Panoramic ocean and mountain views, beach access and dog friendliness make Goleta’s More Mesa one of the more popular outdoor destinations in the Santa Barbara area. Though residential areas flank three sides of the preserve, it has a pleasantly isolated feel, due to its distance from any major roads or freeways. The loop described here circles the perimeter of the mesa, although a large network of official and unofficial trails make many different routes possible.
This post assumes a start from the eastern trailhead, at the corner of Mockingbird Lane and Vieja Drive. Begin by heading up Mockingbird for 0.2 mile to the park’s entrance. Soon you’ll come to a junction. The right fork is you return route; for now, stay straight, continuing south toward the edge of the bluffs (0.7 mile.) If you want to take an optional detour to the beach, head downhill on a path leading straight ahead. To continue along the mesa, turn right and head west as the trail hugs the edge of the bluff.
At 1.4 miles, you reach a Y-junction. Bear left and follow the trail as it skirts even closer to the edge of the bluffs in the preserve’s southwestern corner before bending north. At 1.8 miles, turn right on an unsigned trail that heads back across the mesa. Several smaller trails branch off, but the main trail remains obvious as it bends northeast and drops into a wash (2.1 miles.) At the bottom of the wash, just before the main trail starts to climb, bear right on an unsigned path that heads through the vegetation. It follows the bottom of the wash, passing through some oaks before climbing to a Y-junction. Bear right and follow the trail a short distance back to the entrance to the preserve and retrace your steps down Mockingbird Lane.
More Mesa is named after T. Wallace More, a 19th century businessman who built a wharf in Goleta. The wharf burned in 1887 and was rendered obsolete by railroads, but according to the Santa Barbara Outdoors website, its old pilings can sometimes be seen on the beach during low tide.
Text and photography copyright 2016 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.