Cold Spring Trail to
Hiking Distance: 8.36 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 2917 feet
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!
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.
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!
in the trail, go left and your next stop will be the fire road, near the
trail to Montecito Peak. If you instead go right at this fork you soon
encounter another fork in the trail that takes you 1) left, to another place on
the fire road or 2) right, all the way downhill to the trail head where you started.
Fire road & power poles. Take a left once you reach the road. Going left
takes you in the direction of the
mountains). There is very
little shade from this point forward and water consumption tends to take a
big jump here. Be sure you still have lots of water. It is common for people
to end their Cold Spring Trail hike at the dirt road, soak up the great view
and then head back. From this point onward the hike is steep and
there is very little shade all the way to Camino Cielo. Be sure to have lots
of water. To this point you have
hiked 1.40 miles with an elevation
gain of 1152 ft.
First city view from power
poles. If you look towards the mountain tops you will see a
Eucalyptus trees all alone on a ridge high above you. The trail goes
right past those
About 200 feet after you
turned left at the dirt road, you exit to the left up an
zigzag trail. If you don't leave the dirt road here you will soon encounter a
private property sign which means you have gone too far along the
View of city and dirt road
View east of trails and coast
This is a great rest spot. The root of
the Eucalyptus tree on the left forms a nice seat.
Close-up of tree on the right. Relax and
enjoy the view! To this point you have hiked 2.57 miles with an elevation gain
of 2002 ft.
Fork in the trail. Suggest you go left. Either way is fine however.
eucalyptus trees, dirt road and
Montecito Peak exit point. If you wish to detour from the Camino
Cielo hike and visit Montecito
Peak, this is the exit point. To this point you have hiked 3.22 miles
with an elevation gain of 2411 ft.
View of trail and Camino Cielo.
This photo was taken from a good vantage point on a detour trail to
View of Montecito Peak
View of canyon and mountain range
View of trail, downtown Santa Barbara and harbor
Camino Cielo: Here is a photo of the
parking area next to E. Camino Cielo Road, water tower and trail marker. To this point you have hiked
4.18 miles with an elevation gain of 2917 ft.
of Cold Spring Trail sign
looking south from the top of the water tower
looking north towards Santa Ynez Valley on the other side of the mountain
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.