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Santa Barbara Hikes

Rattlesnake Trail

Rattlesnake Trail and the Connector

[out of 5]
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For:Uphill, but relatively short
Star Lily
Star Lily on Rattlesnake Connector

This trail doesn't necessarily mean you will encounter a rattlesnake! That is just the name of the canyon. One canyon over from Tunnel Trail, this hike is also within 15 minutes of downtown. There is almost always plenty of water in the creek, and the trail is always shady, making this the most popular trail in Santa Barbara. It is also relatively easy compared to just about all the other trails in the area. It is well-maintained, gentle, and there are no mountain bikes allowed. 3.5 miles round trip.

The trailhead is adjacent to Skofield park and is marked by a very large sign just behind the rock wall on the road. Right away you are creekside, and after crossing the creek you climb up to a fire road. Following the fire road you return to the creek and cross again. The trail stays near to the creek, but not in it, and gently climbs to a meadow. Just above the meadow is a junction. To the left is the Connector which connects Rattlesnake Trail with Tunnel Trail. If you want a strenuous hike after the warm-up to the meadow, continue up the Connector and all the way up Tunnel to East Camino Cielo. Or, for less of an effort, take the other fork in the road and follow the steep switchbacks up a half mile to Gibraltar Road near where the rock climbers practice and the hang gliders take off.

Boulder, CO Leave No Trace Frountcountry program

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Hiked to the meadow on the evening of 8/9/17. On the return ran into a group of 7 bikers at the double stream crossing. When we told them this trail is closed to bikes they said they knew that but had to go this way to get to another trail. Of course this is not true since adjoining trails (Tunnel and Cold Springs) are easily accessed from their own trailheads or roads.
Posted by: BillF  on  2017-08-23
Did this hike with my mom yesterday, May 14th. Was pretty overcast, which made for perfect weather for the open areas; no sunburn this time. Only went through about .5 litres of water each; and of course my dog Shio lapped up the creek water. The creeks were flowing nicely for this time of year. Was still able to rock hop rather than slosh through creek crossings though. Falls flowing nicely. Facing trailhead, we took the right side entrance and happened across the old dam remains...nice climbing. Pictures can be seen here:
Posted by: calli  on  2011-05-16
Want to hike it today. Are the creeks crossable? Txs. Mark
Posted by: Markpsf  on  2011-04-15
Hiked the Connector and Rattlesnake on the way down from Camino Cielo yesterday (Monday, 10/4/2010). As many have pointed out, the Connector from Tunnel to the meadow is in pretty bad shape. But once to the meadow, itís fantastic and even as dry as itís been there was a surprising amount of water in the creek. Lots of folks out for an afternoon stroll with their dogs. Some of those pines the Sierra Club planted after (I think) the Coyote Fire donít look like they survived the latest fire(s), as some are dying (does anybody know what kind of pines those are?). Bigleaf maples just starting to drop some yellow leaves in the pools; very Vermont. ;-) Really nice to see how little of the trail (in the ravine) was burned. Some photos at: [url][/url] [url=][img:f6a5638c3f][/img:f6a5638c3f][/url] C
Posted by: Cross Tie Walker  on  2010-10-06
Hiked the stretch between the Tunnel Junction and Gibraltar Road for a warm late-morning hike today (Monday, 9/20/10) while on our way up to Camino Cielo. The track is gullied a bit at a few spots, but overall the erosion bars have really held their own post-fire. The oaks and bays are never-say-die, putting out new growth and coming back pretty well. No water at the main crossing, but the little western tributary was flowing pretty well (much to the dog's delight). We shared a tin of sardines at the Connector Junction beneath the huge oak; a great little jaunt. Photos at [url][/url] [img][url=][img:54ab910329][/img:54ab910329][/url] [url=]Rattlesnake Canyon[/url] [/img]
Posted by: Cross Tie Walker  on  2010-09-21
Hiked up Rattlesnake to Camino Cielo, Sat. 7/3/10, the Tunnel Trail Connector is in terrible condition, lots of loose scree, sticker bushes and poorly maintained portions, seemed kinda dangerous. The remaining part of the hike was awesome, including the down towards Gibralter. Would like to see a day dedicated to trail repair. Any thoughts?
Posted by: bart merrill  on  2010-07-04