Tar Pits/Carpinteria Bluffs

Santa Barbara, California

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This blufftop hike traverses flat wooded trails directly above the beach. You’ll pass a harbor seal rookery where you can stop and watch the seals before heading onto a peaceful treelined path with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean below. The grassy overlook at the end of Calle Ocho is an excellent lookout point before you begin your hike. A set of stairs leads you down to the beach, where you can explore tidepools and see tar bubbling up through the surface of the sand—hence the name of the area. Thanks to the excellent waterproofing qualities of tar, when the Chumash Indians first came to this area, they used this particular spot to build boats. They nicknamed this spot Carpinteria, Spanish for “carpentry shop,” which is now the name of the city. Get a little sand between your toes, and then begin your hike back up top by taking the wide path on the left of the grassy area.
Best Easy Day Hikes Santa Barbara

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Best Easy Day Hikes Santa Barbara

by Bryn Fox (Falcon Guides)

This blufftop hike traverses flat wooded trails directly above the beach. You’ll pass a harbor seal rookery where you can stop and watch the seals before heading onto a peaceful treelined path with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean below.

The grassy overlook at the end of Calle Ocho is an excellent lookout point before you begin your hike. A set of stairs leads you down to the beach, where you can explore tidepools and see tar bubbling up through the surface of the sand—hence the name of the area. Thanks to the excellent waterproofing qualities of tar, when the Chumash Indians first came to this area, they used this particular spot to build boats. They nicknamed this spot Carpinteria, Spanish for “carpentry shop,” which is now the name of the city. Get a little sand between your toes, and then begin your hike back up top by taking the wide path on the left of the grassy area.

© 2009 Bryn Fox/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Santa Barbara
Distance: 2.2
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 1 hour
Season: Year-round; seal pupping season from December to March
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Citizens of Carpinteria Bluffs; (805) 6843712 City of Carpinteria Parks Department; (805) 684-5405
Local Maps: USGS Carpinteria and White Ledge Peak
Driving Directions: Directions to Tar Pits/Carpinteria Bluffs

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Apr 2018