Southeast of Santa Barbara in the Los Padres National Forest, the Romero Canyon Trail is a rocky scramble up an old narrowing fire road into the Santa Ynez mountains. Its a five mile switchback ascent over 2,000 feet to the crest by unparalleled ocean vistas towards the Channel Islands through Chapparel. At the top, either return via the same route or try a challenging singletrack bonzai down along the creek.
To reach the hiking trailhead from Santa Barbara, follow SR225 (E. Cabrillo Blvd.) southeast under US101. Turn left onto Hot Springs Road and right onto SR192 (East Valley Road). After several miles, turn left onto Ramero Canyon Road. Continue east for 1.6 miles staying right and park near the gated road on the left.
Overall, Romero Canyon Trail is the 58th most popular hiking trail of all 88 hikes in California.