Cold Spring Trail Loop
Hiking Distance: 1.8 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 682 feet
This is the one of the most
popular Cold Spring Trail hikes and has some of the best ocean views. There are
about 10 forks in the trail. Turn right at every fork except for the short
detour to Vista Point.
Trail Notes & Photos
information board. There are two trail heads for Cold Spring Trail.
Start at the east side of the creek where the
wood sign is rather than the
west side where the rusty metal sign is.
sign next to a bench. Stay
right on East Fork. Do not cross creek to West Fork! To this point you have
hiked 0.22 miles with an elevation gain 217 ft.
trail and canopy of trees
First creek crossing.
Can have a lot of water at times, very little water most of the time.
Second creek crossing,
view of water & fern. To this point
you have hiked 0.70
miles with an elevation gain of 315 ft.
Fork in the trail: About 10
feet past the
second creek crossing you hit a fork in the trail. The heavily traveled
direction is right. Stay right.
the trail: About 50 feet past the second creek crossing you encounter
another fork in the trail. The trail is heavily traveled in both
directions. Go right. It is a common mistake to go left here because it
seems like the logical way to go (along the creek, uphill). If you go left
here you will hike uphill 0.17 miles until the trail dead ends into
boulders. Go right at this fork, NOT left!
Fork in the trail, go right
Fork in the trail, go right
First ocean view
First city view
Oak tree trail detour to Vista Point. This
100 yard temporary detour from the trail takes you to one of the best views
Vista Point: This spot is just off the trail but it is an essential detour
that includes a sweeping 270 degree view of the South Coast. It is one of
the best coastal viewing spots of all the Santa Barbara trails.
Once you return
to the main trail and continue heading down the mountain you will encounter
several forks in the trail. Always stay to the right. The heaviest traveled
path at each fork will always be to the right so it will be obvious.
Trail end. The Cold Spring Trail Loop ends
just a few yards to the right of where it starts.
Directions to Trail Head
Just south of Santa Barbara on the 101
freeway exit at Olive Mill Road (exit 94A). Turn north toward the mountains
and drive up Olive Mill Road until it becomes Hot Springs Road. Continue up
Hot Springs Rd until you reach Mountain Drive. The distance from the freeway
to Mountain Drive is 1.9 miles. Turn left on Mountain Drive and drive 1.05
miles to where Cold Spring Creek crosses the
road. There are parking areas on both
sides of the creek. There are also trail heads on both sides of the creek.
Don't start on the west side where the rusty
Cold Spring Trail sign is. Start on the east side of the creek (the side
you came from) where you will see a wood sign
marking the trail head. The GPS
coordinates of the trail head are 34.456203, -119.653474.