San Ysidro Trail - Hiking

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This 9-mile roundtrip is a strenuous out-and-back route with a lot of climbing and a nice waterfall along the way.

Written by

Courtney Johnson


9.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

4.7 miles


3 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

4 hours


All Seasons

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits


Land Website

San Ysidro Trail



Beginning in Montecito, the San Ysidro Trail is a 9-mile round trip. It's an out and back, strenuous and exposed hike that takes you to East Camino Cielo Road and back down. The trail begins in a residential area. Just past the two mile mark, you will come upon a waterfall named after the trail (a popular turn around destination). While impressive and refreshing when flowing strongly, the waterfall and creek are fairly dry most of the year, and only full during a good rainy season (typically Jan-Apr). 

What Makes It Great

The first reward on this rugged hike is the waterfall. When you reach it, you'll have already done about 1,500 feet of climbing. The trail becomes less defined after this point. It also becomes quite steep and exposed. Snakes and lizards are common to see on the trail; so is chaparral. There are no services at the trailhead, so be sure to bring a lot of water and the necessary clothing. This is a tough workout- whether hiking or trail running. 

Who is Going to Love It

Hikers are going to get a good workout on this trail. It's a good half-to-all day out at an average pace. The exposed upper portions of the trail can get very hot in the summer, so consider saving this one for the cooler months. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations


From the Mission, corner of Laguna and Los Olivos Street in Santa Barbara...Get on US 101 going southbound by taking Laguna St. to Mission St. (toward the ocean).Turn right on Mission St.Follow Mission St. to the freeway and take US 101 south.Take the San Ysidro exit. Turn left.At East Valley Rd. (there is a shopping center), turn right.Pay close attention as you drive, looking for Park Lane, which is not well marked. You will turn left on Park Lane.Turn left again at East Mountain Drive.Park at the end of the road. The trailhead is at the end of the road and is marked by a sign.


San Ysidro Trail

Montecito, CA,
34.446005, -119.62224

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