Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
575.00 ft (175.26 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.50 mi (4.02 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Gaviota Wind Caves are a weather- and element-sculpted cliff of sandstone formations overlooking the sea and the day use area of Gaviota State Park. The primary trail to reach the wind caves heads up from a parking lot near the day use area, but down a side road before entering the day use site.

Climbing about 560 feet over the 1.2 mile route to the caves, the trail goes from a paved road to a dirt single track heading up slick rocky slopes that climb the hillside. The wind caves themselves are visible from Highway 101 if you know where to look, however that means that the highway noise tends to be present throughout most of this hike. 

Along the hike, several paths branch off, however most will all lead to the same place. About a mile in, the first caves are present beside the trail. Unfortunately there is a good deal of graffiti present at the more accessible caves. Just past the first caves, several small footpaths can be seen leaving the main trail and heading right. These will take you to the base of the large sandstone caves. 

It may take a bit of scrambling to get inside some of them, and it may not be safe to attempt to reach some owing to the bare sandstone faces that must be scaled. However there are a number of different caves to be found. Views stretch over the Gaviota Beach area and out to the Channel Islands on a clear day.

Continuing up the path will lead into the park's interior network of trails, such as Gaviota Pass Overlook. Otherwise, hikers can turn around here and retrace the route back downhill to the parking area.

Most of the trail is exposed and there is no water along the way. Hikers should be prepared for this before attempting the hike during hot weather.

Dogs are not allowed on the trail. There is no fee for accessing the state park from this parking area. The trail is open from 8:00 AM to sunset.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Excellent views.

Cons

Highway noise.

Trailhead Elevation

50.00 ft (15.24 m)

Highest point

610.00 ft (185.93 m)

Features

Wildlife
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Cave

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

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