Santa Barbara city park
Locate the trail head.
The city has a few large open spaces kept as parks. One such park is the just over 20 acre Honda Valley. Oddly, the city web site does not list it under the open spaces, but it is signed as such. The park is open from sunrise to half an hour after sunset, although there are no gates to enforce that. It runs much of the length of the valley, with many areas shaded by oaks and eucalyptus. It is much less used compared to the other open spaces, at least in my experience, and can harbor actual wildlife. I found a fox on my first visit.
|Entry to Honda Valley directly from Carrillo is along a narrow, undulating path and is signed.|
Entering from Carrillo near the top of the hill puts one high on one side of the valley and gives views of the mountains and some of the homes that ring the edges, mostly right at the top. The narrow and well established trail passes through ice plant, then into native vegetation. It gets into some oak trees, then a short switchback brings it down to the main trail, a wide road, coming from Miracanon. It continues under oaks, then eucalyptus.
|Big oaks cover the hillside and line the road.|
Past a fence across a severely washed out bit of paved road that comes from above and below the eucalyptus stand, there is a more open area. Small oaks have been planted throughout it and two large cedars stand at the edge. The main road turns and goes back up the valley, but I keep heading down, scaring off a large bobcat that was innocently having a snooze. Some logs seem to mark the bottom of the park.
|A flat with a selection of small oaks planted upon it.|
|Standing on the logs and looking down, the rest of the valley doesn't look very hospitable.|
The city web site states that there is an entrance off Weldon somewhere below. A trail continues down off to the right, past two "private property" signs. I retrace my route a short way, then turn to cross the valley and start up to the Highland entrance, the other entrance mentioned on the city web site. The road keeps climbing past the entrance to get to a lookout point above the valley.
|A giant eucalyptus beside a smaller, mystery tree along the side of the road up to Highland.|
A small trail leads down from the lookout point, but I backtrack a little way and start up a different small and steep trail that climbs the valley wall. This route is hard packed right now, but looks like it becomes treacherous in the wet. Overgrown ledges suggest there was once a more reasonable climb up this hill, but it is not usable now. Passing over some wood chips at the top, I come to the Miramonte entrance. The wood chip covered hillside here makes a better lookout point.
|Looking out the valley opening to the ocean.|
|Looking down the hill and down the steep trail from the entrance at Miramonte.|
Actually, Miramonte offers quite a few views, as well as a bit of traffic, tight turns, and no sidewalks or parking.
|Quite an exquisite day for walking about.|
©2013 Valerie Norton
Posted 7 October 2013