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Santa Barbara Hikes

Lost Valley Trail

Lost Valley Trail

[out of 5]
 *  *  *  * 1/2
For:Relatively level, long if you do the whole thing, trail is overgrown or crumbly and remote.
Vulture Spring
Vulture Spring, the spring on Lost Valley trail

Lost Valley Trail begins along the Manzana Trail from Nira Campground. But instead of heading to the Narrows, you veer off to the left and head up Sulfur Creek.

The trail used to be a road long ago, but the vegetation has closed in significantly, making it a trail again.

The trail crisscrosses a small creek that almost always has water in it, no matter how late in the season it gets. At some places there is the distinctive smell of sulfur that gives the creek its name.

As you travel up Lost Valley trail you enjoy riparian vegetation, sparser hillside scrub, and occasional pine trees which rustle gently in the wind.

About 3 miles in there is a small camp next to the creek. Another mile in there is another camp beneath a huge oak tree.

Then the trail begins to climb up the mountain, making a looping switchback.

At the 4.5 mile mark is a natural spring. This is the last source for water for those heading further up the trail, and the first source of water in 18 miles for those who have been hiking the Hurricane Deck Marathon.

The spring makes a nice destination of its own, being in the shade and surrounded by bird feathers. The spring is the watering hole for the local fauna as well as hikers!

You can continue up Lost Valley for several more miles. The terrain changes and becomes more and more rugged and remote. There are many unusual rock formations and impressive cliffs to look at. A good stopping point is at the rock formations. This makes the hike a total of 14 miles round trip. But you can continue far into the back country for days. You are encouraged to get a topo map and plot out a back pack trip.

You will need an Adventure Pass Pass to park at the trailhead.

Boulder, CO Leave No Trace Frountcountry program