Gaviota State Park

Gaviota State Park is a state park of California, USA. It is located in southern Santa Barbara County, California, about 33 miles (53 km) west of the city of Santa Barbara.[1] It extends from the Pacific coast to the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains, and is adjacent to Los Padres National Forest. The 2,787-acre (1,128 ha) park was established in 1953.[2]

Gaviota State Park
Gaviota sp1
Gaviota State Park from the Gaviota Peak Trail
Map showing the location of Gaviota State Park
Map showing the location of Gaviota State Park
Map showing the location of Gaviota State Park
Map showing the location of Gaviota State Park
LocationSanta Barbara County, California, USA
Nearest cityGoleta, California
Coordinates34°29′25″N 120°13′45″W / 34.49028°N 120.22917°WCoordinates: 34°29′25″N 120°13′45″W / 34.49028°N 120.22917°W
Area2,787 acres (11.28 km2)
Governing bodyCalifornia Department of Parks and Recreation

Location and geography

Gaviota Beach

The park is bisected by U.S. Route 101, which turns north from the coast at Gaviota, passing through the Gaviota Tunnel and Gaviota Pass, which is actually a deep canyon cut entirely through the southern branch of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Gaviota State Park consists of two units, one on each side of the highway. The western unit includes the beach and associated campground, which receives most of the park's visitors.


Gaviota sp2
Trail through Oak Woodlands plant community in Gaviota State Park

Both sections of the park contain trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. The most heavily traveled trail is a short dirt road leading to a popular hot spring on the eastern side of the highway. A more substantial trail beginning at the same trailhead leads out of the park to the summit of Gaviota Peak, the highest mountain in the vicinity at 2,458 feet (749 m). While not exceptionally high, because it is an isolated peak the views are expansive in all directions; on a clear day it is possible to see much of Santa Barbara County, as well as the coast as far south as the Santa Monica Mountains. Trails within the park total 34 miles in all.[2]

Mountain lions may be encountered in the park, and warning signs are prominently posted. The park was closed for a month in 1992 following a near-fatal attack by a lion on a 9-year-old boy.[3]


Plant communities in the park include chaparral in the upland regions, oak woodlands elsewhere, and both native prairie and non-native grasslands. They are part of the California coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion. The portion of Gaviota Creek that passes through the park includes one of the highest quality riparian habitats remaining in southern Santa Barbara County, and it receives strict environmental protection.

Much of the park vegetation was burned in a large brushfire in June 2004, with wildfire being a natural part of the chaparral ecosystem.


Adjacent to the park on the west is a large region of private ranches and ranchettes known as Hollister Ranch, which extends for almost the entire distance to Point Conception (where the California coast turns to the north). Access to this portion of the coast is tightly secured, and possible only by water for non-residents. Singer Jackson Browne owns a ranch adjacent to the park on the west.


The park includes a beach campground, which contains 39 campsites for RVs (up to 25 feet for most sites) and for tents. Additionally there are eight picnic sites.[2] The park also includes a fishing pier which includes a small boat hoist; also nearby are some favorite surfing locations. There are no hook-ups or dump station.


The park is subject to a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters, and sunny summers, commonly with morning clouds. Temperatures below freezing are rare, and summertime high temperatures rise with increasing distance from the coast. Because of the topographical peculiarity of the region, a single deep canyon cut through the mountains, at certain times of year, most frequently in late spring, winds blow through the canyon with great force. These winds, known as Sundowners, are common all along the south coast of Santa Barbara County, but are frequently most violent in the Gaviota area.

See also


  1. ^ "Gaviota State Park". California Department of Parks and Recreation. 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "California State Park System Statistical Report: Fiscal Year 2009/10" (PDF). California State Parks: 18. Retrieved 2012-01-21.
  3. ^ Mader, T.R. (2011). "Mountain Lion Fact Sheet". Abundant Wildlife Society of North America. Archived from the original on April 1, 2003. Retrieved January 22, 2012.

External links

Artemisia californica

Artemisia californica, also known as California sagebrush, is a species of western North American shrubs in the sunflower family.

California chaparral and woodlands

The California chaparral and woodlands is a terrestrial ecoregion of lower northern, central, and southern California (United States) and northwestern Baja California (Mexico), located on the west coast of North America. It is an ecoregion of the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub Biome, and part of the Nearctic ecozone.

Coast Line (UP)

The Coast Line is a railroad line between Burbank, California and the San Francisco Bay Area, roughly along the Pacific Coast. It is the shortest rail route from Los Angeles to the Bay Area.

Gaviota, California

Gaviota is an unincorporated community in Santa Barbara County, California located about 30 miles (48 km) west of Santa Barbara and 15 miles (24 km) south of Buellton.

