Reopened/Restored Cold Spring Trail
By Robert Bernstein
The Cold Spring Trail is now officially open! I missed hearing the news of the official opening, but by coincidence, I hiked it the day before the official opening. The Sage Center at UCSB brings distinguished fellows to speak. And sometimes we are privileged to take these visitors out hiking in our area. This was the occasion for our recent hike.
Here are my photos of this Cold Spring Trail hike.
You may remember that in the summer of 2018 several of us Sierra Club hike leaders scouted the area to understand the challenges of restoring the Cold Spring Trail. Most of the trails were actually in fairly good condition. But the lower part of the main Cold Spring Trail just above Mountain Drive was completely obliterated. Here was my article from that time.
The first thing that impressed me on this recent hike was the restoration of trails on both sides of the creek in that area. Here you can see the high quality of the trail on the east side of the creek where the main trail officially begins:
Ashlee Mayfield of the Montecito Trails Foundation was kind enough to send me these photos of their restoration efforts in that area.
The stones had to be carted in, one at a time:
It was a group effort of many volunteers and many organizations and agencies over a period of many months. The result is restoration of one of the most used and appreciated trails in our area.
Here are a few more photos from our loop hike. Here we paused at the junction of the main East Fork trail with the West Fork trail. The West Fork trail leads to the Tangerine Falls trail and continues on up to Gibraltar Road.
Here is what that crossing looks like now. It is a wide canyon:
Here is a photo as I led a Sierra Club hike across that same crossing in 2013 when it was just a small creek crossing:
We continued up the main East Fork trail. A family enjoyed this small waterfall
We were rewarded with spectacular views at the top
We made a loop hike, descending on the "Hippie House Trail" which is steeper and stays far from the creek.
It also gave us a view of the Tea Garden across the canyon:
My greatest hope is that the reopening of the Cold Spring Trail will take some of the load off of the trails that begin at the Tunnel Road trailhead. Most notably, the Inspiration Point Trail.
Mountain Drive near the Cold Spring trailhead is still closed until a bridge can be constructed. But it is possible to park on either side of the closure and walk to the trailhead. I encourage people to check it out. I am certainly very grateful to all those who did the hard work to restore this beautiful and important trail!