A Waterfall for All
Hike of the Month: San Ysidro to Waterfall
Length of Trail: 4 miles roundtrip
Elevation: Approximately 1,150 feet
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
How to Get There: Drive south from Santa Barbara on highway 101. Exit the freeway on San Ysidro Road. Turn left and drive one mile to East Valley Road. Turn right on East Valley road and drive another mile and turn left onto Park Lane. Drive on Park Lane and at the junction in the road stay right and follow East Mountain Drive to the dead end. Park the car, lace up the boots, and enter the hiking trail on the right side of the pavement.
Description: Hidden in the Montecito foothills, San Ysidro Trail and the waterfall is a fantastic day hiking destination. The trail starts in a rolling, residential area of Montecito and passes between houses and across private roads. The trail is well traveled and trail markers help guide hikers along the way. After a half-mile, the trail becomes a wide dirt fire road in the mostly shaded San Ysidro Canyon. The trail follows San Ysidro Creek and only crosses the water just before reaching the waterfall. Other connectors and trails jut off the San Ysidro Trail, but staying near the creek without crossing it early will keep you on the right path. The trail becomes steep and rocky near the waterfall and a metal pipe handrail along the trail indicates that the destination is near. After finally crossing the creek, the trail winds around the hillside and a short side trail spills directly into the base of the waterfall. The 80-foot cascade is not a gusher, but the consistent flow furnishes a calming climax to a nice day hike. During the rainy season, the waterfall can gain in strength and the canyon will display an array of lively green colors. For those desirous of a longer trek, San Ysidro Trail continues to climb to the top of the mountain and connects with East Camino Cielo.
Photos by Chris Clemens