Monarch butterflies migrate to California each November through February and the best place to view them locally is at the Monarch Butterfly Grove. The site is open sunrise to sunset with no admission fee. The grove is adjacent to the Sperling Preserve on the Ellwood Mesa. There is a portable restroom located at the official parking lot. It is recommended that you wear sturdy shoes and bring binoculars. It is best to not visit during or immediately after a rain storm because the area becomes very muddy. Natural trails and rough terrain make it difficult to access by wheelchair.
Official parking for the Monarch Butterfly Grove available at the Ellwood Mesa Open Space parking lot at 7729 Hollister Avenue in Goleta, immediately across the street from Ellwood Elementary School. The grove is a little over a half mile from the parking lot and butterfly trail markers highlight the path. To park closer to the grove head to the Coronado Butterfly Preserve at 420 Coronado Drive in Goleta, which is only 900 feet from the Monarch Butterfly Grove.
The City of Goleta's Monarch Butterfly Docent Program provides public education opportunities for Monarch Butterfly Grove visitors during the over wintering season. Docents can be found at the Goleta Butterfly Grove from mid-November through mid-February on Saturdays and Sundays (weather permitting) between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Monarch Butterfly photos courtesy of John Wardlaw