High above Santa Barbara, Chumash ancestors created stunning rock art in a sheltered sandstone cave next to a stream. The seven acre Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park encompasses both the remarkable cave and some of the beautiful surrounding area.
To protect the valuable pictographs, the inside of the room-sized cave is not accessible to on-site visitors. But the rock art can be viewed in two ways: by looking through the gate into the cave and letting your eyes adjust to the darkness, and/or by seeing the art clearly on-line as part of the CyArk Chumash Painted Cave Project and taking the illuminated virtual tour. Both are highly recommended.
This destination is transporting in time and connection.
2 miles up Painted Cave Road from CA-154
California State Parks
11 miles (bike)
Historic/Cultural Interest, Walking
The Chumash name for the site is Alaxuluxen. The cave is adjacent to a major trail that was used by the Barbareno Chumash, linking the Pacific Ocean coast and the Santa Ynez Valley. The age and meaning of the colorful and concentrated pictographs are currently unknown, but there are several interesting theories.