Tunnel Trail - Running

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This is a tough mountain run with rugged terrain, steep climbs, and high mileage.

Written by

Courtney Johnson


11.0 miles

Shorter routes are possible

Destination Distance From Downtown

5.0 miles


4 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

2 hours


All Seasons

All Seasons

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits



Land Website

Tunnel Trail



If you're looking for a tough run, Tunnel Trail offers aggressive mountain terrain with stunning views. Winding through the rugged canyons, there are plenty of rocks, switchbacks, and city views to keep you going for more mileage and higher elevations. You can make it a four mile loop when you connect it with Rattlesnake Canyon Trail; this also give you 3,000 feet of elevation gain. The full Tunnel Trail to La Cumbre Peak, the highest point in Santa Barbara at 3,995, is somewhere between 9 and 11-miles.

What Makes It Great

Steepness abounds! For those who love rocky, scrappy trails that have decent (if challenging) footing, this is your trail. The 11 mile out and back is a great way to get in some serious vertical while taking in wonderful views. 

Who is Going to Love It

Runners looking to get in some serious vertical will love the challenging options, especially on the longer runs. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From SantaBarbara.com:

From the Santa Barbara Mission, drive towards the mountains. At the stop sign, turn right on Foothill Road. At the stop sign (and fire station), turn left onto Mission Canyon Road. At the fork in the road, stay to the left on Tunnel Road. Drive to the end of Tunnel Road to the parking area. 

Warning: if your tires are not completely within the parking line and your car  sticks out into the road, you will be towed. Seriously. On weekends most of the parking areas near the top of Tunnel Road are filled with cars, so you will likely have to park quite a bit further down. Walk to the end of Tunnel Rd until you reach a metal gate, where the trail head begins.

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Tunnel Trail

Santa Barbara, CA,
34.490841, -119.68982

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