Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Trail

Difficulty
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Very Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
0.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
2.1 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
52 m
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Directions to Trailhead
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Trail

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Trail boasts a magical experience that hikers of all skills, abilities, and ages can enjoy. Immerse yourself in the botanical garden abundant with a diversity of the area’s native flora, historic landmarks, epic overlooks, and the Mission Dam and Aqueduct.

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Route Description for Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Trail

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Trail is a lovely adventure that the whole family can enjoy. Note the path attracts plenty of explorers year-round, so expect to share the trail. Visit on weekdays and after 2 PM for a more tranquil experience, and if you are a member, head out between 9-10 AM when the park is closed to non-members. If you are not a member, the Botanic Garden charges an entrance fee of $16USD for adults and $8USD for children ages 3 to 17. Be wary of poison oak as you explore.

Located on the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains, the undulating path through the lush flora offers incredible views of the sandstone craggy peaks along the way. Marvel in the scenes of the mountains, the Mission Dam and Aqueduct, immense outcroppings, and historical features along the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Trail. Included with an entrance fee is the opportunity for a guided tour, and if time permits, we encourage you to take advantage of this bonus! Learn more about the area’s native flora and fauna from the countless interpretive signs that line the path or from a guide. Either way, you will be immersed in the history and ecology of the beautiful botanical garden.

Your adventure along the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Trail begins from the western entrance off the parking lot. Setting out from here, you will be guided north along a paved trail through the Meadow. Enjoy the scene of the encompassing lush meadowlands and the sights of the looming sandstone crags. Continue wandering north, and you will eventually enter the Redwoods along the Woodland Trail. Leading you into a forest of mixed-conifers and redwoods, the path will abruptly redirect you south, and the pavement will end. Now trekking southwardly along the dirt route, you will soon reach the Mission Aqueduct and Dam– marvel at the scene of the beautiful creek.

From the dam, you will merge onto the Canyon Trail, which meanders along the curves of Mission Creek through the Canyon. Enjoy the soothing sounds of the running creek as you will soon be diverted away from the water onto the Easton Aqueduct Trail. Loop this path through the meadow before tracking the Lower Rock Crossing over Mission Creek into the Manzanita and Arroyo sections of the garden. Here, you can complete the circuit or cross over Mission Canyon Road into the eastern wing. We hopped across the street and hiked south down to Island View.

On a clear day, you will be granted vistas of Santa Barbara, the Pacific Oceans, and the profile of the Channel Islands. After admiring the views, retrace your footing back up to the Plant Propagation Facility and onto the Porter Trail. Take the rightmost branch of the trail, looping through the lush flora and hiking down the steps back to the intersection. If you still have the itch to explore, head back into the gardens and indulge in its beauty. If you have enjoyed the lovely environment enough, simply track across Mission Canyon Road and back to your vehicle—marking the end of your adventure.

Trail Highlights

Santa Barbara Botanical Garden

The Santa Barbara Botanical Garden is a 78 acre botanical garden near Santa Barbara city. This location boasts a magical ambiance, exhibiting the beautiful flora in their native environment. Founded in 1926, the Garden only became a Santa Barbara County Historical Landmark in 1983. This wonderful garden has attracted eager explorers year-round and has hosted plenty of weddings and special events.

Unfortunately, in 2009, part of the Botanic Garden was burned in the Jesusita Fire—though the gardens have regrown, there are still indicators reminiscent of its traumatic history.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to explore the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden?

Admission to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden costs $16USD for adults and $8USD for children ages 3 to 17. Note there are discounts for seniors and students.

How big is the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden?

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden encompasses 78 acres of land.

Insider Hints for Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Trail

  • If you are a member of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, you can enjoy a member-only hour from 9AM-10AM every day
  • Visit on weekdays and after 2PM for a more tranquil experience
  • Be aware of poison oak
  • Mind your footing as the terrain is uneven
  • The garden is unshaded so be so wear SPF

Getting to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Trail Trailhead

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is located off Mission Canyon Road in Santa Barbara.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    No

  • When to do

    Year-round

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    Yes

  • Route Signage

    Good

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Trail Elevation Graph

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