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blueBlack Montecito Peak

  3.5 ( 2 ) Favorite


7.0 mile 11.3 kilometer out and back


Ascent: 2,352' 717 m
Descent: -2,352' -717 m
High: 3,167' 965 m
Low: 815' 248 m


Avg Grade: 13% (7°)
Max Grade: 69% (35°)


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Trail shared by John McKinney

This out-and-back hike takes you through Cold Spring Canyon to the summit of Montecito Peak.

John McKinney

Features River/Creek · Swimming · Views


Following the Cold Spring Trail and the Montecito Peak Connector, this challenging, but rewarding, hike offers stunning views of the Santa Barbara area after you gain more than 2,000 ft. of elevation.

Need to Know

Re-opened after the December 2017 the Thomas Fire Closure. Use caution around loose soils, rolling rocks, and unstable portions of the trails. USFS staff continue to work with local groups and partner organizations to repair damaged sections of trails. Check USFS website for the most up-to-date information.


Starting from the Cold Spring Trailhead off of Mountain Dr., hike for 1/4 of a mile along the trail through forested land to reach the first trail junction. To your left is the West Fork Cold Spring Trail, but you'll want to follow the Cold Spring Trail (a.k.a. East Fork Cold Spring Trail) as it climbs the canyon wall before reconnecting with the creek 1/2 of a mile later. At this point there is a good swimming hole to your right. The Cold Spring Trail then climbs out of the canyon by switchbacking up to the Montecito Overlook point. From here, you'll have stunning views of the Santa Barbara coast and the nearby islands.

To continue on the Cold Spring Trail, climb for another 1/4 of a mile, and you'll reach a juncture with the Cold Springs - Hot Springs Cutoff. Bear left to stay on the Cold Spring Trail, and it will switchback up the canyon while offering great coastal views along the way. 1.75 miles after passing the last trail junction, you'll reach a turn-off for the Montecito Peak Connector. Follow this short, steep path to the summit of Montecito Peak, which sits at 3,214 ft. and offers great views. From here, follow the same route back down to the Cold Spring Trailhead.

Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store.

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