DAY 90: GAVIOTA WIND CAVES
Date: Saturday February 12, 2011
Elevation Gain: 600 Feet
Time: 1.5 Hours
Difficulty: Pretty easy for the most part but up near the caves it becomes tricky
Reward: Rise above the ocean and chill in the caves like a mountain lion!
Description: Walk along a paved road and then hike a single track trail up a hill. It is a bit steep in places but the dog and kids made it thru ok.
Where: Gaviota, CA
Directions: From the 101 Freeway in Santa Barbara, drive north for about 30 minutes. Look for the brown sign to exit the freeway at the Gaviota State Beaches. This is just before the rest area and tunnel. Drive toward the ocean and head up the hill to the right instead of going into the campground. Once you round the turn, park your car. The trailhead is on the right by the Danger Mountain Lion Sign.
Follow the paved road for about a half mile. It begins with a slow downhill and then flattens out. Look to the left to spur up a single track trail through the wild flowers.
The trail is easy to identify but it is narrow and you will get scratched. At least your not walking through poison oak. Just before it began getting steep, we saw:
Before I could tell the wife and kids not to worry, they were already running a full sprint down the hill back to the paved road. After a thirty minute debate at the bottom, we retraced our footsteps to conquer their fears and this hill!
The 101 Freeway & Gaviota Tunnel hides between the Rocky Mountain
From the bottom of the first tunnel
It was fairly simple hiking to this spot. After the grassy flowery field, you will need to locate the rocky switchback. It was a bit strenuous but really no big deal. The caves are fun for kids and a great place to rest to shade from the direct sunlight.
When you are ready, please proceed. The trail is scatterbrained but you get the idea; climb! It is a bit steeper but the reward is worth it:
Please sign into the log book left up there. It appears possible to continue a bit higher and then maybe explore down the backside, but with low water, hot sun and the family, it was time to turn around. Back at the car we thought about going to the beach. We noticed a small trail heading up over the train tracks and toward the ocean. Problem is, at the end of that path is a 50 foot drop into the water! There is a pier and beach area that is likely accessible from the campground. Instead, we went to Mac Donalds to eat some McNuggets and cool off with McFlurries.
Our Day 90 Tripometer: 3.50 Miles +700 Feet
**MY 90 DAY SUMMARY: 303.25 Miles +46,100 Feet**
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