How To Use and Finding Where To Go

There are four ways to find the public land destination you are seeking.

The destinations can be accessed through the Home/Search Page as follows:

1) Search by Destination
This search button will bring you to a list of all 50 locations listed alphabetically, with each linked to the full description for that destination.

2) Search by Distance
The destinations are divided into distances from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

3) Choose a Map Location
Just click on a Pindrop in the area you would like to explore.

4) Search by Activity
You can click on as many activities as you would like to engage in. Then you will be taken to a page that indicates which destinations meet your activity criteria. If there are too many destinations listed, you can narrow your search by choosing different distances from UCSB.

For UCSB Students, and others, the distances shown for each destination are from Campbell Hall on the UCSB Campus. The “How To Get There” information is also from Campbell Hall. If a bus route takes you to, or very near, the location, the Bus option is indicated. If the destination is less than 12 miles, and there is a way to walk there, then walking is indicated as an option. If the destination is less than 100 miles and there is a way to bike there, then biking is indicated as an option.

Once You Have Found Where You Want To Go

After identifying one or more places you would like to explore, take a look at the brief description and photos in this website. If you are still interested, the links will provide you with more information, including directions, maps and species lists, where available.


In general, the public lands agency websites are very helpful in providing you the information you need. Click them and take a look. If there is an on-line brochure link, this can be even more useful.

Also, destination-specific species lists and other links are included, where available. (Note: for many destinations listed, Santa Barbara Hikes provides great wildflower information on where to find wildflowers in the Santa Barbara area, including the San Rafael Mountains.

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If you are planning on hiking: Once you have found a public land destination and want to hike there, the website provides recommendations for some trails that I have found especially rewarding. However, to save space, I have not included detailed information about these or other hikes. Instead, many excellent, comprehensive hike descriptions can be found through various websites and blogs such as AllTrails, HikeSpeak, Santa Barbara Hikes, and more. For most hikes mentioned, I have provided one of these links for your use.

Recommendations: Because many trails in California can be quite challenging to follow due to the dynamic geology of our state, I highly recommend AllTrails Pro. For a relatively modest fee, you get satellite tracking for your hikes, which helps you stay on the trail and get safely, efficiently and confidently to and from your destination. This smart phone accessible tool has really and repeatedly benefitted us (as well as lost and confused hikers we have assisted along the way).

If you are planning on camping or backpacking: Make reservations where possible and/or required. This is generally indicated for each destination and a link is provided. However, if you are looking for a last-minute camping or backpacking adventure, there are many places to do that as well – just check beforehand on the official agency website.

Most importantly, find the time to just get out and enjoy our amazing public lands. Among other justifications, there are 12 science supported reasons for doing so including improving memory, lowering blood pressure, enhancing creativity, reducing inflammation and de-stressing. You owe it to yourself and others!

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