Rattlesnake Canyon

Rattlesnake Canyon Park, California 93190

Distance1.5mi
Elevation Gain1,246ft
Trailhead Elevation913ft
Top1,854ft
Elevation Min/Max886/1854ft
Elevation Start/End913/913ft

Rattlesnake Canyon

Rattlesnake Canyon is a hiking trail in Santa Barbara, California. It is within Rattlesnake Canyon Park. It is 1.5 miles long and begins at 913 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 3.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,246 feet.

Rattlesnake Canyon Professional Reviews and Guides

"Rattlesnake Canyon is one of Santa Barbara's most popular trail. The trail leads up the winding canyon through a lush, riparian forest with many pools, small waterfalls, and stream crossings. There is a grottos, meadow and panoramic vista overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands. Rattlesnake Canyon received its name for its winding canyon, not for snake occupancy."

"Just up the canyon a short ways from Skofield Park is a popular hiking trail through Rattlesnake Canyon, and no, there aren’t rattlesnakes there. However, typically there is running water in Rattlesnake Creek at some point on the trail even during the hottest of summers.

Rattlesnake Canyon consists of three main areas with a mix of bouldering and sport climbing along the trail. The history of the area is very spotty at best. It is thought that most of the rock here had been seen for years, with the earliest climbing potential possibly being discovered in the 1970s by Amos Clifford.

This guide contains West Nile Boulder, The Creamery, and Renaissance Man Crag climbs."

"Despite the daunting name, the hike through Rattlesnake Canyon is actually quite a peaceful one. You are no more likely to see a rattlesnake here than on any other trail in the area.

A shady refuge on a sunny day, this trail winds its way up Rattlesnake Canyon, loosely following the creek for a gradual uphill to Tin Can Meadow. From here you can take in the view and retrace your steps home or continue onto the Tunnel Connector Trail to hike into the Santa Ynez Mountains."

"This moderately difficult course follows a boulder-lined creek in a canyon with forests of sycamore and oak trees. The lower section of the trail is well shaded with many waterfalls, pools, and grottos. There are several stream crossings and a series of switchbacks on the way up to an expansive coastal view. The name is fearsome, but the risk of encountering a snake is no different here than in any other beautiful canyon in this mountain range. The combination of wooded trails along a stream and unbeatable views is sure to make this course one of your favorites."

"A very popular destination named for the fact the canyon snakes through the Santa Barbara frontcountry, the Rattlesnake Trail passes through lush riparian stretches toward a meadow before meeting with the Tunnel Trail Connector and then climbs to Gibraltar Road."

Rattlesnake Canyon Reviews

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3/6/2004
The first reason that this trail gets a two star rating from me is that the only sign is at the trail head making it difficult to find your way beyond that. There are trails braching off all over the place so we never really knew if we were on the right path. We simply tried to stay on the trails closest to the creek. At about the two mile point, where the connector to the tunnel trail is, I was able to figure out how to turn this into a loop by talking to some other hikers. That was nice because we didn't have to retrace our way back. The reason I say that, and reason #2 for a two star rating, is that the trail we took up was not very impressive as far as scenery. My expectations for hiking in the Santa Barbara area turned out to be too high. Definately not worth the drive from the central valley. If you live in the area this trail is fine, but if you have to take a long drive....drive to Big Sur! That is the type of scenery I expected, but the Santa Barbara mountains are not very good compared to the Big Sur mountains. Next time I am in the area I will try 7 Falls, maybe that one will be better.
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Rattlesnake Canyon Photos

Trail Information

Rattlesnake Canyon Park
Nearby City
Rattlesnake Canyon Park
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Rattlesnake Canyon Park/Los Padres National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Santa Barbara
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018