Summary: This is a semi-strenuous but short in and out hike. The begins trail following an old road along gaviota creek moving inland. This part is mostly flat with lots of riparian birds. As you head towards the hills, you can see final destination as series of holes in the sandstone outcroppings ahead. After about 3/4 of a mile you will start the ascending switchback, which was very well-maintained. Continuing along the ridgeline you'll come to the first wind cave. Cross through the wind cave and the trail gets much steeper with a couple of switch backs, until you reach the bottom of the second cave. To left is a trail, or you can scramble straight up. The views from the top are not to be believed.
Trailhead: From the 101 exit at Gaviota Campground, just before the entrance to the campground,veer to the right and up the hill. Park in parking area and follow the road beyond the gate and mountain lion danger sign. (Lat:34.28 Lon:-120.13)
Trail Guides for Gaviota Wind Caves :
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes, Horses,
Ranger Contact: California state parks 805-968-1033
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Erick Pfaff, who has posted 2 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 2 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by CB4 on 10/23/2007
Nice, relaxing hike. Not too steep. There was some loose dirt/sand and rock. The dirt trail up to the top cave is pretty loose. Bring a thrasher camera if you want to take pics. When the wind picks up, the fine sand blows around. The caves were very cool, the kiddies and the pup loved it! We will be baaaaack.
Reviewed by Hasnolo on 9/25/2007
Great exercise and defintely worth it once you hit the top; just look up and you'll see the large rock caves you want to get to; don't stop at the first cave, keep going to the very top. It can get confusing, we almost took another trail at one point; just make sure to take the trail that takes you to the right and up. The ammo box at the top was cool; as usual, be careful coming down, I almost twisted my ankle a few times.
Reviewed by SKB on 6/10/2007
We went 6/7/07 and it was terrific. Our 5 year old daughter came with us. We made it to the first wind cave without a problem and everyone wanted to go on, but due to time constraints had to head home. The switchback up the grassy hill is a little eroded so long pants and shirts for the little ones is a must, but the views and the cave are well worth the hike. You never feel tired of hot due to the ocean breeze. We will be back when we have more time.
Reviewed by iainuts on 11/4/2006
Look for the 50 cal ammo box. Leave something for others, take your memories. The Wind Caves must be experienced. The rattler on the way up was small to medium. I tossed him a small to medium rock and he angrily reliquished the trail, hissing with tounge and shaking his tail. Look out for snakes, but don't hurt 'em. If you want a longer hike, keep going 'round the back and up the next hill. The vista keeps getting better. Adds another mile one way and 500 feet of elevation to the 800 you already climbed, and picking your way through the brambles will require long pants. Enjoyed that one. Thanks LocalHikes. Luv ya!
Reviewed by clint on 5/15/2006
this is a spot I've always wanted to go hiking and never did. everytime I drive through that pass. finally went today, great hike, beautiful flowers everywhere! caves are cool, great birds. The trail up to the caves is pretty overgrown, so long pants and closed shoes might make it a bit more comfortable on the first part, well worth it.
Reviewed by naoki on 4/16/2006
Great hike with the family if your in shape. Trailhead starts at a locked gate. Follow the paved road for about 1/2 mile. The trail then leaves the paved road for a uphill climb for the next 3/4 mile. Wildfowers were all over the place. You'll pass a sandstone cave on the left, nice place to rest on the way up. Once past the cave the trail climbs to the right to more caves. You can climb to the top by going around the backside its alittle steep but you'll have a great porthole view. View from the top is beautiful. On the way out checked out a small landslide and found clam fossils. Take a nice lunch with you and enjoy.
Reviewed by cara on 10/2/2005
This hike is my favorite so far. I just started hiking and LOVE this one. found the geocache, pretty cool.. I am going to look more into geocaching! The hike itself was a bit tiring, but totally worth it. the views and the wind caves are inspiring. This is a good hike for dogs, too, we brought our two Labradors with us and they loved it! Thanks for posting this hike, it is beautiful!!!
Reviewed by Dan on 10/21/2003
Very nice litter-free hike up to first cave-rock. A lower cave pretty much hollows out the bottom half of the large sandstone rock; interesting rock formations inside walls. Squeezed into small room above from where I could see out to the ocean. Chickened out trying to get to another small inviting opening near this one. More trail, then upper caves in a much larger sentinel of sandstone rocks, with thousands of small foot-sized holes in face. Easy for a climber, but very steep: chickened out again and wasn't able to explore as much as I wanted to (like Danny Glover said, "I'm too old for this shit!"). The trail along front is rough but doable. Should've tried going around up to top. Next time.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, Santa Barbara County Hiking, Santa Barbara County Trails, Santa Barbara County Hikes