Approximately 70 people live in Gaviota. The town is south and east of Gaviota State Park. The road to Hollister Ranch, the large private land holding along the coast between Gaviota and Point Conception, connects with U.S. 101 just west of Gaviota, at the turnoff to Gaviota State Park.Industries include organic farming, ranching, and woodworking. Free range cattle can be seen roaming and grazing throughout the area. Gaviota is also home to a marine mammal rehabilitation center named The Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute ( which opened in 2006 at the historic Vista Del Mar School grounds.Gaviota was once the location of the Gaviota Marine Terminal, which is currently being decommissioned and abandoned, with intent to become public open space. On the mountain side of the freeway is the Gaviota Oil Heating Facility, also known as the "Gaviota Gas Plant", built by Chevron Corp. and currently owned by Plains Exploration & Production Company (PXP); this facility is being reconfigured and partially abandoned. The former purpose of the facility was to heat and process the heavy crude oil produced offshore so that it could flow through the All American Pipeline to refineries in the Bakersfield area.

Gaviota Peak

Gaviota Peak is a summit in the Santa Ynez Mountains in Santa Barbara County, California. It is located 10 miles (16 km) west of Santa Barbara, 16 miles (26 km) east of Point Conception and 2 miles (3.2 km) from the Pacific Ocean.

The Gaviota Peak Fire Road trail starts near the junction of U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1, in Gaviota State Park, and ends on the summit in the Los Padres National Forest. The trail passes Gaviota Hot Springs, and offers views of the Santa Ynez Mountains, Lompoc Valley, the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands.Gaviota Grade, is the most formidable in length and elevation change along U.S. Route 101 in Southern California.

Gaviota Tunnel

The Gaviota Tunnel (officially known as the Gaviota Gorge Tunnel) is a tunnel on U.S. Route 101 (US 101, most portions between San Francisco and Los Angeles follow the old El Camino Real) completed in 1953 in the center of Gaviota State Park, 33 miles (53 km) northwest of Santa Barbara, California. It is 420 feet (130 m) long and 17.5 feet (5.3 m) tall. Only the northbound lanes of US 101 pass through it, as the southbound lanes descend from Gaviota Pass through a narrow canyon to the west of the tunnel. Because it is the only major route between the Santa Barbara County South Coast and the Santa Ynez Valley, bicycles are allowed through it. There is a rest area for both southbound and northbound lanes on the southern end of the tunnel, the southernmost one along U.S. Route 101.

There are frequent rockslides in the area, especially during and following rain. Some of the hillsides and road cuts are covered in netting to prevent erosion. There are also fences made of netting along the roadway to stop rocks that do fall.

An alternate bypass to this section of US 101 between Santa Barbara and Los Olivos is provided by State Route 154 (SR 154) capped by the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge near the summit of San Marcos Pass. SR 154 cuts directly between Santa Barbara and Los Olivos in a northwestern direction, whereas US 101 runs along the coast of the Pacific Ocean about 25 miles (40 km) west before turning north passing through Buellton to meet up with SR 154 near Los Olivos.

Hollister Ranch

Hollister Ranch is 14,400 acres (58 km2) of fallow and fertile fields, mountains and valleys along the Pacific coast of California between Gaviota State Park and Point Conception. It was the site of some of the oldest known human settlements in the new world, the last "native" population of which was the Chumash. The Spanish Portolà expedition, first European land explorers of California, traveled along its coast in 1769. It became part of the extensive Spanish land grant known as Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio, operated by the family of José Francisco Ortega from 1794.

The land was purchased by William Welles Hollister after the Civil War as part of a large acquisition, the center of which was at Glen Annie, Tecolotito canyon. It continues to be privately owned, and is one of the last remaining undeveloped coastal areas in California. There have been conflicts over public access to coastal parts of the ranch for nearly 40 years. Beaches along the Ranch remain technically open to the public per California state law, but access is difficult because the ranch itself is protected private property.

Kashtayit State Marine Conservation Area

Kashtayit State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected areas that extends offshore in Santa Barbara County on California's south coast. The marine protected area covers 1.99 square miles. The marine protected areas protect natural habitats and marine life by protecting or limiting removal of wildlife from within their boundaries. Kashtayit SMCA prohibits take of living marine resources except: recreational take of finfish, invertebrates except rock scallops and mussels, and giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) by hand harvest is allowed.

Take pursuant to maintenance of artificial structures and operation and maintenance of existing facilities is allowed inside the conservation area pursuant to any required federal, state and local permits, or as otherwise authorized by the department.

List of California state parks

This is a list of parks, historic resources, reserves and recreation areas in the California State Parks system.

List of beaches in California

This list of California beaches is a list of beaches that are situated along the coastline of the State of California, USA.

Monterey Formation

The Monterey Formation is an extensive Miocene oil-rich geological sedimentary formation in California, with outcrops of the formation in parts of the California Coast Ranges, Peninsular Ranges, and on some of California's off-shore islands. The type locality is near the city of Monterey, California.

