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Santa Barbara Hikes

Ellwood Butterfly Grove Description

Ellwood Butterfly Grove

Begin this hike on Coronado Drive, near the end. There is a hill with a sign at the bottom that marks the trail to the butterfly grove. It is an easy to follow trail, but can be muddy with puddles that are hard to go through.

Just follow the trail and you should find the butterfly grove behind a rope among the eucalyptus trees. By the way, the best time to go is in the morning right when the sun warms them up. Their clumps will spontaneously explode in a cloud of swirling butterflies.

When you get to the grove, go up the little paths on either side to get the best view. Be very quiet. Make no sound at all. If it is early morning, before the sun has warmed the butterflies, they will mostly be silent and motionless. They arrange themselves in clumps that look like dried leaves. Look closely, because they aren't leaves. They are butterflies. See how they bend the branches with their weight.

If it is later in the day and the sun has warmed them, they will be fluttering about. If you are absolutely silent you can hear the fluttering of their wings. A clatter of clacking sounds.

Watch where you step because you don't want to trample any that are on the ground. Sometimes you will see one with a tag on it. They are being studied. Dead ones with tags on them will sometimes have instructions. Sometimes they want you to mail them.

After you have watched the butterflies, follow the trail out to the bluff. You can go out to the cliff. To left is a path leading down to the beach. You can have a nice beach walk here. To the right you can follow along the bluff toward the golf course.

It is very nice to walk on the bluffs any time, but especially at sundown when the owls come out.

This land exists here only because of a lot of struggling to preserve it. There are powerful forces trying to develop this land. The locals have been fighting against this for as long as I can remember. I hope they continue to win. After every victory, the developers try again. Someday I am sure that the owls and the kites and the butterflies will not have this bluff anymore. And neither will we.

There is no mileage for this hike. To see the butterflies is only a few hundred feet. The rest is up to you!