Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.45473°N / 119.62356°W
Additional Information County: Santa Barbara
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Toprope
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Sign the Climber's Log


Lower San Ysidro Rock
San Ysidro Rock is one of the most popular rock formations in the mountains of Santa Barbara, California. Walking up toward the rock will bring you past multi-million dollar houses and mansions. The meticulously groomed neighborhoods will indicate that this must be one of the most pleasant regions in our area, and it is. There is a year-round creek flowing down the canyon and the views from the trails are stunning. The Pacific Ocean lies quietly below your feet, and colorful hillsides please your senses.
All this is just the beginning. You are headed toward San Ysidro Rock. This formation, being an east facing one and being in the shadow of the opposite hill, stays shady all day. There are tall trees on the base providing more protection from the sun, and the nearby stream is just a bonus.
On any weekend you will find many climbers leading or top roping many moderate climbs here. San Ysidro Rock is also used for UC Santa Barbara Outdoor Adventure Program’s rock climbing courses.
Hills of Santa Barbara
Hills of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Harbor viewed from the hills

The Rock & The Routes

Climbs of The Right Side
FGreat Race, 10a, sport route
GPeels of Laughter, 5.5 Runout
HMany Happy Returns, 5.9
IOrangahang, 5.7
JRick's Route, 5.7
KFine Line, 5.9
LThe Weeny Roof, 5.9

Routes of the left sideClimbs of The Left Side
Routes of the right sideClimbs of The Right Side

By all accounts there are two major formations in the San Ysidro Canyon. The higher formation hardly ever gets visited by climbers. However, the lower formation, which is the focus of this page, seems to get all the attention and glory.

The Lower San Ysidro rock can be divided into two distinct formations separated by a central gully. Through many years of use and countless rainfalls, this gully has become more eroded and difficult to climb or descend. There is another option for getting to the top to set up anchors, or for descending after leading a route. There is a trail on the right side of the formation that leads to the top.

Climbs of The Left Side
AVanishing Flakes, 11a
BRockocco, 5.5
CApplied Magnetics, 5.9
DToo Mucking Futch, 5.8
EFace Lift, 5.7-(upper variations, 5.9-5.10)

Lower San Ysidro Rock
One of the most beautiful and popular climbs in all of Santa Barbara is called “Many Happy Returns, 5.9” marked by letter H.

San Ysidro Left Side
Great Race, 10a
San Ysidro Rock-Right Side
San Ysidro Rock-Left Side


Unfortunately, there are no campgrounds close and convenient to San Ysidro Rock.
However, there is 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.

Guide Book

There is an excellent guide book by Steve Tucker and Kevin Steele called Climbing in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo.

How to Get There

From Highway 101 take the San Ysidro Exit and head toward the mountains. Drive to Montecito Village where San Ysidro Road intersects East Valley Road. Turn right on East Valley Road and cross a small bridge to Park Lane. Turn left on Park Lane and veer left onto Mountain Drive. A short drive up Mountain Drive will bring you to the trailhead sign. Park off the pavement, please. We’d like to keep the access open and free.

Head up the well marked trail passed private properties and public roads. In about fifteen minutes you will see the main rock formation on your left. About 200 hundred feet before reaching the rock you can drop down a short distance and cross the creek on rocks. A short hike up the canyon will bring you to the first climb, Vanishing Flakes.
Note: Look out for poison Oak near the creek.



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.