Lower Santa Ynez Activities

Aliso Canyon Trail

Aliso means "Sycamore" in Spanish and this delightful little canyon is full of them. Within the three mile loop you'll find a variety of plant life, from riparian vegetation in the canyon to oak meadows and grass-covered hills on the upper part of the trail. Read story.

Arroyo Burro Backside

A Delightful Hike From the Santa Ynez River Side of the Mountains

This is a delightful trail that leads up through a narrow canyon and because it isn't traveled too often, is a nice hike for those who want a bit of solitude. The narrow, rocky canyon is shaded and is filled with lush riparian vegetation and a cool creek that runs year round except in extremely dry years. Read story.

Bluff 'n Back

Mellow riding beyond the Little Pine turnoff leads to the foot of Big Pine Mountain.

While most riders take the Little Pine turnoff and head over to Happy Hollow for the downhill ride on the Santa Cruz Trail, you will find beautiful country as well as almost complete solitude if you continue on Buckhorn Road in the direction of Bluff, which makes an excellent spot for an overnight camping trip. Read story.

Buckhorn Trail

One of the epic rides though the trail could use some brushing.

This, the ride to Little Pine, and the Gibraltar Loop are the best three rides in the lower Santa Ynez River drainage. The Buckhorn ride combines much of what the Little Pine Ride has to offer, as well as 10 miles of exquisite single track riding in Buckhorn Canyon and along lower Indian Creek. There is a real feeling of wildness about the ride. Read story.

Camuesa Connector

Best short single track ride in the area.

This is an excellent morning or afternoon ride which takes no more than 3 hours to complete, though more may be added either by picnicking along the way or stopping at Live Oak picnic area near the trail's end, where you'll find a great swimming hole waiting for you. The single track on Camuesa Connector is the best 3-mile section found anywhere in the valley. Read story.

Camuesa Connector Day Hike

Little Known Trail leads Right From the River

This trail gets relatively little use, making it nice for a more secluded hike. The trail leads up and across a high bench with nice views overlooking the pool at Live Oak. Above, it cuts across a series of saddles formed by a fault line. Read story.

Devil's Canyon Loop

Great Views While You Follow the Santa Ynez Fault

Though a relatively long hike, Devil's Canyon offers the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful hike up the Santa Ynez River to Gibraltar Dam with a return trip through a narrow, lush canyon and back along the grassy slopes of the Santa Ynez Fault to Live Oak picnic area. Read story.

Little Pine Mountain

This is the premier ride in the upper Santa Ynez Valley. Incredible views, secluded stands of pine atop Little Pine Mountain, and an exhilarating ride back down make this one of the most worthwhile rides in Santa Barbara County. However, its 3300' elevation gain demands that you be in pretty good physical shape to enjoy it all the way up. Read story.

Lower Oso Kid's Hike

Short But Easy for the Kids

Though a short hike, this trail provides a nice walk from the Lower Oso area and because it is fairly level, is nice for children. It can be extended into a longer hike by continuing through Upper Oso campground into Oso Canyon. Read story.

Lower Oso Single Track

A good starter ride for kids.

This is a short trail, which follows the left side of the road leading to Upper Oso and provides either a short and scenic day ride or a way to and from Upper Oso without having to ride on the road. Read story.

Matias Potrero

An Old Powerline Road Provides a Wonderful Trail

This trail leads across the north side of the Santa Ynez Mountains through open fields of grass and a series of ridges from Arroyo Burro Road to Gibraltar Dam. With the exception of the ups and downs caused by the ridgelines, surprisingly the trail is almost level, and high enough from the valley floor to provide scenic views of the canyon and the San Rafael Mountains. Read story.

Nineteen Oaks Via Santa Cruz Trail

An Enjoyable Short Hike or You Can Go All the Way to the Top of Little Pine

The trail leads through the Oso Narrows, a beautiful sandstone canyon formed of Matilija Sandstone, then connects with the Santa Cruz Trail. Read story.

Red Rock Loop

The Best Pools and Lots of Them!

The Red Rock Trail provides not only an enjoyable 3-4 hour hike, but provides you with some of the best swimming holes on the river. You can head in either direction on this loop though I tend to take the high road in and return along the river. Read story.

Snyder Trail

From Either the Top or Bottom, A Nice trail to Hike

Snyder Trail provides a long hike, especially for those who are staying at Sage Hill. The trailhead is just a few hundred yards before you reach the Los Prietos Ranger Station where this camp is located. Read story.

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