1. Gaviota Peak
Instructions from Hikespeak:"Turn left up the fire road toward Gaviota Peak and Gaviota Hot Springs. After a short distance, the road crosses a creek and comes to a junction with a single-track on the right that heads up to the hot springs, reaching it after 0.1 miles. Gaviota Peak Trail continues past the junction. The road finds shade and passes through a metal gate, 0.9 miles from the start. Continue up Gaviota Peak Trail, which passes in and out of shade as it unrelentingly picks up elevation. After ascending a thousand feet over the first 1.6 miles, the trail enters Los Padres National Forest."
"A sliver of the Pacific Ocean comes into view to the west beyond the hills of Lompoc as the road continues to climb, putting on another thousand feet over the next 1.4 miles, coming to a T at the saddle northeast of Gaviota Peak. The junction greets hikers with a grand view down the other side of the ridge over a stunning stretch of coastline spanning east toward Santa Barbara. This should propel you on to the panoramic views at the summit. Turn right and finish the ascent, tackling the final 0.17 miles to the top of Gaviota Peak. The 2,458-foot Gaviota Peak rises mightily over a beautiful region of California!"
Option: "Those descending on Trespass Trail will find it completely different from the ascent. Trespass Trail is narrow, overgrown, and unmaintained. Definitely wear long pants if you trek this way or your legs will get scraped! Pick up the single-track heading southwest off the summit and prepare for sensational views. The landscape surrounding this trail is so pristine and wild, it is hard to believe you are just a couple miles from a major freeway."
Location:"From Santa Barbara, drive 30 miles west on the 101 Freeway. When the freeway turns inland, pass the Gaviota Rest Area and drive 1.5 miles to the next exit (132) labeled California One (Lompoc / Vandenberg AFB). At the top of the ramp, turn right and make another immediate right on the unnamed Gaviota Park Boundary Road. Continue 1/3 of a mile to the cul-de-sac at road’s end.
From Buellton to the north, take the 101 South for 8 miles to the exit for California One. Turn left across the freeway and make a right on the frontage road to the trailhead."
Trailhead address: Gaviota Park Boundary Road, Goleta, CA 93117
2. Gaviota Wind Caves Trail
2.5 miles round trip
Instructions via Hikespeak:"From the trailhead, start north on the paved trail running parallel to the 101 and Gaviota Beach Road. Just after the road bends to the right, make a left turn on to a narrow dirt path breaking off through high grasses, about an 1/8 of a mile before the end of the pavement. Look up and you can trace the trail over the ridge to the west toward the visible wind caves. After gaining the ridge, turn left toward the exposed pocked sandstone. There are a few other paths in this area, so follow the most worn trail straight up to the wind caves."
Location:"Take the Gaviota Campground exit (just before the rest area and the Gaviota Tunnel en route to Los Olivos). Just before the campground entrance, take Hollister Ranch Road up the hill to the right. Almost immediately, Gaviota Beach Road turns to the right and there are gravel turnouts on both sides of the road. Park here. The trailhead is on the right next to a mountain lion warning sign."
Trailhead address: Hollister Ranch Road, Gaviota State Park, Goleta, CA 93117
These hikes are about 2 hours away from SLO. BK said I should go for it, so next time I'm back in SLO I'm going to head out on these hikes. I can't wait and soon (below) this will be me!