Sunday, May 29, 2011

Santa Barbara Canyon To Painted Rock By Bike- 5/28/11

Painted Rock, anyone who has every visited this special site along the Sierra Madre Ridge will tell you how great it is. The entire trip starting from Santa Barbara Canyon up the Buckhorn Road and along Sierra Madre Road provides awesome views into Santa Barbara's backcountry that can be found no where else. If you have the time and the endurance try this ride out. Stats: Approx 39 miles round trip, 4800 ft of elevation gained/lost when traveling from the SB Canyon gate(normally 29miles) and about 16 miles round trip when traveling from the McPherson Peak gate.

The gate at Santa Barbara Ranch was locked making this trip 5 miles longer in each direction and most forest gates that are normally opened are currently closed so be sure you call before you head out.

View into the upper cave or "Sapaksi"

The grassy meadow of Montgomery Potrero

View along the Sierra Madre Road

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Santa Barbara Trails Mobile Map Updated/ New Website Content

We are happy to announce an update for the SB Front Country Trails Mobile Map and all new content for our website. The Mobile Map now has two options for viewing- the original, through the web browser on your mobile device or the new and recommended way- "pre-loading" the maps using Google Maps. This pre-loading way provides faster loading times and allows for more content to be displayed. In addition to the new viewing options, more content has been added to the map including more POI's, improved directions, and parking help. Visit our "MAPS" page for complete details on our Mobile Maps.

Check out our website with all new content added including an extensive "Trail Resourses" page with information on trail organizations, trail weather, safety, fitness and more. Be sure to visit the Photo gallery page to see photos from all over your favorite trails.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Save Hot Springs Canyon From Development Forever!

From Land Trust For SB County Website:
Right now we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to preserve forever Hot Springs Canyon - one of the most beautiful and historic private properties in the Santa Barbara foothills.This 462-acre property encompasses all of Hot Springs Canyon, including our signature Montecito Peak. It is largely surrounded by Los Padres National Forest and valuable public watershed land. To the east and west are the rich wildlife habitat of Cold Springs Creek and San Ysidro Creek, with popular public trails that run to the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains. At the heart is the historic Montecito Hot Springs, site of the renown Hot Springs Spa and Hotel that operated from the early 1900s until it burned down in 1964.The long-time family owners have decided it is time to sell their private property, which has been in the family since 1962. The property has been listed for sale with a prominent real estate broker for $11 million.
Under County zoning the owner is eligible to apply for 5-6 residential sites and by conditional use permit, a private day spa.The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County – your local nonprofit conservation group – has negotiated and signed an agreement to purchase Hot Springs Canyon. The purchase price is $8.5 million and the purchase must be completed by December 15, 2011.Our goal is to ensure this land will be permanently dedicated as natural open space for people to experience and enjoy for generations to come.There are no county, state or federal grants available for this project. The key to success is private donations from local people who want to leave this legacy for our community.
The Land Trust, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is seeking lead charitable gifts and pledges toward the purchase cost. Donations are tax deductible as provided by law.At this time, we have funding commitments of approximately $6,600,000, toward a capital campaign goal of $8,650,000.If you believe this community treasure is worth protecting now from development and should be preserved for public benefit, please consider how you can help.
For more information, contact the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County make a pledge, click here for the Hot Springs Canyon pledge form found on the link at the top of the page. Donate now by clicking on the Just Give button or call 805-966-4520

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Front Country Trails Map Goes Mobile!

Ever wish you knew where the correct turn off was for the trail with the great view or waterfall? You forgot your map but had your cell phone, too bad there wasn't a way to access our trails via your smartphone! Now there is!

A map of the entire Front Country Trails with detailed info about routes, distances, elevations, and POI's all available in the palm of your hand. This map was developed using the same data that was collected for the Maintenance Map earlier this year. Now instead of being full of maintenance needs these maps have distance, elevations, points of interest and other information to help you along the trail. By tapping trails, fire roads, or individual icons, detailed information about a trail, trail head, or scenic point will pop up on the screen. Have patience as this can take several seconds to load depending on cell signal.

Here is how it works- KML files of the trails are uploaded to our website which can be accessed from the links "mobile trail maps". Individual trails are listed as is the entire trail system(slower loading time) found at the top of the main page. While browsing the net on your cell phone visit: and click the links. Using iPhone 3 or 4 allow the browser to open the file. Using Droid open file in browser only, when given the option to view in Google Maps or browser- CHOOSE BROWSER.

If you have a GPS enable phone you can locate your exact location on the trail pushing the "my location" button. Choosing the "page" button at the top of the screen provides a list of all the trails and poi's and clicking will place a marker on that location of the map.

