WALK INFORMATION Distance – 0.75 miles to Coal Oil Point; 1.5 to 3 miles along the bluffs, depending on how far you go
Difficulty – Easy
Topo – Dos Pueblos Canyon
Walking towards the beach from the West Campus entrance provides a number of possibilities. Continuing on the paved road will take you along the Devereaux Slough, which is very pretty, to the beach near Coal Oil Point. You can also walk for miles and miles along the bluffs towards Sandpiper Golf Course, and if you wish, make this a loop walk by returning along the beach.
From Santa Barbara drive northbound on Highway 101 to the Glen Annie/Storke Road exit in Goleta. Turn left, cross over the freeway and drive 0.3 miles to Hollister. Continue on Storke 1 mile to the entrance to the West Campus of UCSB, which is at the point where Storke turns sharply to the left. Park along the street or on weekends you should be able to park in the IV School parking lot.
As you walk into the entrance of UCSB’s West Campus, the long driveway flanked by tall trees make you feel like you are entering someplace special. You are. The roadway leads down along the edge of the Devereaux Slough, a serene body of water and tidal flats which is the home to many species of birds and most likely many hundreds of small animals which are hidden by the brush which surrounds the slough.
In the morning and evening light, especially when the air is calm, the water is mirror smooth, reflecting the colors of both the sky and silhouettes of nearby trees. It is a beautiful setting. Out on the water, the birds – herons, an assortment of ducks, and other water birds I can’t identify – seem oblivious to your presence as you as you walk by.
The easiest walk is simply to continue on the paved road around the edge of the slough to Coal Oil Point, where you can enjoy the views from the end of the bluff, or drop down for a walk on the beach or a few moments of tidepooling. If you head west on the beach it is three-fourths mile to the path leading up onto the open meadows that comprise the Ellwood and Santa Barbara Shores bluff tops.
My favorite walk, though, takes me along the upper edge of Devereaux Slough alongside the Ocean Meadows Golf Course. This leads out to a series of more primitive trails on the west side of the slough or if you continue straight ahead on the dirt road past the large oil tank, hundreds of acres of open bluffs through which you can meander to your heart’s content.
As you walk through the West Campus entrance, continue for several hundred yards until the road begins to drop down to the slough. Look for a path leading off to the right, which will take you down a small hill and around the upper end of the slough. This leads to an open dirt road leading due west and slightly uphill. The golf course is on your right.
If you prefer a more rustic walk, there are several small trails leading around the western side of the slough to the beach. If you continue straight ahead, as you walk past the large oil tank, the road curves left and this, too, leads to the beach or the bluffs overlooking the coastline. This is one of the nicest walks you will find anywhere.
It is also possible to continue straight ahead and through the eucalyptus trees. You’ll find a network of trails leading here and there on the bluffs, all of them eventually taking you either towards the ocean or the long stands of eucalyptus trees marking the northern boundary of the bluffs. There are very enchanting paths leading in and out of the eucalyptus trees, as well as a very nice trail leading in a westerly direction along the edge of the trees. You will find the Monarch butterfly sanctuary in these groves.