Romero Canyon is located in the Santa Ynez Mountains
to the north of the city of Santa Barbara, California.
Romero Canyon is another very popular canyon to the east of Cold Springs Canyon
, San Ysidro Canyon
and Rattlesnake Canyon
. Similiar to its neighboring canyons’ trails, the Romaero Canyon trail climbs gently along a year-round stream, and eventually terminates on East Camino Cielo Road
. Camino Cielo Road runs along the ridge separating the Santa Barbara’s front range from its back country.
Typical to all of the canyons in this area, Romero Canyon trail stays close to the bottom of the canyon for about two miles, and for the following two to three miles follows switch-backs on the exposed hillside to reach Camino Cielo Road. During the summer months, it’s best to stick to the bottom part of this trail where you can enjoy the shade of the trees and be next to a stream. During the spring and winter months when you can hike the entire trail in cooler air, however, you are hard pressed to find hiking trials in Southern California that are better. The trail is lined by huge bay trees and oak trees, and wild flowers abound. Your trail crosses the creek in several places providing great rest stops.
In addition to a hiking trail, there is a fire road that runs on the opposite side of Romero Canyon and intersects the trail in two places. This fire road has become very popular with mountain bikers who take the fire road to the top and choose to go down the trail. You need to be on the lookout for them and know that you, traveling on foot, have the right of way. Mountain bikers are always courteous and will stop for you. You can also hear the ankle bells that bikers wear.
Directions to the trailhead:
From the city of Santa Barbara take Highway 101 south to Sheffiled Dr
exit. Go under the freeway and turn right onto Sheffield. Drive 1.3 miles to East Valley Road
. Turn left here then immediately turn right onto Romero Canyon Road
. Drive 1.5 miles on Romero Canyon Road to Bella Vista
. Turn right on Bella Vista. Drive a quarter of a mile up this road to where it makes a U-shape turn to the right. Find a place to park on the dirt shoulder. The trail starts here.
Fire Road Gate, start of the hike Trail separating from the fire road,
Start your hike on a steep fire road past a gate. You will soon come to a bridge and shortly after to another fire road that intersects this fire road. Keep to the right here and within two hundred yards you will come to the beginning of the main trail to your left, just under .5 miles from the trailhead. This trail has a sign and an arrow indicating the direction you need to travel. After two miles and three creek crossings the trail intersects with the fire road again. A good place for a break. There is a directional trail sign here. To continue to the top of Camino Cielo Road
, cross the fire road and continue on the trail. Another 1.6 miles on the trail will bring you to the highest point on the ridge. If you drop down the other side of the ridge you will see Camino Cielo Road down a short distance. For most people this is the turning point.
If you decide to drop all the way down to Camino Cielo Road where there is a water tank, you can take the fire road back down there by making a loop back to your car.
one of the creek crossings Looking west from Camino Cielo Ridge Road
Unfortunately, there are no campgrounds close and convenient to Romero Canyon.
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
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