Restoration and Recreational Areas

By partnering with several local, state, and federal agencies, as well as non-profit organizations, the RRWMD has created and expanded recreational areas for the public to enjoy and has established restoration areas in many sensitive habitats in our community.

Arroyo Quemado Trail at the Baron Ranch

Welcome to the Arroyo Quemado Trail on the Baron Ranch!

The Baron Ranch is located along the Gaviota Coast, approximately 25 miles west of Santa Barbara. The Ranch is comprised of 1,083 acres owned and managed by the County Public Works Department, Resource Recovery and Waste Management Division.  A public trail has been constructed on the Ranch and is managed and maintained by the County Parks Department in cooperation with the Santa Barbara Trails Council.  The trail provides public recreational access for hikers, bicyclists (non-motorized), and equestrians. The trailhead Is located at the Calle Real frontage road that parallels the north side of Highway 101. In the southern section of the Ranch a pedestrian bridge takes visitors along the west side of Arroyo Quemado, and about a mile from the bridge the trail crosses back to the east side of the creek. The trail consists of a 6-mile loop into the northern portion of the Ranch, as well as a connection to the West Camino Cielo Trail in the National Forest. 

    Baron Ranch Oak Trees Small

    The only area of the Ranch open to the public is the designated trail.  Public access is prohibited in other areas of the Ranch.  These areas, including areas immediately adjacent to the trail, are used for native plant restoration, wildlife conservation, and agriculture. 

    Baron Ranch provides important habitat for federal and state listed sensitive wildlife species including the California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii), the Least Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus), the Southwestern Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata pallida), and the Two-Striped Garter Snake (Thamnophis hammondii). Sensitive plants also found at the ranch include Santa Barbara Honeysuckle (Lonicera subspicata var. subspicata), Plummer's Baccharis (Baccharis plummerae ssp. Plummerae) and Hoffmann's Nightshade (Solanum xanti var. Hoffmannii).  

    Threatened and sensitive species are protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act, California Endangered Species Act, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations. Violations are subject to civil and criminal penalties and closure of the trail.

    Other wildlife present at the ranch include: black bear, coyote, mountain lion, rattlesnake, bobcat, deer, raccoon, migratory birds, frogs, turtles, and several species of raptors. Please respect their habitat; you are a visitor to their home.

    Trail Environmental Protection and Regulations

    Stay on the marked trail.

    Please do not disturb the Arroyo Quemado Creek corridor and other native plant habitats. Keep all activity on the designated trail. Sensitive species are present in habitats adjacent to the trail.

    Do not bring plants or wildlife onto the ranch.

    Animals not native to the ranch, such as bullfrogs, and non-native plants can seriously harm native species and are difficult and costly to remove once introduced.

    Dogs or other pets are not allowed.

    Sensitive species are present on the ranch. Dogs can damage egg masses if they enter the creek, harass frogs and turtles, and/or chase birds.

    Do not remove plants or animals from the ranch.

    If you are fortunate enough to encounter wildlife during your visit, for your safety and theirs do not approach, touch, startle, or feed the wildlife. Take photos instead of collecting flowers or plants.

    Protect the soundscape.

    Speak softly. Keep your music to yourself. Wildlife, especially during their breeding seasons, is sensitive to loud noises.

    Pack out what you bring in.

    No littering or dropping food scraps.

    Do not disturb the soil, geological formations, and archaeological artifacts.

    Trail Use/Safety Information 

    • Baron Ranch trails fall under the enforceable provisions of Santa Barbara County Code - Chapter 26. Violations are subject to fines.
    • The trail is open from 8:00 a.m. to sunset.
    • Cell service may be limited or not available.
    • The trail is in a high fire hazard area. No smoking or fires.
    • Due to the remote nature of the trail, visitors should not hike/bike/ride alone.
    • Poison oak, ticks, stinging nettles and other natural hazards are present throughout the Ranch.
    • Vehicles may be present on the trail/roads at any time in association with restoration, conservation and agricultural activities.

    If there is an emergency, dial 911.

    The trail may be temporarily closed. Observe all posted signs.

    Foothill Natural Area 

    The Foothill Open Space Area, once a regional landfill, is located between the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta. It served the South Coast of Santa Barbara County before the Tajiguas Landfill opened in 1967. The site now houses two non-profit organizations:

    • HEARTS, a therapeutic riding program for children and adults with disabilities
    • Growing Solutions Restoration Education Institute (Growing Solutions), a non-profit nursery specializing in native plant propagation

    Also, a biofuel innovator, Russell Teall, uses an area at Growing Solutions to grow jatropha plants, whose seeds hold great potential as a viable alternative fuel source.

    In addition, using two grants, RRWMD sponsored over 30 community planting days to have neighbors and other community members help improve the trails and restore the site with native plants.

    Carpinteria Bluff Natural Area

    The RRWMD cleaned and planted new vegetation at an abandoned burn dump near the City of Carpinteria in 2005. Used for decades by local residents and nearby oil extraction facilities as a place to burn garbage, this seaside property is now successfully restored and contributes aesthetically and biologically to the City of Carpinteria's bluff open space and trails, thereby providing access to community beaches and offering panoramic views of the Santa Barbara Channel.

    Carpinteria Bluffs