Montecito Hot Springs – Santa Barbara, CA

Montecito Hot Springs, situated in Santa Barbara County, California, is a popular destination for those seeking a unique and beautiful getaway. The location is renowned for its naturally occurring thermal hot spring, which is maintained by both the United States Forest Service and local hot springs resorts. The warm waters, ranging from 95-105 Fahrenheit, are soothing and enjoyable and can be found in a variety of hot spring pools of different sizes and temperatures.

The journey up the winding Hot Springs Road to Montecito Hot Springs is an adventure in itself, offering views of meadows and mountain peaks. Along the way, visitors will pass signs about water conservation, a reminder of the importance of preserving the natural beauty of the area. The hot springs, with their unmistakable sulfur smell, have a rich history dating back to 1846 when they served as a meeting point between Mexican-American forces during the war. Today, the hot springs still offer medicinal benefits and a relaxing atmosphere.

In addition to the hot springs, visitors can explore the forest trails located near Montecito Hot Springs. These trails offer moderate hikes through stunning scenery, providing excellent views of the surrounding area. It’s no wonder that the location is a popular destination for those seeking a scenic and unique getaway.

Montecito Hot Springs is currently undergoing renovations to improve and expand the existing hot pools. These renovations will ensure that future generations can appreciate the beauty and healing properties of this amazing location. The fund drive for the renovations is ongoing, and supporters can contribute to the preservation of this unique and beautiful location.


Montecito Hot Springs – Santa Barbara, California
Montecito Hot Springs (Hot Springs Canyon) –

Montecito Hot Springs a.k.a “Hot Springs Canyon,” is a natural hot spring located in the Los Padres National Forest, just outside of Santa Barbara, California. The hot springs are located in a remote area of the forest and are accessible via a two-mile hike from the trailhead. The hot spring features a series of hot pools that vary in temperature, from 104°F to a chilly 58°F. The hot springs are also surrounded by a lush canyon and are a popular destination for hikers, soakers, and nature lovers alike.

The Montecito Hot Springs have a long and interesting history. The hot springs were first discovered in the late 1800s by the Chumash Native Americans, who used the hot water for healing and spiritual rituals. In the early 1900s, the hot springs were developed into a resort, but the resort was eventually abandoned due to a lack of visitors. In the mid-1900s, the hot springs were revived as a popular destination for soakers and adventurers. In 2019, the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County acquired the land around the hot springs to protect the area from development.

The Hot Spring Pools

Montecito Hot Springs – Santa Barbara, California
Montecito Hot Springs – Santa Barbara, California

The Montecito Hot Springs boast a range of temperatures in their hot spring pools, from a toasty 104°F to a more refreshing 58°F. The hottest pool is nestled at the top of the canyon, surrounded by lush foliage and a cascading waterfall, while the cooler pools can be found further down the canyon. Luckily, all the pools are open to the public, so visitors can enjoy a relaxing soak while taking in the beautiful surroundings.

The pools are connected by natural rock walls that cascade into one another, making for a unique and picturesque setting. What’s more, the largest pool can accommodate a sizable group of people at once. And if you’re so inclined, you can take a dip in the buff, as clothing is optional and many locals prefer to swim au naturel.

While enjoying the hot springs, you may notice a slight sulfuric odor in the air. Don’t worry, this is a natural occurrence due to the mineral content in the water. In fact, the water’s high mineral levels give it a striking blue hue that’s sure to impress. To avoid crowds, consider visiting during the week when fewer people are likely to be around.

It’s worth noting that the hot spring water can be damaging to water lines and pipes, so the springs are sourced from spring to spring. This ensures that the water remains fresh and doesn’t cause any harm to the surrounding area. So, take a dip and enjoy the mineral-rich water, but be mindful of its impact on the environment.

Overall, the Montecito Hot Springs offer a unique and rejuvenating experience for those seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. So, whether you’re looking to unwind with a refreshing dip or soak up the natural beauty of Hot Spring Canyon, the Montecito Hot Springs have something for everyone.


At neither the springs’ location nor anywhere along the path leading to them is camping permitted for more than one night. There are a few different places to stay in the town of Montecito, one of which is the San Ysidro Ranch, a five-star resort that spans across 500 acres and dates back to the late 19th century. This property is located close to the trailhead to Montecito Springs, and it also features a pool and spa to make for a relaxing and enjoyable getaway that focuses on the great outdoors.

Exploring Hot Springs Canyon

In addition to the hot spring pools, visitors can also explore the lush canyon that surrounds the hot springs. The canyon is filled with lush vegetation and a variety of wildlife, including birds, deer, and other animals. There are also several springs and waterfalls located in the canyon, which are a great spot to take a break and soak in the beauty of the canyon.

Hiking the Hot Springs Canyon Trail

Hiking the Hot Springs Canyon Trail
Hiking the Hot Springs Canyon Trail

Nestled in the scenic Montecito, California, the Hot Springs Canyon Trail is the perfect destination for hikers of all skill levels. The trail is a four-mile loop that can be completed year-round, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Starting at the trailhead located at Olive Mill Road, the trail takes you on a rewarding journey through the McMenemy Trail. The trail is well-maintained and offers a variety of beautiful views, including fabulous ocean views that will leave you in awe.

