Santa Barbara > Activity Guide > Santa Barbara Hikes > Inspiration Point


Hiking Distance: 3.5 miles round trip
Hiking Time: 1.5 hours
Elevation Gain: 800 feet


This Inspiration Point hike begins at Tunnel Trail. You can also get there beginning at at Jesusita Trail. This hike is a moderate hike, mostly uphill and passes through a creek. The first part of Tunnel Trail is a one mile paved road that eventually turns to a dirt road then a trail. One of Santa Barbara's most popular exercise spots, you can see lots of locals walking & jogging up the paved road during all times of the year. Be sure to look for the Jesusita trail sign that takes you off the dirt road and down to the creek. It is very easy to miss. Inspiration point is a small summit that offers a spectacular view of Santa Barbara, the Pacific Ocean, the Channel Islands and the Santa Ynez Mountains. Cathedral peak towers immediately above you.

Directions to Trail Head

From the Santa Barbara Mission drive towards the mountains. At the stop sign, turn right on Foothill Rd.  At the stop sign (and fire station), turn left onto Mission Canyon Rd. At the fork in the road, stay to the left on

Tunnel Rd. Drive to the end of Tunnel Rd to the parking area. Warning: if your tires are not completely within the parking line, and your car instead sticks out into the road, you will be towed. Seriously. On weekends most of the parking areas near the top of Tunnel Rd are filled with cars, so you will likely have to park quite a bit further down. Walk to the end of Tunnel Rd until you reach a metal gate, where the trail head begins.