Linking Carpinteria to the Backcountry

Nestled at the foot of the majestic Santa Ynez mountains, Carpinteria is world renowned as one of California’s last small beach town communities. Known for its exquisite collection of natural resources that include bluff preserves, parks, marshes, seal sanctuaries and popular surf spots, the foothills of Carpinteria Valley offer stunning views out over the Pacific Ocean to the Santa Barbara Channel Islands.

Just north of Carpinteria, the Los Padres National Forest provides a network of hiking, biking and equestrian trails that wind through the chaparral covered foothills. For many years, there has not been a direct link from the valley floor to any of these mountain trails. Access to the
backcountry was lost a number of years ago when permissive use over private properties ceased to exist due to the changing character of land ownership and the intensification of agriculture in the valley.

Imagine walking, biking or riding up a new hiking/biking path from the beach at Rincon through the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve past the Seal Sanctuary to the State Park and Carpinteria’s “First” Beach. From there you could continue west to the Salt Marsh or you could head up Linden Avenue through downtown to the high school to begin climbing the new Franklin Trail up the mountains and into the wilderness.

The Trail Project

Historic trail sign at Jameson Lake.

The trailhead will begin at Carpinteria High School, with trail parking on Meadowview Lane off of Linden Avenue, a short distance from the school. Access to the trailhead will be along a hiking/biking path that connects Meadowview Lane to the school. The trail will circle north and east around the school. It will then continue northward through the agricultural property of the Persoon Ranch and onto the Horton Ranch, carving through dense chaparral habitat and rock outcroppings.

From the top of the Horton Ranch the trail will meet the unpaved 
Edison Road and continue a winding course on unpaved ranch roads through Rancho Monte Alegre. Rising into the foothills, this portion of the trail cuts through more chaparral offering panoramic views of the islands, coastline and valley floor, as well as the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains. North of Rancho Monte Alegre, the trail will enter the Los Padres National Forest.

At the top of the ridge near East Camino Cielo (aka Divide Peak OHV road), the Franklin Trail will run down to Jameson Lake joining miles of back country trails such as those in the Dick Smith and Sespe Wilderness Areas. To the west is the link to the network of Front Country trails in Montecito and Santa Barbara.  Download our brochure>>