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Santa Barbara Hikes

Potrero Trail

Portrero Trail to Hurricane Deck

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For:Steep, rugged, remote.
Potrero Trail Meadow
Meadow on Potrero Trail in spring

Portrero Trail is a challenging climb up to Hurricane Deck, where there are amazing vistas of the rugged, remote back country wilderness. It is very very hot in summer and the trail, after it begins climbing out of the river bed, has no water at all and very limited shade. For this reason it is best not to attempt this hike in summer, when temperatures can reach into the 90s and 100s. In fact, it gets so hot on Hurricane Deck that the rocks clink together when you walk on them like high-fired china dishes!

But don't be persuaded against Portrero Trail and Hurricane Deck. The thrill of the sheer cliff vista point, the intense remoteness of the area, and the lure of the name - Hurricane Deck - is what draws you back again and again.

Portrero Trail hike follows the Manzana trail toward the schoolhouse, then veers to the right to climb Hurricane Deck to a pleasant vista. The total mileage is around 8 miles round trip.

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

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By loop I mean Nira, Lost Valley Trail, Hurricane Deck, Potrero Canyon Trail, Nira.
Posted by: Andrew Carter  on  2013-06-25
Did the loop Saturday afternoon (4 hours) and Sunday (7.5 hours). Trails in "good" condition (local rules apply). Thank you volunteer maintainers. Never once lost the trail, even on the Deck. No water in Lost Valley, but the "surprise spring" climbing out of Lost Valley to table lands above is still flowing. For how long, who knows? No water on Manzana Trail downstream from Nira. Upstream, yes. Hot, but not too hot on Sunday (again, local rules apply). Thank you intermittent breeze. Avoid the middle of the day when the ground itself becomes a furnace.
Posted by: Andrew Carter  on  2013-06-25
Hiked this trail to the Hurricane Deck and overall it's in great shape! The bush poppies are starting to pop and some of the smaller wildflowers are starting to show. Should be great hiking until it gets too hot!
Posted by: TrailJunky  on  2013-03-06
Posted by: kirby805  on  2013-02-17
Yesterday I went from the School House to Nira via the Hurricane deck and potrero trails. Potrero is in good shape. No washouts or other issues. Could use a little brushing. If you want to check out this section of trail go for it now. The grass is green and the flowers are out.
Posted by: kfox527  on  2012-04-25
Hiked up the Potrero Trail for a quick 1/2 day hike over the weekend. Manzana and Potrero trails are in excellent shape. Some kind folks have created a log bridge across the Manzana at the Potrero Camp crossing, so no wet feet required at the moment. No running water in any of the creeklets coming off the Deck at the moment. Just a little standing water in the some of the deeper depressions (tenajas) in the sandstone formations. Lots of trash and evidence of use at some of the "secret" camps off the trail up near the Deck. If you pack it in, pack it out. Don't desecrate these special areas with your garbage. Despicable.
Posted by: carp_nb  on  2011-11-16