Sierra Club Gaviota Loop and Hot Springs Hike!

Source: Robert Bernstein

What a wonderful group we had Sunday on our Sierra Club hike at Gaviota! I have only led this hike a few times, but this group makes me want to lead it more often! Such energy and enthusiasm!

Here are all my photos!

Antonia and Philip were back once again visiting from Santa Monica. And Jessica and Tony had been camping at Sage Hill and were visiting from SLO County.

We started at the Gaviota Peak trailhead, near the Gaviota tunnel, along Highway 101. We soon branched off of that trail onto the Trespass Trail. Then we soon branched again onto the Tunnel View Trail which is not well known.

We crossed a couple of little bridges:

But then I mentioned the side trail leading down to and under Highway 101. New signage shows it as the “Underpass Trail”. Everyone wanted to check this out even though it meant adding a mile to the hike as well as hundreds of feet down and back up.

As we got lower on the trail, closer to the freeway, the trail became quite overgrown:

But we pushed through and soon made it to the “secret” tunnel under the northbound lanes!

Then we continued under the southbound lanes!

My wife pointed up and noted the swallows’ nests above us!

And Jessica struck a wonderful yoga pose!

We climbed back up the Underpass Trail…

… to the Tunnel View Trail

… where we indeed came to a view of Gaviota Pass and the Gaviota Tunnel

And we posed for another group photo!

Another attraction on the Tunnel View Trail: Beautiful oak trees like this

And turkey vultures flying overhead like this one

As expected, there were overgrown sections and some areas had poison oak. Most of us had long pants to deal with that and most of it was avoidable. We reconnected with the Trespass Trail.

Then we stopped for lunch. In the past I had stopped at the highest point on that section of the Trespass Trail. It has a good view, but it is exposed with few places to sit. Fortunately, some thoughtful and observant people in our group spotted a small oak tree grove nearby. We relaxed in the shade with comfortable rock seating and with good views, too! Yay!

Here we are emerging from this oak grove

We continued back on the Trespass Trail to the main Gaviota Peak Trail. Then to the little side trail leading to the Gaviota Hot Springs!

Several of us planned ahead and wore bathing suits and lounged in the wonderfully warm and relaxing sulphur springs. Others just soaked their feet.

When we arrived there were quite a few people, but most of them left. One man with us in the pool was originally from Monterrey, Mexico, but now lives in Los Olivos. He runs up the trail to Gaviota Peak at least a couple of times a week! He said that he had just trimmed the hot springs trail. We were grateful!

Please note: You can see all of the Sierra Club hike listings here!

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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