Cold Spring Trail and Montecito Peak
[out of 5]
|For:||Long, steady uphill, if you do the whole thing|
Cold Spring Trail (I've been admonished that there is no "s" in the name) begins gently in shade by a creek that almost always has plenty of water. After a gentle uphill for 1/4 of a mile you reach a bench by the creek where you can sit and clear your mind with the gentle sounds of small waterfalls. This bench is at the junction of the West Fork of Cold Spring Trail. To stay on the main Cold Spring Trail, continue from the bench without crossing the creek. The trail climbs up and out of the shade to an Edison road with power lines. If you are tall enough to see over the bushes you'll get a good view of Montecito. On the way up to this spot, be careful on one of those switchbacks that you don't head straight and get off the trail. You will end up on a loop trail that brings you back to the trailhead. Another place to find this loop trail is from the power lines by turning right (west) and following the Edison road. Either one of these detours will provide you with a nice short work-out hike perfect for after work or early morning, or just when you feel like a shorter hike.
After reaching the power lines the trail continues eastward in chaparral up a very steep, rocky climb all the way to East Camino Cielo Rd. Before reaching the top is a turnoff to Montecito Peak, a very steep, but short climb to a pointy peak in the mountain range. There is a box hidden somewhere at the summit for logging your triumphant summit. At the top of Cold Spring Trail at East Camino Cielo Rd. by the water tower the trail actually continues down the other side of the mountain and deep into the back country. That part of the hike is described under Camino Cielo Hikes as Forbush Flat and Blue Canyon.
9 mile round trip.
Cold Springs Trail and Montecito Peak UpdatesUpdate trail conditions
Posted: July 12, 2014, 3:48 pm
Just a side note: I would suggest revising the directions to the trailhead. There are really two trailheads. One at Hot Springs Creek and the other at Cold Spring Creek. It's not clear from the text which trailhead is referred to. It sounds like the writer wants us to park at Hot Springs Creek, but the trail description appears to start at Cold Spring Creek. Confusing!
I would suggest starting at Cold Spring Creek (directly north of Westmont/Lotusland). It's more natural and far less dusty. Both trailheads get the same amount of use, so there's no solitude advantage though.
Posted: August 22, 2013, 8:39 am
temps were HOT! maybe 95. we encountered no water. trail was in great condition with a little bit of grass attempting to reach onto the trail. 2 ticks found on my arm during the hike, probably from this grass, but no snakes or other wildlife witnessed. lots of deer and bobcat poop. fun hike outside of the heat. all pics are up here, as well as a gps log and what-not.
Posted: December 31, 2012, 9:46 am
However I was greatly disturbed at the amount of DogiPot Waste Bags I saw just pitched on the sides of the trails!!! Especially right at the entrance to the East/West Fork!
This is NOT OKAY... The average DogiPot waste bag takes between 6-24 months to degrade in the wilderness, and that is under perfect conditions (getting constant rain, and sun exposure).
If your going to use a waste bag especially if you are near the entrance just walk the 4 minutes back down to the trailhead and dispose of it properly!!
Otherwise unless your dog does his/her business in the middle of the trail, just LEAVE IT!!! Dog waste will dispose 10X faster than DogiPot Bags!!!!
Please people let's respect what little wilderness we have left!
Posted: June 13, 2012, 6:11 pm
Posted: November 20, 2011, 3:09 am
However there was one male jogger with black dog who couldn't have been a bigger a**. Just a reminder to those who feel bikes don't belong on the trails, we have just as much right to be on the trail as you do. (yes there are some downhill/cross country mt bikers that are rude/unsafe, but I am not one of them.) I have a bell on my bike. I control my speed. I made a complete stop and allowed this hiker to pass me while adding that I was solo. There was no reason for this jerk to tell me (a 31 year old female backerpacker/hiker/mt biker) that I didn't belong on the trail.
Please share the trails
Posted: June 15, 2011, 8:43 pm
This trail essentially leads to nothing. There's a bit of scrambling over some large boulders and if you keep hiking up and up the terrain gets super slippery and the trail just eventually ends. We were on all fours ducking under branches and climbing. If you want to explore this area, you need a machete for sure. Going back down is quite an adventure. It was impossible to get any traction so we literally resorted to sliding down the hill at times.
Lesson learned...go RIGHT after the second creek crossing. At first it looks like the trail heads down hill and loops back to the start, but it doesn't!! After a few steps it starts heading up to the left toward Montecito Peak. backpack
Posted: May 21, 2011, 9:36 am
Posted: April 24, 2011, 2:00 pm
Posted: March 10, 2011, 2:45 pm
Posted: October 24, 2010, 7:50 pm
The trail I took down makes the hike about a 10-plus mile loop and reaches Camino Cielo about a mile east of the point where you reach the road. To find it, walk east on Camino Cielo from the Cold Spring trailhead and watch for a ridgline trail coming up out of the canyon. The trail goes down the eastern flank of the ridge that basically separates Cold Spring canyon, staying on the ridgeline for a ways before diving down to the stream. Presently it is rather obscured by some tall grasses, so keep a sharp eye as you round a prominent corner towards the ocean. The upper mile or so has some wonderful spots, but a good portion of this trail is a steep, unengineered hack in need of water bars and switchbacks, or it will become a rain gully like several other front country trails. At one narrow stretch of steep downhill I came across a very large rattler. Two snakes in one day! We had a lengthy session of territorial compromise that ended amicably for both parties, but was rather tense at times.
Tangerine Falls had barely any water in it today, but more rain is on the way. Iím hoping the ground is still holding water from last yearís rains and will saturate sooner this season, letting the falls spill away.