6.12.12 – redrock trailhead to gibralter dam


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.

Of note:

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.

Time: 2:49:00

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.

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Posted on June 12, 2012, in hiking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Tony Sarzotti

    When I lived and worked there at Los Prietos for the Los Padres National Forest, I always preferred the walk up the creek to the base of the dam. That was 23 years ago and I am sure the stream channel has changed some. There were some deep swimming holes and one popular jump over 20 feet high. I recently went back to Santa Paula Canyon, an area I patrolled in 1974, before I transferred to the Santa Barbara RD. I was severely sorry to see how graffiti had marred a beautiful canyon. I’m hoping the Santa Ynez has been spared the tagging but not being back since 1992, …. I’m afraid to look!

  2. we did not see one ounce of tagging, tony…at least on the high trail. word on the street is the low trail along the creek gets more litter than graffiti.
    santa paula is an awesome area. one of my favorite hikes was around white ledge camp. thanks for checking in!

    • Tony Sarzotti

      As much as I love the Los Padres, …. living in Bakersfield now …. I’m headed for Mineral King tomorrow! Love that 10,000′ country!

  1. Pingback: Keeping the Pace | Holistic Body Theology

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