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The Best Backpacking in Santa Barbara County

Looking for the best backpacking in Santa Barbara County? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Santa Barbara County. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top backpacking spots in and near Santa Barbara County

  • Montecito, California

    Hike the West Fork of Cold Spring

    If you love the mountains above Santa Barbara but hate the crowds, stick to the canyon trails on the east side. The trails running up Cold Spring canyon offer a variety of experiences without all the noise.To find the West Fork of Cold Spring Trail, take the Olive Mill Rd. exit from the 101 freew...
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  • Ojai, California

    Matilija Falls

    5.0
    4.84 mi / 950 ft gain
    ...If you've read most of my blogs, you'll probably notice I have a fascination for waterfalls! I've done this hike multiple times, but it wasn't until this day where I saw these falls truly in action and what they're meant to look like. Getting here, you'll drive 13.4 miles north on highway 33 f...
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  • Maricopa, California

    Deal Trail

    11.14 mi / 1581 ft gain
    Deal Trail is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a river located near Ojai, California.
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  • Ojai, California

    Shelf Road Trail

    3.52 mi / 338 ft gain
    Shelf Road Trail is an out-and-back trail that takes you past scenic surroundings located near Ojai, California.
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  • Ventura, California

    Beach Camp on Santa Rosa Island

    5.0
    16 mi / 50 ft gain
    This adventure is not for the inexperienced. There is a campground on each of the Channel Islands and even camping at Water Canyon on Santa Rosa Island is moderately difficult, especially in the summer. The payoff is one unlike any other on the West Coast. It is an opportunity to backcountry pack...
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  • Ventura, California

    Camp at the Water Canyon Campground in the Channel Islands NP

    1.5 mi
    You can get a wonderfully detailed description of what to expect from the Channel Islands/Santa Rosa Island and how to get there from fellow Explorer Michael Wigle's "Beach camp on Santa Rosa Island" adventure (which I highly recommend you check out for the information and the photography https:/...
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  • Ventura, California

    Hike to Cavern Point & Potato Harbor

    5 mi
    Tucked away in the Pacific Ocean just 25 mile from the coast, the Channel Islands are one of Southern California’s hidden gems. With towering cliffs and isolated beaches that hug the coast, this place makes you feel worlds away from home. Channel Islands National Park is comprised of five islands...
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  • Ventura, California

    Camp at Scorpion Ranch, Channel Islands NP

    4.0
    0.5 mi
    Accessible only by Ferry, this little known national park is a backpackers dream. You can catch the ferry out of Ventura or Santa Barbara, only a short distance from LA. The ride to the island is around 1 hour.We chose to take Island Packers Ferry out of Ventura to Santa Cruz Island. The ferry le...
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  • Ventura, California

    Backpack to Del Norte Campground on Santa Cruz Island

    5.0
    7 mi / 700 ft gain
    Del Norte Backcountry Campground is located on Santa Cruz Island, one of the islands that makes up Channel Islands National Park. It is California's largest island and is almost three times the size of Manhattan. The easiest way to get to the island is to take Island Packers, a ferry service that...
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  • Los Olivos, California

    Backpack Zaca Ridge

    5.0
    8 mi / 2200 ft gain
    From Santa Ynez, CA take Armour Rd until it hits Happy Canyon Rd, and make a left. Follow this scenic drive through vineyards and oak shaded pastures into the Angeles National Forest. A half-mile section of asphalt is rough from winter storms, so drive slow. The road becomes Sunset Valley Rd and ...
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  • Los Olivos, California

    Manzana Creek and Eastern Hurricane Deck Loop

    24.39 mi / 4685 ft gain
    Manzana Creek and Eastern Hurricane Deck Loop is a loop trail where you may see wildflowers located near Los Olivos, California.
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  • Ventura, California

    Cueva Valdez to Arch Rock Trail

    7.45 mi / 1614 ft gain
    Cueva Valdez to Arch Rock Trail is an out-and-back trail where you may see wildflowers located near Ventura, California.
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  • Ventura, California

    Backpack across Santa Cruz Island

    5.0
    15 mi
    To get to Santa Cruz Island you will need to book a ferry with Island Packers.  On their website you can only  book roundtrip tickets in and out of the same location so for this trip you will need to call and book a ferry in to Prisoner's Harbor and out of Scorpion Anchorage. You can call them at...
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  • Ventura, California

    Del Norte and Montanon Trail to Scorpion Campground

    12.58 mi / 2464 ft gain
    Del Norte and Montanon Trail to Scorpion Campground is a point-to-point trail with scenic views of the Pacific Ocean located in Channel Islands National Park, California.
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  • Los Olivos, California

    Manzanita Creek Trail to Dabney Cabin

    12.74 mi / 1207 ft gain
    Manzanita Creek Trail to Dabney Cabin is an out-and-back trail that is moderately difficult located near Los Olivos, California.
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  • Los Olivos, California

    Manzana Schoolhouse via Manzana Trail

    16.42 mi / 1509 ft gain
    Manzana Schoolhouse via Manzana Trail is an out-and-back trail where you may see wildflowers located near Los Olivos, California.
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