Red Rock is a day use area on the hike along Gibraltar Trail off Paradise Road. There are cool pools in the Santa Ynez River for swimming and rock jumping. It is a bit of a trek from Santa Barbara, but so worth it on a hot day.
The closest pool is about half a mile walk from the parking lot. It can get crowded here on a warm day, especially on the weekend. The crowd often leaves trash and can be noisy (music, etc). We had a peaceful time on the backside of the first pool but if you can walk further, you can find quieter pools up the trail further. The next time we go I would take a trail map to navigate. (We did go further up the trail, but found the path difficult to follow through the river bed.) The end of the trail is at Gibraltar Reservoir and part of a 6.5 mile loop.
The rocks are fun to jump off, but be aware of where you are landing. A woman had a compound fracture to her leg and had to be air lifted out on the day we were there.
The road there requires crossing the river several times, so be sure you know how to cross safely through that water level. While the trailhead is open year round, the road is not open when the river it too high. The day use areas require a $10 day use permit or an annual pass for $50. There is parking space for almost 150 vehicles. There are pit toilets, but no water or food supplies as well as now trash pick up. Pack everything in and out.
|Red Rock First Pool From the Path|
|Red Rock First Pool (Back Section)|
|Red Rock First Pool From the Back Side|
Lake Cachuma Camping