There are many memorable areas and hikes in the Santa Ynez Valley portion of the Los Padres National Forest. Aliso Canyon Loop Trail is one of those. Only 3.5 miles long, the trail offers diverse experiences from walking through shaded Aliso Canyon next to Aliso Creek, to hiking uphill to a ridge with great views of the Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains and the Santa Ynez River. In the spring, it is filled with wildflowers, and throughout the year be on the lookout for wildlife.
This is a great day trip, but it can also be combined with overnight camping in one of the many Forest Service campgrounds on Paradise Road and Santa Ynez River Road like the Upper Oso Campground, Los Prietos Campground, and Sage Hill Campground (group camping).
After the hike, take a cooling swim in the Santa Ynez River from the Sandstone Day Use area or wherever you can access it. Or, visit the popular and special Red Rock Pools. There is also a great, short and scenic mountain bike option, the Gibraltar Trail, which leads to Gibraltar Reservoir from the Cold Spring Trail.
There are many wonderful things to do in this special part of the Los Padres National Forest.
Another wonderful hike and mountain bike in the area is the Santa Cruz Trail, which can be accessed at the Upper Oso Trailhead. Currently, the beautiful trail is open and easy to follow to 19 Oaks, as it passes through narrow sandstone canyons and offers terrific views. Beyond that, there is restoration work being done, following the 2016 Rey Fire.
Sage Hill Group Campground, off of Paradise Road, Santa Ynez Valley
US Forest Service
Birdwatching, Camping, Hiking, Picnicking, Relaxing, Running (trail), Swimming (nearby), Viewing, Walking, Watchable Wildlife
Sometimes Paradise Road is closed due to high river water, so be sure to check beforehand by calling the Ranger Office: 805-448-3648.
Aspects of this combined destination have accessible features: Upper Oso Campground and Los Prietos Campground have accessible sites and restrooms. Also, the Red Rock Trailhead is accessible. For more information, click here.