Feedback is welcome- tell us what you think!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

McKinley Peak By Bike- 5/7/11

Well bike most of the way and hike the last .5 miles to the top of McKinley Peak. Great ride with at least two water sources along the road- just past Cachuma Pk and at McKinley Springs near the summit. This is definitely one ride you don't want to do when it's super hot out as most of the way it is exposed. Luckily temps this day barely got into the 70's and not too windy. Just a hour drive to Cachuma Saddle this trip is well worth the effort.-D

PS don't forget to sign the summit registrar!

Topo map with elevation profile of the ascent of McKinley Peak Cachuma Peak

Hell's Half Acre- Actually one of nicest points along the Rd Views deep into the San Rafael
Sandstone formation and Hell's Half Acre
McKinley Saddle

View From McKinley Peak into cloudy Santa Ynez Valley

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Santa Barbara County Search And Rescue- Outdoor Safety Tips

As Spring and Summer months approach, Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue along with the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office would like to remind all those venturing into the outdoors to keep in mind the following simple suggestions to help make outdoor backcountry activities safe and enjoyable.

1) Know where you are going. Know the name of the trail you will be hiking. To help orientate yourself, carry a map of the area you will be hiking along with a compass and GPS (with extra batteries). Stay on known marked trails to avoid getting disorientated and potentially lost.

2) Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. Use the planning form* on the final page to make sure the important information will be available in an emergency.

3) Hike with a buddy. Hiking alone, while peaceful and solitary, can cause difficulties should you become lost or injured. Hiking companions can help determine where you are and aid if you get hurt, either by applying first aid or going for help.

4) Prepare appropriately for your hike…physically, mentally and with the right equipment. If this is your first hike of the year, start off with short hikes around your home working up to longer trail hikes.

Mental preparation is also very important. Remember if you are hiking trails anywhere in Santa Barbara County you will find yourself in a wilderness environment. Make sure you mentally condition yourself to deal with conditions such as long steep climbs, temperature fluctuations, wildlife, darkness, and unexpected emergencies such as an injury or becoming lost. Studies have shown those that have a positive mental preparation will have a greater chance of dealing with difficult situations.

Taking the right equipment is also important…this means enough water, food, clothing and other equipment to deal with unforeseen situations. Include the following equipment: a flash light (with extra batteries), first aid kit, toilet paper, emergency blanket, small knife, matches or lighter. You would be amazed at the number of hikers on an afternoon excursion who get caught by dark – especially those on sunset hikes.

And don’t forget two of the most used items that help rescuers to locate you…a whistle and a cell phone. Whistles are heard over greater distances than shouting and do not wear out your voice. SBCSAR has located many people just by hearing their whistle

Cells phones can be an effective tool, but don’t over rely on their technology. Over 75% of the search & rescue calls SBCSAR personnel respond to have involved someone using a cell phone. While they can be extremely useful in the front country they have little or no coverage in the backcountry so understand they are not the perfect communication tool that will bring rescue personnel immediately to your aid. If you are venturing into the backcountry consider looking into a Personal Location Beacon (PLB) or a SPOT device that can be activated in an emergency that will give SBCSAR your location coordinates. A satellite phone is another option.

Cell phones can also be used as a signaling device during the night. Should you find yourself lost and without a flashlight, use your lighted cell phone screen by turning it towards the sound of any search & rescue personnel on the ground or helicopters in the air. With their night vision equipment you will be easier to locate.

5) Lost? - If you find yourself in an unfamiliar area not knowing which direction to go, sit down for a few minutes and gather your thoughts. Think calmly through your situation. If you believe you can track yourself back to a location where you can absolutely identify where you are then do so. However, it you cannot or you still are not finding the right trail, then immediately stop to prevent wandering further away on an unknown path.

If you are somewhere along the front country and have a cell phone then dial 9-1-1 and ask for the Santa Barbara County Dispatch Center. Explain your situation and request search & rescue be activated to find you. If you do not have any reception and you believe you can safely climb to higher ground then do so and try again as this may improve your ability to get a signal.

Find an open area so you can be spotted easier from the ground and air. Once you have contacted County Dispatch the important information to quickly give is your name, location, how many people are with you and your reason for calling. Further details can be given if needed. Stay put after you hang up! If you move without telling anyone then SBCSAR will have more difficulty in locating you. Stay off of your cell phone as much as possible; it will save battery power and keep the line free if SBCSAR or Sheriff’s personnel call you back in order to locate you much more quickly.

