Aliso Canyon Trail

Area Status: Open
Aliso Trail

Opportunity for a shady 1 mile hike along Aliso Creek or a more strenuous 3.5 mile loop. The first mile is also a self-guided interpretive trail. The walk along the ridgetop offers views of the Santa Ynez River. The loop trail can also be accessed from Upper Oso Campground.

This hike starts out at the trailhead for the Aliso Interpretative Trail, which lies at the upper portion of the Sage Hill Campground. From here, head north following the trail. After crossing Aliso Creek two times you'll come across a juncture with the Aliso Loop Trail 1/4 of a mile from the trailhead. Continue straight ahead on the Aliso Interpretative Trail.

The trail then crosses the creek a few times before leaving the base of the canyon. At this point the trail climbs steadily up the shale hillside before taking you around the edge of a meadow. Continuing along the trail further, to mile 1.5 where there will be a trail junction between the Upper Oso Trail and the Aliso Loop Trail. The Aliso Interpretive Trail ends here and you'll join the Aliso Loop Trail.

Head south along the Aliso Loop Trail from this point. Along this portion you'll have great views of the San Rafael and Santa Ynez Mountains. The trail then makes its way down the hillside to the edge of the Santa Ynez Canyon, at which point there are good views of the Santa Ynez River–the longest free-flowing stretch of river in the Southern California region. The trail then makes its way to the bottom of Aliso Canyon via a series of switchbacks. Shortly after reaching the bottom of the canyon the trail reconnects with the Aliso Interpretative Trail, at which point the Aliso Loop Trail ends. Rejoin the Aliso Interpretative Trail by turning left. Hike a short distance to return to the original trailhead and parking area.

The parking lot for the Aliso Trail is located in the Lower Santa Ynez Recreation near the Sage Hill Group Campground. This area is managed by the Parks Management Concession Company for the Forest Service.

Parking at the trailhead is $10 per vehicle. Stop in at the White Rock Day Use Area, Kiosk at the First Crossing or Paradise Campground to pay for day use parking.

At a Glance

Area Amenities: Interpretive Site,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Fees: Aliso Trail Parking Area is managed by the Parks Management Company for the Forest Service. The parking fee is $10 per vehicle per day or you can purchase and display the Parks Management Annual Day Use Pass. The PMC pass is $50. For more PMC pass information, go to: PMC Annual Pass can also be purchased from the campground host at Paradise Campground, White Rock Day Use Area or at the First Crossing kiosk. Adventure Passes and Interagency Passes (Senior, Access and Annual) cannot be used for parking. 
Usage: Light-Medium
Water: water spigots at the Sage Hill Campground
Restroom: Resstroom at Sagehill Campground or at the Ranger Station
Operated By: Trailhead parking area managed by the Parks Management Company for the Forest Service
Information Center: Santa Barbara Ranger District office: (805) 724-0079. Calls are answered Mon-Fri, 8:00am - 4:30pm.

General Information

Directions: From Santa Barbara Hwy 101, 10 miles NW on Hwy 154, 4.5 miles East on Paradise, turn left at Ranger Station, go 1/2 mile to Sage Hill Group Campground. Trailhead parking lot is near loop 5.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking


Interpretive Site: Interpretive signed nature trail
Toilets: flush toilets at the Sage Hill Campground
Parking: Yes
Drinking water: water spigots at the Sage Hill Campground

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
3.5 miles

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