Gaviota Peak and Campbell Trail, with a side trip to the hot spring
[out of 5]
|For:||Long, steady uphill if you do the peak. Add primitive trail and even longer if you do Campbell trail. Give it a 1 if you go just to the hot spring.|
The entire trail is a wide path that leads upwards with successively higher vistas of the 101 freeway winding through the hills. There is vegetation along the trail but not enough to give much shade so wear a hat. The trail is uniformly and moderately steep most of the way but gets slightly steeper at the end. At the top of the peak you get a fantastic view of the ocean which is hidden throughout the rest of the trail since you climb from behind the mountain. There is a register kept in a sturdy metal can at the peak where you can record your achievement. A nice side trip is a short hike from the trailhead to a hot spring. It's nice to take a dip in the pool after the hike or just sit on the rocks with your feet dipped in.
- If you do Gaviota Peak, your total will be around 6 or 7 miles.
- If you do the Campbell trail loop, your total will be around 11 miles.
- If you just go to the hot spring, it's about 1 mile total round trip.
There is a fee to park your car. Last time I was there it was $2 but it could change. The trail is part of the California State Park system.
Gaviota Peak and hot spring UpdatesUpdate trail conditions
Posted: February 9, 2013, 9:54 pm
Posted: May 2, 2011, 8:49 pm
Posted: March 12, 2011, 4:33 pm
Can't wait until I go back here again! BTW the parking fee was still $2, I parked at the lot off Hwy 1 & 101. And I didn't notice any trash along the trails, if I had I would have picked it up. Thanks Santa Barbara Hikes! Your site is a great help!
Posted: November 10, 2010, 11:14 am
Posted: October 3, 2010, 5:21 pm
We had a different plan that proved too challenging and ended up in the creek along Campbell Trail with the choice of backing out or continuing. We chose the latter after so much skin in the game knowing full well the conditions ahead.
I often wonder why Campbell Trail is still included on SB Hikes under "Gaviota Peak and Campbell Trail, with a side trip to the hot spring" as it is long abandoned and hardly what most are looking for on a Sunday stroll in the hills. Web crawlers pick up on this to spawn the “attraction” in misleading hiking sites that only add to the confusion. At least the western trailhead is hard to spot.
Let me state definitively here and now Campbell Trail is NOT reasonable or pleasant after being abandoned by the Forest service. It has stagnated since our Spring hike there and the charming Corrie Meadow hardly compensates for the pain of crawling through the scratchy and clinging brush tunnel to get there.
There are several ambiguous parts of the "trail" that can mislead you into a heap of suffering. We knew better this time and compensated by hiking up Beacon Hill and getting some good shots of the Overlook rocks looking west.
Oh, and the highway up Gaviota Peak has been improved recently by grading the State Park section. This was never a problem for hikers anyway.
Posted: November 15, 2009, 9:25 am
Posted: June 10, 2009, 4:28 pm
It was very crowded for a wed. morning imho. The "Santa Ynez womens hiking club" was out with their group of 18 hikers, and a dozen of the vandenberg Hotshots were up there in full turnouts, axes and trail gear doing (presumably) fire prevention work.
Just as everyone said, this hike DOES seem longer going down then up. I think it's because it's not all that steep so you don't really tax yourself too much on the climb unless you're trying to push the pace.
The hike up is about the easiest 2k of vertical you could ask for though because of it's sustained "not too steep" pitch. The view from the top is outstanding, and might even inspire you to hike a different trail nearby (as it did me, and I'll be back out there soon).
Overall, I'm a mission canyon regular who probably needed to branch out a bit anyway, so I'm gonna look at the fire closures as opportunities. I already miss mission canyon though...I hope it gets reopened soon.
Posted: May 18, 2009, 4:09 pm
A long stretch of the trail going down from the peak to the junction with Trespass Trail is currently infested with deer ticks. If you don't like ticks don't try to go through there because they were numerous and impossible to avoid.
That being said, I thought this was a really nice hike. The parking fee at the lot described here was still $2. The hike up the peak is quite a workout but the views are great.
Posted: March 29, 2009, 1:21 pm
Posted: March 1, 2009, 1:50 am
This hike was absolutely beautiful, first of all - we went up the main route, and came down Trespass. Trespass is extremely overgrown, but also very green and pretty right now, with lots of wildflowers.
On our way down we actually had multiple snake encounters - first there were 3 different gopher snakes (I think). The last of those was 2-3 feet long and was happily lying across the trail with a pretty sizable meal bulging his stomach. I came within a few inches of stepping on him, and we actually had to lift him aside with a stick before he'd move.
Then finally we had to get past a rattlesnake, which we never actually saw, but it made a lot of noise. It was not easy getting a seriously snake-phobic person past that! steep