Southeast of Santa Barbara in the Los Padres National Forest, the Romero Canyon Trail is open to horseback riding and is a rocky scramble up an old narrowing fire road into the Santa Ynez mountains. It’s 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 horseback riding 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 Horse Trail is the 42nd most popular horse trail of all 81 horseback rides in California.