Santa Barbara > Activity Guide > Santa Barbara Hikes > San Ysidro Trail - Waterfall


San Ysidro Trail - Waterfall

Hiking Distance: 4.4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 650 feet

The San Ysidro Trail waterfall hike is relatively easy and is shrouded in trees most of the way which is great for hot days. If you are hiking the right time of year you will see a dozen pools, small waterfalls and a large waterfall at the end of your hike.

Directions to Trail Head

From the 101 freeway exit San Ysidro Road which is just south of Santa Barbara. Turn north towards the mountains and drive 1.0 miles to East Valley Rd (a stop light). Turn right on East Valley Road and drive 0.86 miles to Park Lane. It can be difficult to see the Park Lane sign so look carefully. Turn left on Park Lane and drive 0.39 miles to Mountain Drive. Turn left on Mountain Drive. As soon as you turn left on Mountain Drive you will see a trail head sign for Wiman Trail which is the WRONG trail head. Instead continue driving 300 yards to the end of Mountain Drive. The San Ysidro Trail head will be on your right.

Trail Notes & Photos

Welcome to the San Ysidro Trail head.
The trail is shady nearly the entire way. This a great hike for hot, sunny days
Soon after your hike begins you will encounter an interesting looking house on your left.
Several parts of the trail have hand rails/fences.
0.12 miles - The trail ends at a road. Go left on the road.
0.26 miles - You will encounter a private road/no parking sign on the road. Ignore it and keep walking up the road.
0.28 miles - You will see a trail sign where the dirt trail begins again
0.35 miles - The trail will reach a road again. Keep left and the paved road becomes dirt about 100 feet away and stays dirt trail the rest of your hike.
0.39 miles - Here is the El Pueblo trail which goes off to the right. Stay to the left on the San Ysidro trail.
0.50 miles - Here is a fork in the trail. Unfortunately the San Ysidro trail sign points right down the middle of the fork so it is not clear which direction to take. Stay to the right. The Mcmenemy trail goes off to the left and crosses the creek.
0.63 miles - There is a gate blocking the road here. Just go around it. Everybody else does!
0.69 miles - There is a a huge cactus plant here. Looks kind of cool.
0.88 miles - There is a dirt road off to your right here that goes behind you and up a hill. Just ignore it and keep going straight.
0.96 miles - There is a fork in the path here. A dirt road goes straight and there is a trail that goes up hill to the right. Follow the trail to the right.
1.39 miles - This is your first close approach to the creek. If you come the right time of year you will see a small waterfall on your left.
1.45 miles - If you come the right time of year you will see a couple of small pools on your left.
1.47 miles - There is a short path down to the creek here on your left. If you come the right time of year you will see large pool and small waterfall.
1.60 miles - If you come the right time of year you will see a large pool and small waterfall.
1.66 miles - A section of trail with a pipe railing and steep sides begins here.
1.99 miles - If you come the right time of year you will see a small waterfall in the distance off to the left.
2.05 miles - There is an interesting rock formation to your left on the opposite side of the canyon. You can see where the previously-horizontal sea bed sediments have been pushed vertical due to plate tectonics.
2.09 miles - Most of this trail is shrouded by trees. In this spot, however, you have a nice view of the canyon.
2.14 miles - Here is the first creek crossing and, if you come the right time of year, a nice large pool.
2.20 miles - There is a fork in the trail here with no signs directing you which way to go. One trail curves up a steep hill here off to the right and one goes straight. Go straight to the main waterfall a hundred feet ahead of you.
2.23 miles - You have arrived at the large waterfall for which this trail is named. If you come the right time of year you will see a large waterfall gushing down the hillside. Much of the year it is dry. Today there was just a small amount of water flowing over the fall.


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