Text and photography copyright 2010 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.
- Location: north of Santa Barbara, near Goleta. From highway 101 between Goleta and Santa Maria, exit at La Lata place. Take a right and drive 0.8 miles to Alisal Road. Turn right and drive 0.8 miles to the park entrance. Take a right and drive into the park.
- Agency: Santa Barbara County Parks & Recreation
- Distance: 0.6 miles
- Elevation gain: 225 feet
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Best season: Year round (Best after recent rains)
- USGS topo map: Solvang
- Recommeneded guidebook: Easy Hiking in Southern California
- More information: here; trip report here
- Rating: 4
I’ll answer the obvious question first: How in the world do you pronounce the name of this waterfall? “No-HO-wee.” If you’re in the Santa Barbara area for the holidays (or any other time), this waterfall can be reached by a short, easy hike that will be enjoyable for the whole family.
From the back of the park, follow the signs to the waterfall trail. The trail follows Nojoqui Creek, entering a canyon filled with oaks and laurels, and it climbs quickly, crossing a bridge and soon arriving at the nearly 100-foot waterfall. The water falls down a sandstone cliff that is dotted with moss and ferns. Interpretive plaques describe the waterfall’s geological history in greater detail.
Needless to say, this is not a trip for hard-core hikers, but it’s certainly an enjoyable and easy way to get out into nature–and perhaps relieve some holiday stress. Just make sure you remember to pronounce the name of the waterfall correctly. If you ask for directions to “No-JOKE-ee” falls, prepare to be laughed out of town.