Arroyo Hondo Preserve

Explore this Former Ranch on the Gaviota Coast

Arroyo Hondo Preserve is located in a spectacular canyon on the Gaviota Coast. This magical 782-acre former ranch was protected forever by the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County as a nature preserve for the community to explore and learn about the natural world.

Arroyo Hondo’s beautiful and dramatic landscape can be explored along miles of trails that wind through oak woodland, chaparral, and riparian areas. The preserve boasts exceptionally diverse flora and fauna. Those interested in geology can see many different rock strata exposed and some spectacular rock formations. Arroyo Hondo is also rich in history, being a former home of the Ortega family, and, more recently, of members of the Hollister family. It has a well-preserved adobe and was once a stagecoach stop.

The preserve is ever changing, with plenty to see at all times of the year, including seasonally changing flora and steelhead trout. Native pond turtles and newts inhabit the year-round stream. You may spot a coyote, bobcat, or deer on the steep slopes and see hawks and turkey vultures soaring overhead. The beautiful, clear creek, with its many pools and the huge, majestic oaks, sycamores, and bay trees, is without equal in our area.

The preserve is open to the public on the first and third weekend each month. On each of these Saturdays and Sundays, guided hikes are offered 10 a.m.-noon, or you can explore on your own. In either case, reservations are required. Environmental education programs are also available for schools and community groups. Tour topics include seasonal nature walks; ecology of oak woodland, chaparral, and riparian woodland habitats; stream ecology; local history; and the Chumash uses of plants. Special art in nature programs can also be arranged.

For more info, call (805) 567-1115 or email

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