Hot Springs Trail in Montecito is a local secret (I was born here and just went earlier in the month for the first time). The spring was the source for a resort
from 1850-1963 in many forms over the years. The most recent resort was destroyed in the 1964 Coyote Fire and ruins are in the Los Padres National Forest and the area around it is owned by the Santa Barbara Land Trust
. The trail isn't long, but it is quite steep for the littles. The trail is not well marked. Most people go with a local who has been before, but I will try to explain clearly how we went with help from other hikers. Park, hike and swim at your own risk of course.
: Take the 101S to Olive Mill Road. Turn left onto Olive Mill Road which becomes Hot Springs Road. At Mountain Drive, turn left and park in the handful of spaces or safely along the road.
Head up the path following the signs toward the springs. The trail takes you along Hot Springs Road and crosses the river once before coming to a cross road (sign below) about half a mile in.
Take the left trail and follow it for about another half mile. You will cross the stream twice.
When you see this sign (below), head across the stream again (left) and take the path up and around the nearby hill. It will take you away from this stream and to another one nearby.
You get a lovely view of the ocean on a clear day.
After about .3 miles more, you will come to the hot springs.
Trail Rating: Difficult for toddlers and kids not used to hiking, Moderate for others
Distance: 1.4 miles to the hot springs, 2.8 round trip
Time: 1 hour up, 1/2 hour down and time to enjoy the springs
Nearby attractions: Butterfly Beach
, Hammonds Beach and Upper Village Shopping and Restaurants