6) Clothing - Layering is the key. Stay away from cotton clothing, including socks, as it will absorb your sweat and stay wet longer. Synthetic materials that have “wicking” characteristics are a good choice for your base layer. After that, use light pile clothing for an insulating layer followed by a rain/wind nylon/Gortex shell. Remove or add clothing as need depending on weather conditions and your body core temperature. Bright clothing is also recommended to provide greater visibility if you become lost or in need of assistance.

7) Natural hazards - Be familiar with some of the natural hazards in the area such as rattlesnakes and Poison Oak. While potentially dangerous, rattlesnakes very rarely are deadly. Unless provoked, surprised or cornered, they will do everything they can to get away from you. The best way to avoid an unwanted encounter is to make noises why hiking and watch where you put your feet and hands. If you do encounter a rattlesnake give it room to escape. Do not poke it with a stick or throw rocks at it as it will only become defensive and strike out. If it doesn’t move out of the way, you will want to walk carefully around it, giving it a lot of space.
Poison Oak is growing in abundance following a very wet winter, so learn what it looks like and avoid coming into contact with it. Poison Oak is a woody shrub that is related to poison ivy and poison sumac. It is plentiful below 4,000’ and is generally identified by its oily leaves in groups of three. The leaves can be green, yellow, or red and fall off each year. The leaves and stems contain an oil (Urushiol) that causes a nasty, itchy rash in 85% of the population. It’s powerful stuff so treat this plant seriously.

8) “10 Essentials” - This term is used frequently by those enjoying the outdoors. However, get ten hikers together in one room and you probably will get ten different “10 Essentials” lists. What you should take will depend on the trail and weather conditions you are hiking in. What you wear and carry will be different during a summer hiking trip in the desert versus a spring hike on the Cold Springs Trail in the front country of Santa Barbara. Here’s SBCSAR’s “Essential” list of recommendations (note it is more than 10 items)

The Essentials
• water (1 quart per hour)
• food
• map and compass
• hiking plan left with a friend or in your car
• flashlight
• waterproof matches
• fire starter
• extra clothes (Not cotton!!!)
• whistle
• cell phone
• knife
• sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen, lip balm
• lightweight pack to comfortably carry everything.

9) Hiking with Dogs - Dogs can be wonderful trail companions but remember they need just as much, if not more, attention than humans and they can overheat faster because they do not sweat. Take extra water for canine hiking companions, hike in the morning or evening, and be sure to rest the dogs if they show signs of overheating.
Take advantage of shade and pools of water for cooling yourself and your dogs. Whenever possible, cool your dog’s pads.
Be aware that the air temperature can dramatically increase (up to 20 degrees or more) as you hike up the trail due to the lack of shade or water. Dogs cool themselves by panting. If the air is
hot, your dog is hot. Many dogs will go until they drop.

For more hiking tips and safety information, go to The Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue team is non-profit, all volunteer mountain rescue unit of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. For more information about the team and items in this news release contact SAR PIO Nelson Trichler at 805-698-0752.

Fill out, print and post this near your phone before leaving for your trip:
Where I am going:
Trail name:
My destination is:
Who I am with (names and phone #s):
When I’ll be home (date and time):
Vehicle info (make, model, year, lic#)
Emergency medical info (medications, medical conditions):

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stump Grinder Dirt Club Needs You! For The Kids

Dear Trail Users,

Many of you have heard of NICA (the North American Cycling Association) and our local Santa Barbara County High School team of 12 youths from Carpinteria, San Marcos, Dos Pueblos, Rhigetti and St. Joseph's High schools that have been competing in the SoCal League against 22 other high school groups. Many of you wanted to come out and help these kids this winter/spring but just couldn't on a regular basis.

Well, now they are needing your help for just 4 hours of trail maintenance this Saturday from 8 -12 noon as Santa Barbara County will get ready to showcase the State's finest riders
in the California State Championship High School Mountain Bike State Finals. This is the first time SoCal has hosted Norcal and the State race as some 450 riders are expected to converge on Charlotte's Meadow at the Chamberlain Ranch off Zaca Station Road in Los Olivos. Can you help us to get the course ready for XC racing? Can you show the area's XC youth that you appreciate they are out riding after school, working to stay fit, and learning trail etiquette at the same time?

Please help by sending your RSVP e-mail to race producer Mike Hecker:

We thank you!! Jeff Harbison/Dan Cortina, coaches for Santa Barbara's County High School MtB XC Team

WHAT: 4 hours of trail work in exchange for satisfaction, a free lunch and prize raffle and a chance to ride this magnificent set of trails afternoon.

WHEN: Saturday, May 7th, 8-12 noon

WHERE: Chamberlain Ranch on Zaca Station Road (look for sign on right, 1.1 miles north of 101/154 exchange)

BRING: Water, Hat, Gloves, Trail tools if you have them, Sunscreen, snack