This is a lovely hike in the lower parts of the mountains above Montecito. It's a very well-maintained trail, suitable for horses (hitching posts along the way.)
The hike is a loop, or more like a figure 9, that starts at the San Ysidro trailhead, branches off to the McMenemy trail, then forks over to the Saddlerock trail, the returns down the Girard trail back to McMenemy.
There are nice view spots along the way. You can choose to make your summit at the junction with the Girard trail for a 3 mile hike, or at Saddlerock for a 5.5 mile hike.
(P.S. I dare you to say McMenemy 5 times really fast.)
Please add a brief update about trail conditions. All comments are moderated and will not display until approved, which can take days if I'm away on the trail.
Did this trail to the hot springs today (McMenemy -> Hot Springs -> Saddlerock -> McMenemy). There was lots of poison oak on the first segment of the trail (technically the first segment of the San Ysidro Trail). The rest of the trail was in perfectly good condition. We were surprised to find a bunch of banana plants growing around the spring; it felt like being in a tropical forest (except for the strong sulphur smell...).
Posted by: Sebastian
Took the Arroyo Burro to Camino Cielo Sunday 06-27-10. Beware, in the dirt road, in the lower section of the trail, before you get into the single-track, there is a huge colony of ground-dwelling bees, that you will want to keep your distance from. There is another large colony about half-way to Camino Cielo, right in the middle of the trail, before you start decending into the next canyon. Upper trail was fairly over-grown with lots of different thorny weeds, and tall mustard. Upper-most sections of shaded trail has lots of poison oak, much of which hangs vine-like from the trees. I wish I had worn longs pants and gaiters over my socks.
Posted by: dmarchiando
Just did the San Ysidro/McMenemy/Girard loop on Wednesday. Excellent day for hike, and the trails were looking good after the rain. However, did come across many fresh tracks in the mud. Can't say for sure, but they were most likely cougar tracks as they were much larger than the 2" diameter usually seen with bobcat tracks. Either way, it was a good-sized cat. Once again, make sure you're paying attention out there and remember you are in someone else's domain. Happy Hiking!
Posted by: WhiskeyDoc009
I went hiking on this trail for the first time on Aug 1 2009. Just before the 1.5 mile mark (about 200 m) where there is junction with the Girard trail (There is a nice rock bench and a hitching post at the 1.5 mile mark), I saw a rattlesnake cross the trail in front of me barely 2 feet away. It was pretty scary, especially that I don't find snakes that appealing (to put it mildly).
I came back and checked online..the snake looked exactly like this : http://www.wildherps.com/images/herps/standard/018343_rattlesnake.jpg
Watch out and be careful on the trail. Happy and safe hiking.
Posted by: ashish
We ran the dog up the McMenemy Trail from San Ysidro TH to the Girard Trail and then down the catwalk back into San Ysidro Canyon the other night.
McMenemy Trail was in great shape overall. No one else out except a group of courteous mountain bikers that stopped and allowed us to pass (they were coming downhill while we were heading up).
Perfect hike/run to end the day with.
Posted by: carp_nb
Hiked this trail sunday, starting from the trailhead on east mountain and riven rock road. 3 different groups asked me if this was the trail to Cold Spring/Tangerine Falls. I think they all ended up going back on the dirt service road behind "saddle rock" and the power-lines down to the left (west) to the hot spring, thinking tangerine falls would be down there. Trail was in great condition. This is trail is fun to climb a couple rocks and enjoy the amazing views. All places are easily passable for dogs.
Remember the service road to the hot spring is on private property...
Posted by: jjcavins