A Wet Hike, Cold Spring Trail

When it rains, many people seek shelter. One certainly wouldn’t think of hiking up a steep mountain in the rain.

Well, a friend of mine and I decided to brave the latest winter storm swinging through Santa Barbara and go for a hike. Equally distant from both of us is the Cold Spring Trail, located along Mountain Drive in the foothills above Montecito. Even in dry conditions, our route climbs 1,300 feet over 1.6 miles and culminates at a man made stone BBQ. A BBQ? Yes.

We threw on our rain gear and headed up, up and up passing brown geckos, creeks and burn areas as we went. Tangerine Falls were not as impressive as previously, but given the dry conditions as of late, we were surprised to see as much water falling as we did.

Passing Tangerine and proceeding up the conditions became wetter and colder. The canyon behind the falls is remarkably untouched and presented some of the best hiking scenery I’ve had in a while.

At the trail end stands a wonderfully built BBQ hearth from stone situated under a tree. I can only imagine how it got there, but fear the chaos that would occur if a fire was ever lit in its hearth.

After regrouping, putting on dry clothes and noticing a size-able increase in the rainfall, we headed back down. The muscles that weren’t sore yet, quickly found themselves put to use as we descended 1,300 feet.

With many creek crossings, we had plenty of chances to practice our rock hopping skills. Crossing a creek relies on a few things: 1) how well you balance, 2) how well you can leverage momentum, 3) the distance of the crossing, and 4) the shape of the rock. So, it is no wonder that I got my feet a tad wet, slipping a few times and dunking my foot in the cold water. Even my friend was challenged at one particular crossing where the rocks were pointed, spaced apart, and he launched poorly off the shore.

Arriving back at the trail head, I was disappointed to see someone had put a road across the trail. 🙂 It was such an awesome hike and I was happy to see the rain had kept the fair weather hikers at bay. We live in such a beautiful place, we should always enjoy it, wet or dry.