[out of 5]
|For:||Uphill, but relatively short|
This version of the hike starts at Tunnel Trail. There is another way to get here, starting at Jesusita Trail.
Beware of kamikaze mountain bikers on this trail.
This hike is a relatively moderate hike, especially if you are in good condition. One thing to consider with hiking in Santa Barbara is that the area is not flat. It's all mountains! So an easy hike is one where parts of the hike at least aren't too difficult for the average person, and usually that part is at the beginning so that if it does get too hard you can turn around.
The trail begins on a paved access road that the Edison Company uses. This road is a popular exercise spot for many active Santa Barbarans. You can see people getting their morning and evening workouts running, biking, walking the dog, and taking the kids for a walk year round. The road is about a mile long, which is perfect for a quick workout. The trail begins near the end of the pavement and is wide and maintained. The trail climbs through shady chaparral to a small summit which is another Edison access road, dirt this time. The summit is indistinct, except for the fact that when you reach it you have a beautiful view of the city, the ocean and the Channel Islands. This view makes this a popular sunset hike.
The hike is about 3.5 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 800 ft.
Inspiration Pt. directions
From the Mission, corner of Laguna and Los Olivos Street in Santa Barbara...
Head up Los Olivos toward the mountains. The road makes a jag and becomes Mission Canyon Rd.
At the stop sign, turn right on Foothill Rd.
At the stop sign and fire station, turn left onto Mission Canyon Rd.
At the fork in the road, stay left on Tunnel Rd.
Drive to the end of Tunnel Rd. and park your car. Be careful to park with your tires completely within the line or you will be towed. They are not kidding about that.
Hike up to the end of the road by the large water tank and metal gate across the road. This is the trailhead.
(About 5 minute drive)
From the Trailhead...
The trailhead for Inspiration Point is the same for Tunnel Trail. Pass through the iron, locked gate and follow the paved Edison Rd.
Approximately 3/4 mile cross creek on wooden bridge. Around the bend the road becomes dirt. There is a junction here. To the right the Edison road continues up for a few miles and makes a nice walk or mountain bike ride of its own. For Inspiration Pt., stay straight on the dirt road at this junction.
Go just a little ways, maybe a few hundred yards further, and off to the right is the sign and junction for Tunnel Trail. Continue straight, not taking Tunnel Trail, for a few more yards to the junction on the left for Inspiration Pt. The trial is actually named the Jesusita Trail.
At about the 1 mile mark you will cross the creek. Look straight across the creek to the continuation of the trail.
Hike almost a mile through switchbacks and shady chaparral. Be careful
of poison oak. Best to stay on the trail.
You know you have reached Inspiration Pt. when you arrive at a fire road and see a beautiful view of the city and the ocean. You are at an elevation of about 1750ft.
To get home, return exactly as you came.