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Santa Barbara Sunset Hike | Jesusita Trail


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!


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.

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Santa Barbara County Trails Council

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