A Taste of Tangerine
Hike of the Month: Tangerine Falls
Length of Trail: Roughly 3 miles round trip
Elevation: Approximately 950 feet at base of fall
Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
How to Get There: If taking 101 south, exit Olive Mill Road and turn left on to what becomes Hot Springs Road before turning left on East Mountain Drive. Continue about 1.5 miles and park near the stream crossing on the road. The best starting point is before the stream crossing at the Montecito Trails Association sign. From this point go about a quarter-mile until you reach a bench, then cross the stream and follow trail to the left. The trail ascends uphill for approximately a mile before another junction. Descend to the right and follow the trail which tops out at Tangerine Falls.
Description: Tangerine Falls is ideal for a hot summer as the majority of the trail is shaded. The canyon, shielded by towering trees and blanketed by several forms of vegetation, offers a relaxing and peaceful experience.
The trail is relatively steep with some scrambling required to get over the rocks and roots. The soil consistency in the drier months can cause the trail to be quite slippery, so make sure to wear appropriate shoes and watch your step. Additionally, keep your eyes out for poison oak as it’s common on this trail. Aside from these minor cautions, the hike makes for a beautiful break from the bustle. Of course, the most notable part of the path comes at the end. Named for the orange coloring caused from deposits over the years, Tangerine Falls provides a refreshing shower and vibrant photo opportunities. And while the falls are currently not flowing due to the dry season, the view down canyon toward town is a reward in itself. If you’re looking for an exciting family field trip, active day with a friend, or solo adventure, take the trek up Tangerine Falls and add some color to your day.