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Knapp's Castle

Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California

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Knapp's Castle

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  • Parking for Knapp's Castle is at two large unmarked turnouts on the side of the road.- Knapp's Castle
  • The trail begins past an unmarked gate.- Knapp's Castle
  • The short trail is rough dirt.- Knapp's Castle
  • Overlooking the Santa Barbara mountains toward the coast.- Knapp's Castle
  • One of several ruins at the castle.- Knapp's Castle
  • Knapp's Castle.- Knapp's Castle
  • Sunset from the castle remains.- Knapp's Castle
  • Clear night skies over the mountains.- Knapp's Castle
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Unique destination.
Cons: 
Can get crowded on weekends.
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Region:
Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

Knapp's Castle is the site of the former mansion home of George Owen Knapp, president of Union Carbide. Knapp constructed his mansion, which contained five bedrooms, an observatory, and lodgings for the groundskeepers and servants, on the Santa Ynez Ridge beginning in 1916. Only months after selling the mansion in 1940, the Paradise Canyon Fire burned most of the home. The 1964 Coyote Fire later destroyed even more of the property, including the observatory, which had partially survived the earlier fire.

Today, Knapp's Castle can be accessed by a nearly half-mile hike from the Snyder Trailhead on Camino Cielo Road. Though the castle sits on private property, the owner currently allows access to the castle remains. The hike itself is easy, with only about 30 feet in elevation gain over the path. 

Only the foundations and a few scenic archways remain, along with several chimneys. The castle is a popular spot, especially around sunset, so expect to see others here. The parking area and trailhead are not marked, nor do they contain any type of trash cans, water or bathrooms, so be prepared before you make the drive. Note that rattlesnakes, black widows and scorpions all make the stone foundations their home. Be alert.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(2 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(12 within a 30 mile radius)

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