Cold Spring Trail – Montecito, California
Mom Banicki, “Take care, feel better! Iwas just texting you when you texted me! Never have to apologize for how you feel, I totally get it! I love the person you are! This is Holy Week try to get to church sometime! Have fun in Montecito, talk to you Wed. Or sooner if you need to talk. Loveyou! mom”
Do you ever yell at your parents for no reason? And you know you are being outlandish but can’t control it? Well, I did it Monday…and it didn’t feel good.
Lucky for me my Mom is forgiving…even more so because she has a birthday this week. Wish her happy birthday here – MOM Banicki
I’m first to admit I hate to be alone so when I am just foul around people, it’s time to go solo. You know the expression – ‘Take a Hike’. I took it literally and left town to go hike a mountain in Montecito!
I woke up Tuesday AM, threw on my SpongeBob Squarepants boxers and wife-beater tank(reminder that I was verbally beating people), and headed for the 101 Hwy.
Now, I’ve included the site and hike information below. But the hike I had set out for and the hike I took were nothing alike – aside from the entrance and the bugs…..
When you go take a hike for punishment, I say go all out. Enjoy every moment alone but challenge yourself.
Below I’ve recorded my hike based on 3 types of challenges – Solo Adventure Challenges, Punishment Challenges, and Risky Challenges:
- Solo Adventure Challenges = SAC = Fun and challenged times alone
- Punishment Challenges – PC = You deserve to be tortured while challenging yourself
- Risky Challenges = RC = This is scary but there’s no turning back now….Risk defined by the web: a source of danger; a possibility of incurring loss or misfortune; “drinking alcohol is a health hazard”
THE DRIVE – SAC
- The 101 is an easy drive – I went around 85mph and made the trip in about 85 min each way. Driving fast is fun….but only when solo. Your way on the highway!
- Stunning view and Sunshine – I saw mountains, oceans, and thousands of bright yellow flowers called Mustards. The drive started gloomy and turned to sunny like my mood. It takes being alone to appreciate the scenery.
- The Music – You pick it. The challenge is what you want to hear. Noone can yell at you for listening to Lily Allen, The Fear on repeat…I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore and I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore…
THE TRAIL – RC
- Animals. I screamed 4 times within the first 10 minutes of the hike. I mean every time it was a lizard….but some of those creepers sound like they could be lions cutting through the grass! Risky business.
- A Snake. RISK for sure. Fine…it was a baby one. Lucky for me at the time I was stopped and BlackBerrying notes of my whereabouts in case I died en route. Yes this went through my mind. Believe me it would yours too…or will if you decide to choose this adventure and go solo!
- Getting Lost. As I mentioned, whether I was trying to pull explorer SAC or not, the directions below DID NOT MATCH UP. I was lost the entire time but I trudged on and ironically ended up on the other side of the NO TRESPASSING sign I passed at the beginning! A very risky workout.
THE HIKE – PC
- Bugs – They swarm a bit at times. Not to scare you off the hike, but there are flies and nats…and occasional bees. Not risking your life but punishing types. Annoying. buzzzzzz. Did I mention flying grasshoppers? I listened to the words of Big Pun-isher –
“I’m Not a Player I just crush a lot.”
- Obstacles – I passed a few places where I questioned the trail-trees fallen, poison ivy? I decided this was punishment time and forged ahead. Normally, I’d turn and take the other trail but this time I chose the path less followed…
- Headphones – I thought I was being punished that only one earphone worked…until I heard the first lizard and jumped out of his way. I recommend music on the hike but one ear is the way to go. listen to nature and naughty by nature simultaneously!
- Unknown territory – I was punished when I discovered at the end of my hike, a folded up note stating that the hike has changed drastically in the last few years so beware. Also noted that the Tangerine Falls are no longer on the path – wanna bet? Who wants to go back with me?
THE TREASURES – SAC
- Beach – You must go oceanside before leaving Montecito. If you really want to PC, go for a run like me! Although I loved every minute of the sand, ocean winds, and people-watching in the gorgeous smalltown!
- Artwork – I wish I could take credit for this heart but I will take credit for climbing the rocks for the photo!
Realization: My goal is to have a Solo Adventure Challenge at least once a day, and I recommend you try this Cold Spring one. Please take me so we can find the Tangerine Falls!
Get on US 101 going North
Take the Olive Mill Rd. Exit. Turn Right.
The road becomes Hot Springs Rd. at some point without turning.
At East Mountain Dr., turn left.
Drive about a mile and a half and park just before, or just after the stream crossing on the road.
The trailhead begins on either side of the stream, but is best started before the stream crossing at the Montecito Trails Association sign.
(About 15-20 minute drive)
Cold Spring Trail
From the trailhead…
There are two starting points for Cold Spring Trail. I find that the easier starting point is not at the rusty metal sign at the west side of the creek crossing, but at the Montecito Trails Association Sign on the east side. Careful starting this hike at this point because there are two trails starting a few feet apart from one another. The steeper trail is not described here, but makes a nice, steep hike that eventually meets Cold Spring Trail again for a pleasant and short loop.
The Cold Spring Trail immediately climbs some steep, wooden steps. The trail continues through refreshing creekside scenery.
At about 1/4 mile you reach a bench and a junction with the West Fork of the Cold Spring Trail. Continue past the bench and junction, heading uphill.
There are some stream crossings that may be a bit difficult after heavy rains. The trail crosses the stream two separate times, then climbs switchbacks up to a junction with a dirt road (Hot Springs Rd.) with some power lines. If you are tall enough, there are good views of Montecito and the ocean. This is the mile and a half mark.
The Cold Spring Trail continues by taking the fire road to the left (east) for a few hundred feet. Look to the left for a small sign marked “trail” and continue steeply uphill.
At just under 2 miles, look down into the canyon to the right and see the old ruins of the Hot Springs resort.
At 2 and 3/4 miles, there are Eucalyptus trees with a makeshift bench for resting and taking in the views.
At about 3 and 3/4 miles look to the right for a small trail that goes up to Montecito Peak, elevation 3214ft. This trail is steep and in shale, making for a tough climb to a triumphant summit. Somewhere up there is a log book inside a box for recording your summit. There are breathtaking views 360 degrees around you. You can see other hiking trails from this vista, including San Ysidro Trail, part of Romero Canyon Trail, and Cold Springs East and West Fork.
If your destination isn’t to summit Montecito Peak, continue on the trail until it meets with East Camino Cielo Rd. at the 4 mile mark. There is a rusty metal sign, a parking spot and a water tank at this spot. Cross East Camino Cielo to get a good view of the remote back country. The Trail continues across the road to Forbush Flat, a nice spot for an overnight back pack.
To return, go back the same way you came.