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.
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Santa Barbara Hikes

Refugio to El Capitan State Beach

Refugio to El Capitan State Beach

[out of 5]
 *  *  * 1/2
For:Can be rugged, possibility to have to climb a difficult rock if the tide is not low enough.

This hike will start at Refugio only because free parking is a little easier to find. You can do this hike from El Capitan, too, if you want, too. Free parking there is a little further from the beach than at Refugio, and paid parking is only about $3 or so.

Some people say "Re FOO Gee Oh" and others say "Re FOO He oh" and still others, and I can't figure out why on earth, say "Re FOO Fee oh." Is there a second F in there?

This beach hike is nice because it's about 4 or 5 miles long, has a way back along a bike path, has nice tide pools with fat pink starfish to look at, and great secluded and not-so secluded beaches. There is even a snack bar at both ends in case you get hungry or thirsty, plus restrooms, too.

Boulder, CO Leave No Trace Frountcountry program

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We did the walk from El Cap to Refugio before the rain came Sat 12/19, and the trail conditions have not changed since the last update in 2012. However, some time soon what is left of the bike path will fall into the ocean. Also you cannot walk whole length on the beach even at low tide. We were the only ones on the trail this day and it is treasure. [img] [/img]
Posted by: jimtreeves  on  2015-12-29
Okay, so yes you can still get through all the way from El Capitan to Refugio....Barely! Caution to those who dare! You can do it as I did today 10/29/12. But it is clear the erosion is taking over and this particular section of bike path will soon be fish food. [img:7870e4bddc][/img:7870e4bddc] This is the sign posted at the west end of El Capitan. [img:7870e4bddc][/img:7870e4bddc] [img:7870e4bddc][/img:7870e4bddc] To the left of the gate is access around it :D [img:7870e4bddc][/img:7870e4bddc] Path maintenance is non-existant. [img:7870e4bddc][/img:7870e4bddc] It gets narrow in some areas. [img:7870e4bddc][/img:7870e4bddc] And a little scary in others. [img:7870e4bddc][/img:7870e4bddc] View of gate closure coming from Refugio.
Posted by: ElCapman  on  2012-10-30
I've hiked it multiple times but down on the beach during minus tides. Beautiful. I did go part way on the bluff top bike path from El Capitan, I didn't notice any trail closures (Jan - March 2011). Last time I was at Refugio it was a minus tide late in the afternoon so I decided to do something different and hike around the point toward Gaviota. It was gorgeous! And that day was one of the best sunsets I've seen, a picture of that is on my webpage at [url][/url] Of any beach hike I've ever done this one rates in my top two favorites.
Posted by: Luv2Hike  on  2011-03-12
[quote:b433dffb89="katiekatrina"]the bike path is closed :cry:[/quote:b433dffb89] Well, yes and no. Yes, it is technically closed. However, you can still easily hike/bike the whole distance by skirting the two closure fences (as many people do).
Posted by: rallison  on  2010-07-01
the bike path is closed :cry:
Posted by: katiekatrina  on  2009-03-09
Post your updates here.
Posted by: Diane  on  2005-03-24