Fire and floods have destroyed or made inaccessible many of the trails in our area. Read LPNF Alerts & Notices and SB County Road closure information.
Jump to main content

Santa Barbara Hikes

Diane's Big Adventures

Killer hike to Arlington Peak


Today in the blazing heat we hiked to Arlington Peak. The hike is described as Cathedral Peak here on this site. There are times I do this hike when I think it's really not that bad, why do I always think this hike is so hard? Then there are other times when I do this hike and I think oh my god this is the hardest hike ever. Today was one of those days.

First off we had one member of our group faint right as we reached the spine or dragon's back portion of the hike. He and three others decided not to continue. The rest of us sallied forth. At least two of us found ourselves getting dizzy. I was one of them. I'd take a few steps, start to feel dizzy and have to stop. Four of us took a little break in a breezy spot for a while and even then only two among us made it to the top. In the end, out of about 10 people, only 4 of us made it to the top.

The way down was only slightly easier. I really can't do this hike without a pair of leather work gloves to protect my hands from the rocks. The last little bit, the south-facing slope at the bottom, the rocks were so hot I bet you could have fried an egg on them. One of the hikers carried a thermometer and at times it was 93 degrees, which wasn't too bad, but other times it read 102 or 105, probably because of the heat coming off the rocks.

Once we reached the junction with the Jesusita Trail, we stopped to rest in the shade. We were mostly out of water but there was a cooler with ice and water waiting for us so we perked up a bit and completed the hike. I was amazed coming down Tunnel Trail how many people were going up at the hottest part of the day carrying only small water bottles. One guy was hiking with a cup of coffee! What you really need for surviving a hot day like this is about three of the largest water bottles, or perhaps a full gallon. Plus bring some S-caps or salty things to eat or electrolyte drinks. I took some S-caps and they perked me up pretty well for the last little bit at the end.

During the road walk at the end we talked about how someone died recently on the Tangerine Falls trail. I think people underestimate how dangerous our trails can sometimes be. Often conditions are mild and the hiking is great, but sometimes conditions make hiking into an extreme sport around here. Anyone who can master hiking in all conditions in the Santa Barbara area should understand that you are now an elite hiker. You could do something like the PCT and find it a cake-walk.

P.S. I lost my shirt on this hike somewhere on Tunnel Trail on the paved section or Jesusita before the dry creek crossing. It is a green and gray plaid hiking shirt. It might have had my clip-on sunglasses in the pocket, too. If you found my shirt and want to return it, contact me using my form.