Santa Barbara, CA

Tunnel Road to Rattlesnake Canyon

Source: Backpacker Magazine

Counteract all your beach lounging and wine sipping with this tough trail run in the Santa Ynez Mountains. You might not see a rattlesnake, but this steep run is not for the faint of heart either. A set of switchbacks up the foothills of La Cumbre Peak will get your blood pumping, but the descent along the canyon river is a lot of fun. Stop through the Botanic Garden on your way back for a peek at some amazing native plants, a Japanese tea garden, and a redwood forest. For a longer (but totally worth it) detour, bang a left onto the Jesuita Trail and enjoy the sprawling ocean views from Inspiration Point. Or run/walk/hike some of the other trails in Rattlesnake Canyon Park. Note that the name of the park is more because of the twisty nature of the trails rather than the prevalence of rattlesnakes…

The route follows Tunnel Rd., to Spyglass Ridge Rd, and then the Mission Canyon Catway for the back end of the loop.






  • 6.2 mile loop
  • 1414 feet with grades up to 10%
  • Mission Canyon
  • Parking along the road in Mission Canyon, just stay inside the white lines to avoid ticketing or towing