Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.48277°N / 119.71458°W
Additional Information County: Santa Barbara
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 3258 ft / 993 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Looking up the East Ridge
Looking up the East Ridge
Arlington Peak seen from Tunnel Trail
Rock formations along the East Ridge

Arlington Peak is located to the southeast of Cathedral Peak and to the south of La Cumbre Peak in the Santa Ynez Mountains of Los Padres National Forest, California.

For many years this beautiful peak did not have a name of its own. Everyone I knew referred to it as Cathedral Peak, and the rock formation to its northwest as Cathedral Rock. It appears that in 2004 the U.S. Board on Geographic Names changed the name of Cathedral Rock to Cathedral Peak and our peak was given a new name, Arlington Peak. In any event, the name of Arlington Peak does not appear in any printed maps, yet.

Even though Arlington Peak is by no means the highest point in the santa Ynez Mountains, it is visible and distinguishable from miles away. Its pyramidal shape, its rocky south face and its steep east ridge make this mountain stand out amongst the background hillsides. After the forest fires of May of 2009, the true majesty of Arlington Peak became obvious. The rocky formations that were covered by sage brush displayed their true size. Someone has commented "This mountain looks like a woman who has taken off her cloths."

Climbing Arlington Peak is not just another hike up a dirt trail. You are following a ridgeline that is open and scenic. You find yourself scrambling on, over and around rocks and boulders. The views from the top are truly breathtaking. Since this mountain sits in front of the main Santa Ynez ridgeline, the summit views are much greater in perspective. You get an uninterrupted views of the California coastline in both direction, southeast and west. The views of Santa Barbara Channel Islands against the blue Pacific Ocean are something to behold. Closer up, you get the best view of Mission Ridge and Tunnel Trail and how exactly it snakes its way all the way up to Camino Cielo Road and La Cumbre Peak.

Looking down East Ridge
Looking down from the summit
view from start of the trail
Arlington Peak from start of the trail
Approaching the true summit
A few hundred feet from the top

Mission Ridge seen from the summit
Pine Tree on the ridge
Near the cave on the ridge

How to get to the trailhead

Arlington Peak seen from start of Tunnel Trail
Flowers by the trail
Peace sign barely visible

From US Highway 101 in Santa Barbara take the Mission Street off ramp and turn right at the light. Continue on Mission street passing in front of the mission building to a stop sign at the intersection with Foothill Road. Turn right onto Foothill Road and left onto Tunnel Road. You will come to a fork. Take the left fork and drive all the way to the end. You can park on the right hand side of the road within the white lines. Additional parking may be found before the end of the road. Please do not park in the side streets. They are all private roads.

The hike

La Cumbre Peak seen from the summit
Peace sign near the summit
peace sign
Rock formations to the east
The hike begins the same as the trail for Inspiration Point. After crossing Mission Creek on rocks, you will see another trail to the right of Inspiration Point trail. This trail is steep and parallels Mission Creek for about quarter of a mile then climbs steeply to the west, left. Follow this trail to the foot of the east ridge. Follow the east ridge that climbs over and around countless boulders and rock formations to the rocky summit of Arlington Peak. The true summit is just past a large peace sign painted on a rock with white paint and visible from the top of the false summit.


Looking west from Earth Watch
Looking west from the top of La Cumbre

Unfortunately, there are no campgrounds close and convenient to the city of Santa Barbara.

There is, however, one very large and well developed campground at Cachuma Lake, and a few less developed ones along Paradise Road off Highway 154. There are also a few campgrounds along Highway 101 at El Capitan State Park and Refugio State Park.

El Capitan Beach Camping

Refugio State Beach Camping

Cachuma Lake

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-3 of 3
Bob Burd

Bob Burd - Oct 10, 2010 8:54 pm - Voted 10/10


"At some point in time Google Map changed the name of Cathedral Rock to Cathedral Peak and out peak was left without a name. I am not sure who or at what point in time the name of Arlington Peak was chosen for our beautiful little mountain. Even to this day, the printed maps don't show a name for Arlington Peak." The BGN/USGS, not Google, was responsible for the naming decisions. Cathedral Peak is correctly shown on the 7.5' topo map, though the Arlington Name is missing. Still, it resides in the BGN database here. Is was officially named by the BGN in 2004. The topo map simply has not been updated since this decision was taken.


Marcsoltan - Oct 10, 2010 10:14 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Naming

Thank you very much, Bob. I changed the text on my page to reflect this correction. The text, however, may still have some inaccuracies that I hope I can correct in time. Thanks again, Marc

Jeff M

Jeff M - Oct 7, 2016 10:39 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Naming

Just saw this and wanted to add that Cathedral Peak is named (and in the correct place) on the 1952 7.5 USGS SB topo.

Viewing: 1-3 of 3



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Santa Ynez MountainsMountains & Rocks