The Hot Springs Canyon Hike is an amazing trail that takes you through a couple of trails, including the Cold-Hot Springs Connector Trail. The trail has an advanced difficulty level, making it a challenging hike for those who are looking for a day of hiking. The climb of trail stairs on this arduous 10-mile hike is worth it, as the views are simply beautiful.

For those who are looking for a less challenging hike, the trail offers a variety of other beautiful trails. The Boundary Road trail takes you on a downhill hike, while the clay road trail offers a dusty backpacking trail. The trail is also a great spot for birdwatching, as there are a variety of birds that can be spotted along the trail.

The Hot Springs Canyon Trail is a backup trail location, in case the primary trails are closed. The trail is a beautiful hike that offers a mix of advanced difficulty hikes and foothill hikes. The trail is also a great spot for those who are looking for a day hike.

Hiking the Hot Springs Canyon Trail is a beautiful experience that will leave you in awe of the natural beauty of Montecito. The trail is an awesome hike that offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. The trail is also a great spot for those who are looking for a challenging hike or a less challenging hike.

How to get to Montecito Hot Springs

The Montecito Hot Springs are accessible via a two-mile hike from the trailhead. The trailhead is located on Hot Springs Road, which is located off of the main highway. The hike is relatively easy, with a steady incline that is suitable for all skill levels. The hike takes approximately two hours, depending on your pace. Once you reach the hot springs, you will be greeted by a lush canyon and a series of hot pools.

To get to the springs, visitors have to complete a one-way hike that is approximately four miles long and ranges in difficulty from easy to moderate. The beginning of the trail can be found in a small parking lot to the north-northwest of Montecito at the address 1217 East Mountain Drive. Because there are only about seven or eight parking spots available, arriving earlier is strongly encouraged.

The starting point of the trail is located at 1217 E Mountain Dr, Montecito, California 93108.

We strongly suggest that you use this map from as a compass to help you navigate.

Because they are not marked particularly clearly, locating the hot springs can be a bit of a challenge at times. At the trail’s first fork, keep to the left side of the split. At the second fork in the road, keep to the left. At the third fork in the road, keep to the right.

Take the left fork in the trail at the fourth fork after you’ve passed the ruins of the hotel (you’ll see a sign about water conservation when you’ll cross it and start to smell sulphur as you get closer). After passing over a shallow riverbed, you won’t have much further to go before you see the hot springs off to the left of the trail.

At the trailhead, there is on-street parking available; however, it is very limited.

When visitors hike up to the springs, they follow a rural path that winds through picturesque forest landscapes and affords them glimpses of the ocean. It is highly recommended to put on sturdy shoes that can get wet. On the trail that leads to the springs, there isn’t a lot of clear signage; however, hikers who came before you have all suggested taking a left turn whenever it’s possible to ensure you don’t get lost.

Tips for Visiting Montecito Hot Springs

When visiting Montecito Hot Springs, it’s important to be prepared. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit:

  • Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as the hike to the hot springs can be quite strenuous.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and the terrain.
  • Wear sturdy shoes for the hike, as the trail can be quite rocky in spots.
  • Bring a flashlight or headlamp for the hike, as the canyon can be quite dark at night.
  • Be prepared for the hot springs, as the temperature can vary from pool to pool.
  • Respect the area by taking only photos and leaving only footprints.

Other Hot Springs in Santa Barbara

Gaviota Hot Springs
Gaviota Hot Springs

In addition to the hot springs and the canyon trail, there are a variety of other attractions located near Montecito Hot Springs. The nearby town of Gaviota is home to the Gaviota Hot Springs, which is another popular destination for soakers and adventurers. There is also the Padre ruin, which is a historic site located near the hot springs. There are also a variety of other trails in the area, including the Cascade Trail and the Hot Springs Road Trail.

If you’re looking for a truly unique and extraordinary experience, head to California and check out the hot springs! From the remote and rugged hot springs of Santa Barbara to the geothermal ponds of Calistoga, there’s something for everyone.

Santa Barbara is especially known for its hot springs, with one of the most popular being the San Miguel Hot Springs. This hot spring is tucked away in the hills of Santa Barbara and has been used for thousands of years by the Chumash people. Here you can relax and enjoy the warm waters and stunning views of the surrounding hills.

Meanwhile, Calistoga is home to a number of geothermal ponds, known as the Calistoga Hot Springs. These ponds are filled with hot mineral water, perfect for soaking and relaxing. There are even private cabins available so you can soak in your own private hot spring. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing escape or an adventurous exploration, California’s hot springs are sure to please. So don’t wait – head to California and experience the wonders of the hot springs!


Montecito Hot Springs is a beautiful and unique destination located in the Los Padres National Forest, just outside of Santa Barbara. The area is a great spot for hiking, exploring, and soaking in the hot springs. The hot spring pools vary in temperature, from a hot 104°F to a chilly 58°F, and are a great spot for relaxing and unwinding. If you’re looking for a unique getaway, then look no further than Montecito Hot Springs. So, grab your hiking shoes and head out to explore the beauty of Montecito Hot Springs!

Local Information

Address: 1217 E Mountain Dr, Montecito, California 93108
Season: Year-round
Length: 4 miles (one-way)




Anne loves to explore the world and share her experiences through her blog. She loves to travel to places that are off the beaten path and find unique experiences to share with her readers. She also loves to share tips on how to make the most of a trip, from budgeting to activities. She hopes that her blog will inspire others to explore the world and enjoy the beauty of nature.