Cold Spring Trail to
Hiking Distance: 6.8 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1939 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 Montecito Peak. 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
Trail exit point. You need to exit the trail
to the right here. If you don't exit the trail takes you all the way to
Camino Cielo Road at the top of the mountain. There is no sign directing you to Montecito Peak so you
need to keep a look out for the exit point. You go up a
steep, slippery grade (about 50 feet) to get to the saddle behind
Montecito Peak. There are two paths up, the left is a little less steep,
though both paths have very steep slippery sections. To this point you have
miles with an elevation gain of 2411 ft.
You have reached the saddle ridge
behind Montecito Peak. This is a view of the
peak ahead and a view looking west from the
saddle. From this point the trail gets very steep with lots of
gravel. Here is a view of the trail
looking up a 45 degree slope. This is the hardest part of the hike, but if
you take your time and take careful steps you will make it to the top in a
few short minutes. Just before you reach the top the trail wraps around the
left side of the peak. You make the final steps to the top from the opposite
You've reached the top of Montecito Peak. Enjoy the
360 degree view!
To this point you have hiked 3.40 miles with an elevation gain of 2690 ft.
Santa Barbara Harbor
Channel Islands and oil derricks
View of the
flat top of Montecito Peak, looking north west
and south east.
View of the the
1927 geologic survey reference pole and
metal message box and
contents where people leave
pens, notepads and write about their hike.
north at Cold Spring Trail to Camino Cielo
for those who wish to hike beyond Montecito Peak.
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.