Carpinteria Bluffs Information

The Carpinteria Bluffs are one of the most scenic open spaces and natural assets remaining along Santa Barbara County’s urban south coast. This property offers panoramic views of the Santa Barbara Channel, the Carpinteria Valley and the 3,500-foot peaks of Santa Ynez Mountains. On aclear day, Anacapa, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands rise out of the ocean to the south. This is the largest undeveloped coastal open space left between the City of Santa Barbara and the Ventura County line. From the south, the Bluffs provide an extraordinary gateway to our valley and Santa Barbara County.

The Carpinteria Bluffs currently offer opportunities for a variety of passive recreational uses such as hiking, bird watching, biking, painting and family picnics. The 52 acre parcel provides access to an overlook on the neighboring property above a low tide beach and a California harbor seal rookery. The rookery includes a haul-out area where the females bear their pups. During the pupping season, volunteers watch on site to protect the newborns from human disturbance and to educate onlookers about the federally protected seals. The rookery at the Bluffs is significant in that it is one of only four along the Southern California coast and is the only one accessible to the public.

A regional bike and hiking path and the alignment of the Coastal/De Anza Trail are proposed along a portion of the Bluffs. A complex of playing fields, which are needed in the Carpinteria Valley, will be accommodated on the site in the future for active recreational purposes.

In addition to the scenic and recreational resources of the Bluffs, this land provides foraging grounds for such birds as the White-tailed Kite, the Loggerhead Shrike, American Kestrel, and Red-Tailed and Cooper hawks. The existing flora contain remnant native plant communities including coastal sage scrub and stipa grasslands as well as several stands of non-native but majestic eucalyptus.

The Bluffs, with their natural and scenic resources, are a magnificent outdoor classroom for school and youth groups in Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and other southern California communities. School children visit the site for nature walks, art classes and to learn about coastal resources such as the life cycle of the Harbor Seal or the ocean dependent trading practices of the Chumash. Acquisition of the Bluffs as public open space assures this natural classroom will be a permanent and integral part of our local curriculum.

The Carpinteria Bluffs stand at the center of a stunning collection of natural resources. To the south, the California Channel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuary and the Carpinteria Harbor Seal haul-out area offer visitors a sense of the coastal bluff setting. To the north, a spectacular view of the mountainous Los Padres National Forest, unobstructed by cityscape, greets visitors just a short walk from the Bailard Ave. freeway off ramp. A new network of hiking trails supported by the Montecito Trail Association and the City of Carpinteria laces the chaparral habitat of the foothills. To the east looms Rincon mountain and world-famous ocean point of Rincon. To the west lie the Carpinteria State Beach, the Carpinteria Reef and Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve, which is managed by UCSB as part of a statewide wetlands research and preservation program. Nearby, Carpinteria Creek is host to more species of birds of the Pacific Coast flyway than any other urban area between Pismo Beach and Huntington Beach. The Carpinteria Bluffs stand as the hub–the linchpin–of these numerous natural wonders that make the quality of our life in Carpinteria unique. Few communities of this size in the West have so much to offer.