Step outside virtually anywhere in Santa Barbara and you’ll see mountains ripe for a hike. Easy half-day hikes with massive upside (think waterfalls and swimming holes when rain storms allow) abound such, as Seven Falls and Rattlensnake Canyon. More challenging hikes like Gaviota Peak and Arlington Peak are also easily accessible but deliver views at the top that rival those of much harder to access wilderness routes.
If you are short on time, hiking any of the many nature preserves in town, like the Wilcox Property or Elwood Mesa or Parma Park, will give you what you need without eating up much of your schedule. And, if a few nights on the trail is more your scene, you need look no further than places like the Sespe, Dick Smith, or San Rafael Wilderness portions of the Los Padres National Forest for a wide variety of options. The nearby Channel Islands National Park, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands, specifically, also offer memorable hiking options.
Retailers: Mountain Air SportsREI