Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
2,150.00 ft (655.32 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
6.50 mi (10.46 km)
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Over 35 miles from Santa Barbara, Gaviota Peak looms high above Highway 101 with excellent views of the Gaviota coastline, Channel Islands, Lompoc Valley, and the Santa Ynez Mountains – part of California’s Transverse Ranges. The trail winds near Gaviota Hot Springs and through gnarled oak woodland as well as grassy and chaparral hillside to the open 2,458-foot summit.

The Gaviota Peak Trailhead is located in Gaviota State Park, and it is the same trailhead for Gaviota Hot Springs. The hike can be done as a loop (reported here), preferably done heading up the wide Gaviota Peak Fire Road and then down Trespass Trail. The fire road winds briefly under the shade of the sycamore and gnarled oak trees. Follow the signs toward Gaviota Peak. From here, the trail switchbacks up the grassy hillside with views of Lompoc Valley opening up to your north. At 1.5 miles, leave the park and officially enter the Los Padres National Forest. Take a right at the next junction for the final push to Gaviota Peak. Be prepared for strong winds.

From the summit, head down Trespass Trail, a dirt singletrack. Brush (and ticks) can be thick in sections; pants are highly advised. Enjoy the views of Las Cruces Hills and Hollister Ridge on the way down. Sedimentary rock is spread out over the mountainside, so be on the lookout for wind caves! At the junction after the wide grassy slope, take a right. Pass by a striking green meadow, oak grove, and eventually through a metal gate. Continue the trek down, reaching the junction with the Gaviota Peak Trail. Take a left and finish the 0.2 miles remaining to the trailhead.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Excellent views. Hot springs side trip.

Cons

Little shade and water.

Trailhead Elevation

308.00 ft (93.88 m)

Highest point

2,458.00 ft (749.20 m)

Features

Big vistas
Geologically significant
Waterfalls

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California
Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California
Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California
Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California
Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California

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