Adventures and Travel,  Explore California

An Epic SECRET Hike in Santa Barbara, CA and How To Find It!

There’s this EPIC HIKE IN SANTA BARBARA! I call it a secret hike because almost nobody knows about it, and it’s BEAUTIFUL!

It takes you to the Rock Garden and I’d sincerely say that this spot gives you the best views of Santa Barbara and everything around it.

SO, if you’re looking for an amazing hike, this is it. It’s man made, not maintained by anyone but us regular hikers, it’s an intermediate hike and requires some rock climbing, and it’s a little difficult to find especially if you’re not good with direction.

And: it’s only about two miles total!

But this by far was one of my top favorite hikes in the area! (Don’t I say that about every new hike?) We took this hike TWICE because we wanted venture some more and bring friends with us!

As we were approaching Rock Garden, Paul went up and climbed his way to this point!
Huh???? Love dis

So let me tell ya how to get there!


If you’re coming from the South and you’re Northbound, you’ll be on highway 101 along the coast. This is the route that we took to get there.

Google Maps does NOT recognize how to get to this area and when it tries to recognize the streets around it, it takes you the LONG WAY and AROUND! So I don’t recommend that.

I ended up downloading WAZE! Much… much… much better. It took us the shortest and most direct route.

So, if you’re headed north on the 101, you’re going to drive until you reach exit 95: Salinas St.

Follow this road until you reach a round about where you will take the second exit on the right to Sycamore Canyon Rd.

Follow Sycamore Canyon Rd. until you reach a fork where you will take Stanwood Dr.

Follow Stanwood Dr. until you reach El Cielito Rd.

Follow El Cielito Rd. until you reach a fork of three roads and you’re going to take Gibraltar Rd. This is the most important road here! (And if you get car sick, take some nauseas pills cuzzzz I was dying)

You will follow Gibraltar Rd. for a while, eventually, you’ll see a junction where Gibraltar Rd. meets E. Camino Cielo. (DON’T TURN HERE) Park along the left side of the road where there are turn arounds/sight stops (that’s what we did), on the right side you’ll see an abandon tiny circular building if you’re driving straight and the junction of those two roads is behind you. We turned around and parked across from that building in the gravel.

After you’re out of your car and ready to go (don’t keep any valuables in your car!) you’re going to walk in the direction you came from! If you’re looking to your right, you’ll see down to Santa Barbara, or the Mountains or whatever.

Watch along the right side, that small mountain that you’re walking up to is where your hike begins!

It’s hard to find where it begins so you will have to search around, but there’s foot prints kind of leading the way and eventually it’ll pave out it’s path to the Rock Garden!

Be patient, be kind to yourself, and try and pay attention to where you’re going because you have to find your way back!

Along the way, everything was green, beautiful, it was a little steep so we were out of breath!

As we were approaching Rock Garden. Everything was so green! But there was also a little bit of snow (the first time we went).


-There are quite a bit of flies and bees so bring repellent or spray yourself before!

-Lots of branches and leaves that you can get scratched on. I wore long pants and sometimes people bring things to cut branches down and keep the path clean (since it’s not a real trail maintained by anyone but us!)

-The second time we want, the sun was beating really hard and some of us got very sun burnt!

-If you bring a pet, you might have to carry them through some of the rocks!

The second time we went, we brought our dog Migo! I wouldn’t really recommend pets on this hike, but we carried him through the tough climbing portions and he had so much fun!

-I wouldn’t do this hike alone. I would do it with another person, or with friends, or let people know you’re going to go! If you fall you can be seriously injured.

I was too short to bring my legs up, so he had to help me up! And Migo just watched. LOL


Another picture of my dog being all cool.

-You can get lost, we definitely got lost a few times and had to try and figure out how to make our way back to our car!

Found the mountain peak sign on the way back when we got lost!


-Wear sunscreen. Plenty of it.

-Bring water. Stay hydrated, rock climbing isn’t always easy. You’ll want to make sure you’re hydrated the day before.

-Wear long pants, avoid branch cuts and rock scraps this way.

-It’s SO windy, make sure you bring a windbreaker JUST IN CASE. Or at least check the weather for wind speeds and stuff like that.

-Take millions of pictures. This hike is BEAUTIFUL and you’ll want to remember it!

-We packed lunch, we knew we’d want to stay around and rock climb further and enjoy the beautiful views of Santa Barbara. So pack a lunch and some snacks!

-Timer on your camera is your BEST FRIEND for group pictures!

-Have loads of fun…

Check out all of our other pictures below:

Lion King or something of that sort 😉
Our awesome friends!
She’s pointing the rock she WANTED to climb!
I was too scared to climb the rock they were (lmaoooo)
Views of Santa Barbara
Can I just say: I love my camera….
He’s all grins on the way back 🙂


If you’re curious as to the camera I’m using, it’s the Sony a!

There’s a link in my sidebar —–>


Happy hiking, and have fun mates!

If you have any questions on the directions, how to get there, how safe it really is: just contact me below!



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