Stevens Park Trail (Santa Barbara)
- Location: 258 Canon Drive, Santa Barbara. From Highway 101, take exit 100 for Las Positas Road/Highway 225. Head north for 1.3 miles (Las Positas Road becomes San Roque Road). Turn left on Calle Fresno, follow it a short distance to its end and turn right onto Canon Drive. The park entrance is on the right, almost immediately.
- Agency: City of Santa Barbara
- Distance: 1.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 200 feet
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Difficulty rating: G
- Best season: Year round
- Dogs: Allowed on leash
- Cell phone reception: Good
- Water: Available in fountains at Stevens Park
- Restrooms: At Stevens Park
- Camping/backpacking: None
- More information: Trip descriptions here and here; Yelp page here
- Rating: 5
The Franklin Trail, which leaves from the northern end of Stevens Park in Santa Barbara, is a perfect destination for hikers short on time, or with small children. Almost entirely shaded, it’s also good to keep in mind for hot days. Though it’s enjoyable as a self-contained hike, it can also serve as the first leg of a longer trip on the Arroyo Burro or Jesuita Trails.
From the parking area, follow an unsigned but obvious trail that heads north along the west side of the park. You’ll cross a footbridge and enter the park itself where the trail continues to the north. Almost immediately you enter the thick woods of San Roque Canyon, under the shade of live oaks, sycamores and a few wild palms. The sense of solitude is such that even crossing under the Foothill Road Bridge doesn’t seem like much of a distraction.
At 0.4 mile, you reach a clearing where another trail enters from the east. Continue up canyon, crossing the stream bed and passing by a few morteros in the bedrock. The trail then leaves the canyon, climbing into the open with views of the mountains to the north. After crossing a service road, it dips back to the stream before making one final climb up to meet the Jesuita Trail. This is the turnaround point, although you can continue as far as you want along the Jesuita Trail or Arroyo Burro Trail before heading back.
Text and photography copyright 2017 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.