Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
9,024.00 ft (2,750.52 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
28.30 mi (45.54 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.

Santa Ynez Mountains Loop is a 28-mile trail located in the Los Padres National Forest east of Montecito, California, southeast of Santa Barbara and just a 1.5 hour drive from Los Angeles. The trail consists mainly of single-track, with some fire roads, and features creeks, wildflowers, and spectacular views of the ocean and mountains. The area is accessible throughout the year and is popular with hikers, backpackers, trail runners, and mountain bikers. 

Interestingly, The Santa Ynez Mountains are part of the Transverse Ranges of southern California, a series of mountain ranges that run along the Pacific Coast and are unique in that they are the only group of mountain ranges that run east-west, as opposed to the other mountain ranges in California that run north-south. 

A small parking area is available at the Romero Canyon Trailhead, off Bella Vista Road, where the loop begins and ends. The trailhead can be crowded, especially on the weekends, so arrive early if you want a place to park. Along this loop, there is plenty of water; however, the water obtained from the rivers and streams must be filtered. 

The loop was completed as a two-day overnight backpacking trip in the clockwise direction, however, it could easily be done in the reverse direction as well. In addition, Romero Canyon Trailhead offers access to a wide variety of trails that can be used to extend or shorten this loop to accommodate a range of interests, activities, and fitness levels. 

There are lots of camping opportunities in Los Padres National Forest that range from fully established campgrounds to the more primitive sites. For more information about camping visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/lpnf/recreation/camping-cabins

For more information about hiking in the Santa Ynez Mountains visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/lpnf/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=11092&actid=50

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall
Winter
Summer

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National Forest Pass

Open Year-round

Yes

Days

2

Pros

Ocean Views. Mountain Views. Creeks. Forest. Canyons.

Cons

Crowds.

Trailhead Elevation

991.00 ft (302.06 m)

Highest point

3,462.00 ft (1,055.22 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Waterfalls
Wildlife
Wildflowers
Bird watching
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

Yes

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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