Hike to Knapp's Castle

0.8 miles  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Julie Cash

Length: 0.8 miles. Panoramic views of Santa Ynez Valley. Old ruins to explore. Close to wine country.

One of the many hidden gems near Santa Barbara, Knapp's Castle is an abandoned home built in 1916 by George Knapp. Finding the trailhead can be difficult because it's not clearly marked and the road it's starts from is long, winding and narrow. Coming from the 154, turn right on East Camino Cielo and drive three miles east to a small pullout on the right hand side of the road. Across from the pull out is a gated dirt road on the left where you'll find the start of the trail.

Once on the trail it is a very short walk to the ruin of Knapp's castle which includes stone walls and stairs, arches, and fireplaces. One portion is set up to look like an amphitheater and is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic, a bottle of wine or just to sit and watch the sunset.

The upper portion of the ruins contain the best views, with the focal point being the arched windows where you can see the Santa Ynez River Canyon, Lake Cachuma, and the San Rafael Mountains. Don't miss out on the lower portion though, to the left there is a small stairway that will lead down to a beautiful tree which has a rope swing tied to it. It's hard to beat swinging on a rope in the mountains while you watch the sunset.

There is good food and live music to be had relatively close after you return to the 154 at Paradise Store & Grill. If you are into wine tasting, Los Olivos is not too far from here. My favorite vineyard is Koehler off of Foxen Canyon. Dan will set you up with a tasting and chances are you will want to buy a case. Stop buy and grab some wine to take to Knapp's and enjoy the view.

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Best Experience Ever

My boyfriend and I first told each other we loved each other at this beautiful, romantic spot. Highly recommend. Bring a blanket to sit on and glasses of wine. Sunset was astonishing. Only a five minute walk from the road.

about 3 years ago

Not a Hike

It's not really a hike, the walk is extremely short. The views are spectacular. Worth the visit if you're in the area

Easy Access to Panoramic Views

Just a short walk and you're treated to wonderful views of mountain wilderness, Cachuma lake and even the Pacific Ocean on a clear day.

šŸ„‰Contributor

over 4 years ago

Amazing Ruins!

Just recently ventured here with a group of friends and we were astounded by how incredible these ruins are and the amazing views of the Santa Ynez mountains. Easy parking and a short walk to an amazing destination. Knapp's Castle ruins are ideal for photographs and climbing and, even though the area is privately owned, it's open to the public. Definitely a hidden gem in Southern California!

Beautiful Location

I remember going to this little castle when I was younger and I would always stand on the top of the arches and watch the orange glow of the valley slowly calm down into a deep blue. Highly recommend this location for anyone who wants to watch a beautiful scene or to have a nice picnic on the arches.

Stay Nearby

Snyder Trail

Sage Hill

Overview Nestled in the Santa Ynez Mountain Range, Sage Hill Campground is a great group camping spot with easy access to the Santa Ynez River. Spend time fishing or take in the epic scenery on one...

Santa Barbara, California

Los Prietos

Overview Los Prietos Campground is situated in the Los Padres National Forest and provides access to a variety of outdoor adventures, including water-related recreation and hiking. The family-frien...

Santa Barbara, California

Paradise Campground

Overview Paradise Campground is a beautiful place to enjoy California's westernmost national forest. It provides access to a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, horseback ...

Santa Barbara, California

Fremont Campground

Overview Fremont Campground is a family-friendly facility located just off California's western coast. It provides access to a variety of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, as well as some...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike La Cumbre Peak via Tunnel Trail

    Tunnel Trail is a great way to get to the top of La Cumbre Peak. You get to the trail head by taking Tunnel Road until it dead ends at a large water tower, there you can park your car and start on foot. You take spyglass ridge road up which is a p...

    10 miles 3000 ft gain

  • Hike to Inspiration Point in Rattlesnake Canyon

    Hike up the 3.5 mile trail to an unbeatable vista that will leave you smiling despite the chronic uphill that got you there. Inspiration point is in Rattlesnake Canyon State Park, so, naturally, be on the lookout for slithery reptile friends. Be s...

    3.5 miles 800 ft gain

  • Paraglide at Elings Park

    Santa Barbara is known for its incredible terrain. Paragliding at ElingsĀ Park is anĀ amazing way to take in the gorgeous local scenery from an entirely new perspective.Ā Youā€™ll get your blood and adrenaline pumping as you challenge yourself to try s...

  • Hike the Cold Spring Trail to Montecito Peak

    Park in the lot east of where Cold spring creek intersects Mountain Road. The correct trailhead is the one with the wooden sign, do not take the trail with a rusty metal sign. Begin your ascent and at the first fork stay right on East Fork. You wi...

    6.8 miles 1939 ft gain