The Monterey Formation is the major source-rock for 37 to 38 billion barrels of oil in conventional traps such as sandstones. This is most of California's known oil resources. The Monterey has been extensively investigated and mapped for petroleum potential, and is of major importance for understanding the complex geological history of California. Its rocks are mostly highly siliceous strata that vary greatly in composition, stratigraphy, and tectono-stratigraphic history.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated in 2014 that the 1,750 square mile Monterey Formation could yield about 600 million barrels of oil, from tight oil contained in the formation, down sharply from their 2011 estimate of a potential 15.4 billion barrels. An independent review by the California Council on Science and Technology found both of these estimates to be "highly uncertain." Despite intense industry efforts, there has been little success to date (2013) in producing Monterey-hosted tight oil/shale oil, except in places where it is already naturally fractured, and it may be many years, if ever, before the Monterey becomes a significant producer of shale oil.The Monterey Formation strata vary. Its lower Miocene members show indications of weak coastal upwelling, with fossil assemblages and calcareous-siliceous rocks formed from diatoms and coccolithophorids. Its middle and upper Miocene upwelling-rich assemblages, and its unique highly siliceous rocks from diatom-rich plankton, became diatomites, porcelainites, and banded cherts.

Point Conception State Marine Reserve

Point Conception State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area that extends offshore of Point Conception in Santa Barbara County on California’s south coast. The SMR covers 22.51 square miles. The SMR prohibits the take of all living marine resources.

Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio

The Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio was a 26,529-acre (107.36 km2) Spanish land grant to José Francisco Ortega in 1794 and is the only land grant made under Spanish rule in what is today Santa Barbara County, California. A Mexican title was granted to Antonio Maria Ortega in 1834 by Mexican Governor José Figueroa. The grant extended along the Pacific coast from Cojo Canyon east of Point Conception, past Arroyo Hondo and Tajiguas Canyon, to Refugio Canyon, and encompassed much of the Gaviota Coast.

Salvia spathacea

Salvia spathacea, the California hummingbird sage, hummingbird sage, or pitcher sage, is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae, native to southern and central California growing from sea level to 610 m (2,001 ft). This fruity scented sage blooms in March to May with typically dark rose-lilac colored flowers. It is cultivated in gardens for its attractive flowering spikes and pleasant scent.

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara (Spanish: Santa Bárbara) is the county seat of Santa Barbara County in the U.S. state of California. Situated on a south-facing section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara's climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city has been promoted as the "American Riviera". As of 2014, the city had an estimated population of 91,196, up from 88,410 in 2010, making it the second most populous city in the county after Santa Maria. The contiguous urban area, which includes the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria, along with the unincorporated regions of Isla Vista, Montecito, Mission Canyon, Hope Ranch, Summerland, and others, has an approximate population of 220,000. The population of the entire county in 2010 was 423,895.In addition to being a popular tourist and resort destination, the city economy includes a large service sector, education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and local government. In 2004, the service sector accounted for fully 35% of local employment. Education in particular is well represented, with four institutions of higher learning on the south coast (the University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, and Antioch University). The Santa Barbara Airport serves the city, Santa Barbara Aviation provides jet charter aircraft and train service is provided by Amtrak the Pacific Surfliner which runs from San Diego to San Luis Obispo). U.S. Highway 101 connects the Santa Barbara area with Los Angeles to the southeast and San Francisco to the northwest. Behind the city, in and beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains, is the Los Padres National Forest, which contains several remote wilderness areas. Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are located approximately 20 miles (32 km) offshore.

U.S. Route 101 in California

U.S. Route 101 (US 101) in the state of California is one of the last remaining and longest U.S. Routes still active in the state, and the longest highway of any kind in California. US 101 was also one of the original national routes established in 1926. Significant portions of US 101 between the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area follow El Camino Real, the historic road connecting the former Alta California's 21 missions.

Although the highway has been superseded in overall importance for transportation through the state by Interstate 5 (I-5), US 101 continues to be the major coastal north–south route that links the Greater Los Angeles Area, the Central Coast, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the North Coast (Redwood Empire). Generally referred to as "101" by residents of Northern California, in Southern California it is often called "The 101" (pronounced "the one oh one"). The highway has portions designated as the Santa Ana Freeway, the Hollywood Freeway, the Ventura Freeway, South Valley Freeway, and Bayshore Freeway. The Redwood Highway, the 350-mile-long (560 km) northernmost segment of the highway, begins at the Golden Gate and passes through the world's tallest and only extensive preserves of virgin, old-growth coast redwood trees.

Vandenberg State Marine Reserve

Vandenberg State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area located offshore of Vandenberg Air Force Base, near the city of Lompoc on California’s central coast. The marine protected area covers 32.84 square miles (85.1 km2). Vandenberg SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited.

Vaqueros Formation

The Vaqueros Formation is a sedimentary geologic unit primarily of Upper Oligocene and Lower Miocene age, which is widespread on the California coast and coastal ranges in approximately the southern half of the state. It is predominantly a medium-grained sandstone unit, deposited in a shallow marine environment. Because of its high porosity and nearness to petroleum source rocks, in many places it is an oil-bearing unit, wherever it has been configured into structural or stratigraphic traps by folding and faulting. Being resistant to erosion, it forms dramatic outcrops in the coastal mountains. Its color ranges from grayish-green to light gray when freshly broken, and it weathers to a light brown or buff color.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.