Jump to main content

Santa Barbara Hikes

Arroyo Burro to the Santa Ynez River Description

Arroyo Burro Trail to the Santa Ynez River

From the Trailhead at the ugly shooting range...

Follow the dirt road past the gun range for about a quarter of a mile. The trail has a narrow sign post that is shot up and easy to miss, but it will be on your left, dropping into a canyon with a tiny creek that may be dry during drier months.

Shortly you will cross the creek and it's likely to have water and possibly a lot of yellow jackets.

The trail has no side trails to lead you astray. Simply follow it as it descends into the beautiful canyon. There will be a couple of creek crossings and you will pass smooth, reddish madrone trees on your way down.

At about 2.5 miles, after walking through a horrible muddy section during most of the wet months, you'll reach a junction that is marked with signs. Stay to the right and then cross the creek in about 2 tenths of a mile.

In about a quarter mile, you will emerge to a dirt road with a large green water tank on your right that is somewhat hidden from view. This is the end of the trail. There is a rusty metal sign somewhere in the area here marking the name of the trail. I usually don't see it until the way back. Turn left at the dirt road to head down to the Santa Ynez River.

It's about a mile to the river. You will pass White Oak Camp which has horseshoe pits, picnic tables, an ampitheater and an empty swimming pool. Next you'll pass a grassy meadow with giant Valley oaks. Finally you will pass another camp that usually has campers in it. Soon you'll find yourself at the river. There's usually no decent place to sit here, so if you want to have lunch, you might have to backtrack to a better location.

To return to your car, simply hike back the way you came. You'll see the water tank and a sign marking the Arroyo Burro Trail on the way back. If you pass the water tank, you missed the trail, so turn back and stay alert. The trail can be a little faint if you aren't paying attention.

Total miles is about 7.25 miles.