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.
The Rock & The Routes
|Climbs of The Right Side
|F||Great Race, 10a, sport route
|G||Peels of Laughter, 5.5 Runout
|H||Many Happy Returns, 5.9
|J||Rick's Route, 5.7
|K||Fine Line, 5.9
|L||The Weeny Roof, 5.9
|Climbs of The Left Side Climbs 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|
|A||Vanishing Flakes, 11a|
|C||Applied Magnetics, 5.9|
|D||Too Mucking Futch, 5.8|
|E||Face Lift, 5.7-(upper variations, 5.9-5.10)|
One of the most beautiful and popular climbs in all of Santa Barbara is called “Many Happy Returns, 5.9” marked by letter H.
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.
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.