Ellwood Mesa is a large, diverse Open Space with many terrific places to explore. In addition to beautiful trails through a eucalyptus forest, Ellwood Mesa also features stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains from cliff-side and grassy mesa trails. There are two places to access the beach, with swimming and surfing. In the past, Ellwood Mesa was best known for providing habitat for extensive colonies of wintering monarch butterflies (the Goleta Butterfly Grove). This is a very special place.
South of Hollister Ave, between Pebble Beach Drive and Elderberry Dr., Goleta
City of Goleta
3.1 mi (walking)
Biking (mountain), Birdwatching, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Picnicking (no tables), Relaxing, Running, Studying/Reading, Surfing, Swimming , Viewing (Ocean, Mountain), Walking, Watchable Wildlife
The trail along the bluff at Ellwood Mesa is part of the California Coastal Trail.
Ellwood Mesa was protected as a result of extensive community planning, litigation, negotiation, and fund raising efforts, which resulted in a highly acclaimed land swap. Currently, the City of Goleta is implementing a major “Ellwood Trails and Habitat Restoration Project,” which will result in improvements in trails, access and other aspects of this Open Space.
To improve monarch butterfly habitat, the City of Goleta adopted Ellwood Mesa/Sperling Preserve Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan, which is being implemented.
Haskell’s Beach Access Trail. To the west of Ellwood Mesa, past the golf course, there is Haskell’s Beach Access Trail which has two interesting aspects in addition to providing access to Haskell Beach. At the end of the trail, to the left, there is a marker commemorating where a Japanese submarine on February 23, 1942 bombed the California coast during WWII. This was the first attack on the continental U.S., and occurred during one of President Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats. There is an interesting write-up with historic photos of what occurred here that is worth reading.
Also, the Haskell’s Beach Access Trail passes through thriving, dense native coastal vegetation. There are excellent interpretive signs regarding the use of many of the plants in this area by the Chumash Indians.