[out of 5]
|For:||Involves class 3 rock climbing if you do the whole thing. You can avoid the rock climbing if you wish, reducing this hike to about a 2.|
Big Boulder at the Playgrounds
This hike is a very special treat. The hike itself is not very long.
Perhaps you will travel 3 or 4 miles. But much of that will be rock hopping
on a Playground of sandstone boulders and crevices. If you are lucky,
maybe you will find your way to The Narrows, which is a very long, narrow
crack in the rock that runs for several hundred yards and leads you through
a dark cave at one point. If you are a climber, there are many great opportunities
for bouldering, and there is even a climbing wall or two. I am not much of a
climber, but looking at one of them, I would guess it is rated quite high on the
climber's rating scale as it is an overhang all the way and possesses "biohazards"—wasp
nests in enough holes that I would be afraid of each and every handhold.
But it is a well-used and obviously well-loved climbing spot. Someone
has taken the time to put in wood benches.
Disclaimer: Just because this hike is short it is not easy. It can be
difficult climbing the rocks. But you can make a short, easy hike out
of this if you want. You are free to stop at the first rocks you see for
a nice picnic overlooking Goleta.
The Playgrounds Updates
Update trail conditions
Posted: March 25, 2013, 7:09 pm
For what it's worth, you climbers are crazy. (And I like how you say "The Narrows" when we all know it's "The Amphitheater," haha.)
Posted: March 24, 2013, 11:25 am
For what it's worth, most local climbers refer to this place as The Playground, not The Playgrounds. Not to overly mince words or anythingójust trying to reduce confusion. The cave you encounter in "The Narrows" portion of the hike gets truly dark. A must-find!
Posted: January 14, 2012, 10:47 pm
Found it, not that hard to find. The playgrounds have jumped to the top of my favorite hikes, pushing Cathedral Peak to 2nd. I liked it so much, I am going back tomorrow.
Posted: January 6, 2012, 12:03 am
Please don't tell me where it is, I would like to find it. However please tell me what it is, so I will know I have found it when I do. I have never been to the playgrounds, but looking forward to doing it real soon. Done Cathedral Peak a couple of times and loved it. From what I hear, the playgrounds should be just as good.
Posted: May 24, 2011, 9:35 pm
This being my first post, I need to start off with a thank you. I've used this website pretty extensively over the last year and it has led to some great hikes. I also found my all-time favorite local spot (the Playgrounds) through this website and I'm happy to say I've been there no less than 15 times since last fall.
That being said, a group of taggers have recently hit the Playgrounds hard. Most notably the narrows. There's so much tagging in the narrows now that it's not even fun to hike to; I just get bummed when I see it. They even spray painted "blaze it" down the trunk of the tree growing up through the middle. Is there any way to remove it?
Posted: July 28, 2010, 7:11 pm
went to the playgrounds yesterday for the first time. The rock formations are fun to climb and explore. However, the brush was quite dense and overgrown and painful to maneuver through. I wore shorts and was very sorry i did. Burnt manzanita trees will get charcoal on you so watch out. Amazing views and fun bouldering but wear pants.
Posted: February 11, 2010, 4:13 pm
Is there more than one like the name implies? I only found one. And it was excellent! But I couldnt find any others. Just want to make sure I'm not missing anymore narrow passages. Hiked Playgrounds today and though the clouds were topping out over the peaks messing the view up, had a great time rock-hopping around.
Posted: September 1, 2009, 5:53 pm
Look for the grouping of trees just to the left of the Spaceship. Head in that direction. There is no set way of getting there, but keep looking, you'll find it. Certainly worthy it.
Posted: August 17, 2008, 6:01 pm
Can someone give me a hint of where the narrows might be. I know its hard to explain but if somone could give me the general direction of where to go from the boulder at the top of the canyon that would be great.
Posted: August 3, 2008, 5:30 pm
Thought I'd check it out after the Gap Fire. Trail down to the Playground is pretty burnt to a crisp so quite easy to follow. Once at the Playground I was surprised how much burnt even with all the rocks around, I had thought the nooks and crannies would of protected a lot. Only my 3rd time there and still didn't find the Narrows, but we didn't give it too much effort. A lot of ash and my lungs now feel like crud. Could even see some new green shoots coming up underneath some of the Manzanita trees.