San Antonio Creek Trail (Santa Barbara)
- Location: Tucker’s Grove County Park, Santa Barbara. From Highway 101, take the Turnpike Road exit and head north (turn right if you’re coming from the east, left if from the west) for 0.8 miles to the park. Drive 0.3 miles to the easternmost parking lot where the trail begins.
- Agency: County of Santa Barbara
- Distance: 3.4 miles
- Elevation gain: 350 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Best season: Year round
- USGS topo map: Goleta
- Recommended gear: insect repellent
- Recommended guidebook: Day Hikes Around Santa Barbara
- More information: Hike descriptions here, here and here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 5
Considering its proximity to several major roads, the San Antonio Creek Trail feels pleasantly secluded. You can expect to hear some traffic noise and the trail does pass by several private properties, but on the whole there are few signs of civilization. The trail is popular with human and canine hikers. Birds provide a soundtrack for the hike and following spring rains, the stream adds to the atmosphere. With Santa Barbara’s temperate climate and the trail’s moderate distance and elevation gain, it can certainly be done as a summer hike, although sometimes moisture locked in by all the trees can make it feel surprisingly humid.
From the north end of the Kiwanis Meadow parking lot, look for the signed trail head. You follow the path to a T-junction by a fenced-in dog park and head left into the oak and sycamore shaded canyon. Several spurs branch off the main route.
At about 1 mile, you cross the stream bed twice. Soon after, you pass by a flood control dam (walking across it is an option but it’s more pleasant to stick to the trail that parallels it) and then the trail begins its ascent to its upper terminus, a dirt parking lot at the side of Highway 154. The destination may be a little anti-climatic, but you can sit on some rocks and enjoy a nice view to the southwest before heading back.
Text and photography copyright 2014 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. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.