“A loop through the mountains above Santa Barbara that connects the Cold and Hot Springs Canyons.
— John McKinney
Hot Spring · River/Creek · Swimming · Views
This loop offers great views of Santa Barbara and the coast while featuring multiple swimming pools/hot springs along the way.
Starting from the Cold Spring Trailhead off of Mountain Dr., run 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 Springs Trail climb for another 1/4 of a mile and you'll reach a juncture with the Cold Springs - Hot Springs Cutoff
. Turn right here to follow the cutoff. You'll soon reach the ruins of the Hot Springs Hotel and the famous hot springs that still exist there, at which point you can join up with the Hot Springs Trail
and head down the canyon.
After following the trail, which at this point is a dirt fire road, for 1 mile, you'll reach a vehicle gate before running on the singletrack portion of the Hot Springs Trail
. After following this singletrack for 1/2 of a mile, you'll reach the trailhead for the Hot Springs Trail
off of Mountain Dr. Take a right and follow Mountain Dr. for one mile until you return to the trailhead Cold Spring Trail
, thus concluding the loop.
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
Flora & Fauna
Bamboo, agave, geraniums can all be found surrounding the ruins of the Hot Springs Club, as can palm, banana, and avocado trees.