Wife and I took a nice hike today, our third day in a row of hiking. Three days down, 7 more to go!
We hiked up the fire road, from Red Rock to Gibralter Dam. In contrast to yesterday’s claustrophic hike to Matilija, this hike was on a dirt and dust road, giving a more open-type feeling. I know some people don’t like hiking fire roads, but I’m not one of em. Anywho, onto the hike.
This hike is overall pretty gradual and not a butt-blaster. It ascends gradually from the trailhead/gate and winds around the mountain. Just after mile #2, we reached our high point, and then began a relatively steep descent (for a fire road) followed by a short but semi-steep ascent, which led to the Gibralter guard station. We were greeted by a multitude of “no trespassing” signs, which worked just fine for us; the picnic table we targeted for our break was outside of the no-zone. Up here, the wind got pretty intense, maybe 40mph gusts, but on a day where it was 90 and sunny, wind was welcome. We hung out for a bit and then began the pleasant hike back to the car.
1. No rattlesnakes seen on the road. However, we did spot a few deer, a garter snake, and enough bear scat to fertilize a farm.
2. It’s hot and dry out here. Bring lots of water!
3. There is enough shade on this hike to give some nice reprieves from the high exposure.
4. This is a great route for distance training. You can go well past the dam and link up with a whole bunch of trails. Plus its relatively safe, since you can see everything in front of you quite clearly. As wife and are training for a backpacking trip in August, we plan on expanding this hike to larger distances.
Getting there: Take 154/San Marcos Pass from Santa Barbara to Paradise Road. Take Paradise straight, through the guard station (where they will check for an adventure pass or interagency pass), through the 6″ water crossing, past Lower Oso, to the Red Rock parking area. It’s a big lot with restrooms and a lot of traffic (lots of recreating in this area). Hang your A-Pass in your car.
Distance: 6.7 miles
Elevation gain: 1423′ r/t
Weather: 89 and sunny, strong winds at times depending on the side of the mountain we were on.
Water consumed: 2.5L
Calories consumed: 300 (1 Honey Stinger Waffle, 1 pack of GuChomps (peace flavor rules!))
Calories burned: (estimate, I didn’t wear my HRM) 1,800
Gear notes: Trekking poles may be helpful for some people on the steeper parts of the road. Laura was with me and definitely found them useful.