Sat, Oct 31, 2015
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On the last day of a 2-day VB tournament, I had only a few hours between matches to get some fresh air and sun outside the gym at Santa Barbara High School. I drove up Gibralter Rd to the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains above this affluent community. If you haven't much time for hiking, this is an amazing place to go for views that spread over miles of coastal cities, backcountry Wildernesses (San Rafael and Dick Smith) and the southern Los Padres NF, most of the Channel Islands and large swaths of the Pacific Ocean. There were a number of quick hikes to easy summits along Camino Cielo Rd that I had collected info on beforehand, but with time short I was only able to reach the easiest of these, Peak 3,861ft, near the junction of East Camino Cielo and Gibralter. There is a saddle SE of the summit which offers a relatively easy use trail to the summit in less than a mile, a bit overgrown with low, grassy weeds, but no real bushwhacking. Using this route along the crest for the descent, I found it open to views the whole way and pretty straightforward. A shorter use trail can be found on the south side of the ridge, the one I used for the ascent, but it requires ducking through the initial brush and then steep, loose dirt uphill to reach the ridge which is largely open thanks to an old firebreak. Gibralter Rd was recently repaved and is a very popular bike ride, probably the toughest in Santa Barbara. It would be nice to ride this some day and also portions of the miles-long Camino Cielo. For now, that's just a future plan - time to get back for the afternoon match...
The three most popular summits above Santa Barbara are La Cumbre (easy walk-up from Camino Cielo, with lookout tower), Catherdral (moderate to very difficult depending on route and brush conditions) and Montecito (tame, good trail), the latter two on the LPC list. I'd been to these plus a few others in the Santa Ynez Mtns, leaving me mostly with a bunch of unnamed ones, many of dubious quality with difficult, chaparral-covered summits. Before I do anything like those, I'd like to first visit the other easier ones along the crest...
This page last updated: Sun Nov 15 15:51:25 2015
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