Footpath and dirt road Leashed dogs: Yes Route summary:  This hike will take us up to 7 miles roundtrip, through and then above San Roque Canyon, to Inspiration Point and its impressive views of Santa Barbara, Goleta, and the Pacific. Our route begins at the San Jesusita trailhead on San Roque Road, proceeds along the mostly single-track Jesusita Trail for about three miles, then follows a dirt utility road for just under a half mile, and finally reaches Inspiration Point via a roughly 200-foot single-track trail. The route is well-marked, except for the first two forks and the final turnout to the point, where we go right on the way out (left on the way back) in all three cases. Overall, the route is steadily ascending, rather than steep, though there are a few moderately challenging sections and a few seasonal water crossings. The first couple of miles follow San Roque Canyon and offer a great riparian experience. The third mile is primarily switchbacks, as we proceed up out of the canyon until reaching the dirt utility road near Inspiration Point. As we ascend, the route offers increasing views of the Santa Ynez mountains, Santa Barbara and Goleta, and the Pacific and offshore islands to the south and west. Please note that San Roque Canyon has some poison oak growing, though it is easily avoided in the sections of the trail we will be following on this hike. That said, you will need to walk attentively at some points on the trail and/or wear hiking pants, especially if you are highly allergic. The initial section of our hike is partly shaded, but the route steadily gives way to open hillside and chaparral. Since we begin in relatively sheltered areas and reach exposed areas above the Pacific, weather conditions can range from cool to hot and calm to windy. We will continue to our turnaround point, stop to enjoy the great late-day or early-evening views of the Pacific, offshore islands, and surrounding coastal peaks. After our stop, we will return to our starting point by the same route. Essentials: Please wear – hiking or athletic pants or shorts, one or more wicking shirts appropriate to the temperature, comfortable hiking or running shoes, a hat and other needed sun protection, your favorite undergarments and accessories, and a light pack to hold your gear. Please bring – at least 1 liter of water, on-trail snacks, extra layers of clothing in case you become cold, a charged cell phone, identification, a headlamp or flashlight, a waterproof shell if rain is forecast, and any medications or anything else you might need on the trail. Parking: Please perpendicular park in the dirt parking area across the street from the water filtration plant, or in the permitted areas immediately next to the trailhead, on San Roque Road. Please also watch for sometimes rapidly moving vehicles in this fairly rural and undeveloped area. Carpooling and public transportation are encouraged, both to lower our carbon footprint and to reduce the number of parking spaces we use at the trailhead. Please do not leave anything of value in your vehicle, at this or any trailhead. Directions: By car, take the Las Positas Road exit off of Highway 101, near downtown Santa Barbara, and proceed north (toward the mountains or away from the ocean) for just under two miles. Los Positas Road changes name to San Roque Road when it crosses State Street. Look for the trailhead on your left. Alternatively, you can take city streets and/or Foothill Road (Route 192) to San Roque Road. If you do this, the trailhead is 0.4 miles north (toward the mountains or away from the ocean) from the intersection of Foothill Road and San Roque Road. By public transportation, take the MTD #6 or #11 bus to State Street and San Roque Road. Walk north (toward the mountains or away from the ocean) on San Roque Road for 1.1 miles. You will cross Foothill Road at roughly the 0.7-mile mark. Look for the trailhead on your left.




Santa Barbara County Trails Council


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