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Santa Barbara Hikes

Red Rock

Red Rock

[out of 5]
For:Exposed to the sun, with many creek-crossings, but short.

The Rey Fire may have closed access to this trail. Check with the USFS.

Red Rock, at the end of Paradise Road on the Santa Ynez River is one of the most popular weekend destinations for summertime fun. It's a local party spot. Families, teenagers, hikers and all kinds of people come to this area to enjoy the deep swimming holes, picnic spots and campgrounds along the Santa Ynez River. This area is a car camping/picnic spot.

You will need an Adventure PassPass to park your car in the area.

The hike to Red Rock is only about 2 mile or less, round trip, but you will get your feet wet sloshing through the creek.

Red Rock is a deep swimming hole popular to weekenders. Sometimes drunk teenagers dive from the 40 foot cliffs into the narrow pool below, sometimes fatally, sometimes successfully. For this reason, and because there is a lot of drinking in the area, there is a strong police presence on summer weekends.

Past the Red Rock swimming hole you can continue sloshing your way along the creek, following an old jeep road to another deep swimming hole or two, and then at about the 3.5 mile mark, reach Gibraltar Dam, the reservoir for the City of Santa Barbara.

There is also an option to hike a high road to Gibraltar Dam and return to your car along the river.

The round-trip to the dam is about a 6 mile round trip hike.

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