“An out-and-back trail run from Santa Barbara to Inspiration Point and Seven Falls.
— John McKinney
River/Creek · Views · Waterfall
Utilizing Tunnel Trail South
, the Jesusita Trail
, and the Inspiration Point Spur
this out-and-back run takes you to Inspiration Point for stunning views of Santa Barbara, the Goleta Valley, and the Channel Islands. Another short side trip on the Seven Falls Trail
will take you to Seven Falls where you can see seven falls cascading into pools which are also some of the best front-country swimming holes. The best time to visit is in late spring.
From Tunnel Trail South
trailhead at the end of Tunnel Rd., run past the locked gate and onto the paved road. After being on Tunnel Trail South
for 3/4 of a mile you'll make a sharp left turn to cross Mission Creek on a bridge before suddenly reaching a small waterfall beside the trail. From here, run a little ways further along Tunnel Trail South
until you reach a trail junction. Tunnel Trail South
will follow the hill upward to the northeast, but you'll want to turn left to join up with the Jesusita Trail
, a dirt footpath.
Following the Jesusita Trail
you'll quickly descend to Mission Creek and reach another junction with the Seven Falls Trail
, which diverges to the right. Stay to the left to continue on the Jesusita Trail
, cross the creek, and follow the switchbacks as they climb up the canyon wall to a juncture with a powerline road atop the mountain, From here the Jesusita Trail
takes a right-hand turn. However, you'll run straight ahead on the Inspiration Point Spur
to reach Inspiration Point, which offers great views of the coast. Once you've taken in all that Inspiration Point has to offer, you can turn around and follow the same route back to Tunnel Rd.
If you are feeling adventurous on the return trip, take the short spur on Seven Falls Trail
. The short Seven Falls Trail
follows along Mission Creek where there’s a bit of scrambling before you'll arrive at Seven Falls about 200 yards further. You'll get nice views of the canyon, Santa Barbara, and the Channel Islands from this vantage point, and can enjoy a nice dip in the pools at the base of the falls in the warmer months.
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