Toes in the Sand
Hike of the Month: Hendry’s Beach to Leadbetter Beach and back
Length of Trail: 5 miles round trip
Elevation: Zero (sometimes negative at low tide)
Level of Difficulty: Fun!
How to Get There: Exit 101 at Las Positas Road (turn right from 101 south, left from 101 north). Travel Las Positas to the T in the road, turn right on Cliff Drive. Hendry’s Beach is the first left turn (before going up the hill to Hope Ranch). Find a parking spot, grab the sunscreen and your K-9, and hit the sand!
Description: Need a break from the mountains (is that even possible?), then maybe it’s time to change it up and hike something closer to sea level. What about getting your toes in the sand? Summer’s coming and it’s time for a beach hike! Dog lovers flock to Hendry’s beach to utilize the off-leash water park for pups, and hikers with K-9 pals can
enjoy some off-leash action as well. Once on the beach, make a left turn and start walking east. The entrance to the dog beach promises to be high energy, playful, and full of paw prints in the sand. As the hike continues under the cliffs of the Douglas Preserve and the Mesa, the crowds thin, presenting a
Utopian stroll along some of Santa Barbara’s most beautiful scenery. The route is approximately 2.5 miles from Hendry’s to the point at Leadbetter Beach so figure 5 miles round trip. Be sure to time your hike with the low tide to avoid getting your feet wet. An app that comes highly recommended is Tides and Currents (version 1.1.11). The Smartphone app is incredibly accurate in predicting the tide, so hikers can finish with dry boots. But then again, going barefoot may make for an even better experience. The only downside to the hike might be sand in the shoes or possibly some tar residue stuck to bare feet. In that case, head home and lather your tar-covered feet in vegetable oil while listening to Jack Johnson’s song Bubbly Toes. Now that’s an authentic Santa Barbara experience!
Photographs by Chris Clemens