Buena Vista and Old Pueblo Trails
[out of 5]
|For:||Steep hills but short|
This short hike is a loop touching 4 different trails. You begin on San Ysidro Trail, take an Edison road for a spell, then reach the Buena Vista trail, walk a short distance along a road to the Old Pueblo Trail, then continue on back to San Ysidro Trail. There is an option to take the Wiman Trail from the Old Pueblo Trail, instead of meeting back at the San Ysidro, which adds another trail to the loop.
Some highlights along the way: The Old Pueblo trail is a Montecito Trails Association horse trail that passes behind some homes in Montecito. Part of the trail passes along the back of a marvelous garden. There are numerous unusual plants, such as proteas, planted along the trail, and you can see amazing blooms growing in the garden beyond the fence. None of this is native, but if you like beautiful gardens, you will enjoy this.
The Buena Vista trail is an unusual trail in that it is "Y"-shaped. The bottom stem ends at Buena Vista Rd. The two branches form a connection between the two sections of the Edison road. You can use the Buena Vista trail as a connector between San Ysidro and Romero trails, although you will also need to spend a long distance walking along the Edison roads to make the full connection. If you do choose to do this connection, there is a tiny side trail to the "Big Chair," which can be fun.
The total distance of the main loop I've described here is a little under 4 miles. There is a very steep uphill section on the Edison road, but otherwise, the hike is not difficult. All the other extra stuff, of course, will add some distance and difficulty!
San Ysidro Trailhead (for Buena Vista, Wiman and Old Pueblo Trails)
From the Mission, corner of Laguna and Los Olivos Street in Santa Barbara...
Get on US 101 going southbound by taking Laguna St. to Mission St. (toward the ocean).
Turn right on Mission St.
Follow Mission St. to the freeway and take US 101 south.
Take the San Ysidro exit. Turn left.
At East Valley Rd. (there is a shopping center), turn right.
Pay close attention as you drive, looking for Park Lane, which is not well marked. You will turn left on Park Lane.
Turn left again at East Mountain Drive.
Park at the end of the road. The trailhead is at the end of the road and is marked by a sign. The Wiman trail is also on this road, and marked, but not quite all the way at the end.
(About 20 minute drive)
San Ysidro/Buena Vista/Old Pueblo Loop
Begin the hike at the San Ysidro trailhead.
At about 1/4 miles, you can see the sign for the Old Pueblo trail and a big garden in someones's back yard. You want to stay on San Ysidro trail, passing through the metal gate on the dirt road.
Just a short ways, at about the 1/2 mile mark, you can see a trail sign. This is the McMenemy trail. It's a nice trail, but for this hike we'll stay on the San Ysidro trail and not take the McMenemy trail.
At approximately the 3/4 mile mark, make a right turn at the fire road. Head very steeply up the hill.
After the climbing is over you should find yourself at some large power towers. You've gone about 1.3 miles now. You can see a sign with a few letters still left on it marking the Buena Vista Trail. It's pretty much the only way you can go because the Edison road you've been on ends here at these power towers.
Take the Buena Vista trail. YouÕll be going downhill now. At about the 1.75 mile mark, just past a creek crossing, youÕll come to a fork. This is the part of the Buena Vista Trail that makes a "Y".
The stem of the "Y" should be on your right and descends to paved Buena Vista Road. The right branch of the "Y" will be on your left and you will have just come down the left branch of the "Y".
If you take the right branch of the "Y" youÕll go back uphill again on numerous switchbacks. At the top youÕll emerge at the Edison Road again which leads to Romero Trail.
But for now, this hike isnÕt that detour. WeÕre taking the stem of the "Y", which is to your right if you havenÕt gotten completely turned around yet. So, turn right at this fork in the Buena Vista Trail. You should be going downhill still and will cross a little creek next to some impressive boulders.
At the end of the trail, at about the 2 and 1/4 mile mark, you'll reach Buena Vista Road. Go right on the road.
There will be a rock wall with a long row of mailboxes about one tenth further. Turn right at the next drive past the mailboxes. Hug the left side of the road so you don't miss the trail when it appears.
See trail sign after a very short distance.
At about the 2 and 3/4 miles mark, you'll come to the junction with the Wiman Trail. It's marked by a sign on the chain-link fence and a fork in the road. The Wiman takes the left fork down and returns quickly to Park Lane where your car will have been parked. Old Pueblo takes the right fork and heads up hill. You can take either one, but I'll describe the Old Pueblo trail because it's got a few twists and turns. The Wiman Trail is pretty easy to follow and short.
Along the Old Pueblo Trail, at about the 3 mile mark, there is a big boulder with a "mouth" in it. Like a ledge for a perfect place to sleep. At this boulder the trail meets a road. Cross the road straight ahead and pass through a metal gate. This road will be old and cracked.
Follow this old road. Hug the left side again so you don't miss the trail when it appears.
At top (and end) of the road, take the trail down. Now you'll be passing along behind that big garden. There will be lots of interesting plants along the trail.
At the 3 and 1/4 mile mark, meet up with San Ysidro Trail at the end of the big garden. The trail is across the road, on right side of road. Avoid the driveway just to be polite.
At about 3 and 3/4 miles you'll read the end, at the San Ysidro Trail sign.
The hike is just under 4 miles.