Sierra Club Gibraltar Rock Hike

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Sierra Club Gibraltar Rock Hike
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By Robert Bernstein

Gibraltar Rock is one of the few Sierra Club hikes I lead that is mostly on normal trails! It is a bit longer than most of my hikes. About six miles round trip and about 1800 feet of elevation gain from the trailhead. Here are my photos from leading it a few weeks ago!

This hike was a bit chaotic with some people taking off ahead of the group and some people leaving. But all was well in the end as everyone seemed happy with what they did. I do a count at the start of each hike and often joke that I hope we end up with the same number, even if it is a different set of people. That is approximately what happened! Fifteen people participated, but not all at once!

We had three visitors from New York City, which is unusual. It was enjoyable talking with them and they enjoyed the hike.

We started up Rattlesnake Trail after parking in the Skofield Park parking lot. We soon came to the famous Cookie Monster Rock where some posed for photos.

It is still winter in most of the US, but here we were treated to a variety of early flowers.

This is Indian Pink. Not for the color pink, but for the appearance of being cut with pinking shears. So I have been told!

This is a Bush Poppy bush.

I believe this is called Blue Dick which is a kind of wild onion.

Rattlesnake Trail doesn't have many vistas as it is mostly woodsy. Here is the mysterious Round House viewed from below. Does anyone know anything about this?

There was water flowing in the creek in these woodsy, watery scenes.

Here we paused at the famous Meadow, which is the usual turnaround point for most hikers.

But for us it was the half way point to the top! The trail gets a bit steeper after the Meadow. Here the group streamed up the trail single file. You can see Gibraltar Rock in the distance directly above the first hiker in this photo.

The trail comes out onto Gibraltar Road. Originally called Depression Drive as it was built as a Works Progress Administration project during the Depression. Near the top of the trail is this magnificent vista.

We hiked about three tenths of a mile up the road and climbed up onto Gibraltar Rock. Wonderful views as we relaxed and had lunch!

I was grateful to former NASA geologist Tom Farr for educating us about some of the geology of Gibraltar Rock and the nearby area. Notably, how some of Gibraltar Rock facing Gibraltar Road is polished due to rock grinding past rock. Hope he will return for more hikes!

On the way down we met this couple cooling off at one of the shady pools.

You can see the schedule of all of our local Sierra Club Santa Barbara Group hikes through Meetup here. Everyone is welcome! If you are a member of Meetup you can receive free notifications of future hikes! My next hike will be this Saturday to Flores Peak!

https://www.meetup.com/SierraClub-SantaBarbara/

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John Wiley Mar 11, 2022 01:11 PM
Sierra Club Gibraltar Rock Hike

I've been curious about the Round House too, having first seen it on a flight some years ago and wondered if it was associated with the nearby transmitter towers (I don't think so). Fun to imagine the spectacular panoramic views it has.

tagdes Mar 11, 2022 05:36 PM
Sierra Club Gibraltar Rock Hike

It's a residence dwelling on 42 acres, worth $1.9 mil and been on the tax role since 2012.

Shasta Guy Mar 12, 2022 07:58 AM
Sierra Club Gibraltar Rock Hike

Thanks for showcasing the beauty that is just steps away. Many wonderful flowers are just waiting to brighten everyone’s spirit, and thanks for sharing them with us.

Emmenanthe Mar 12, 2022 06:57 PM
Sierra Club Gibraltar Rock Hike

Your "Indian Pink" is an Indian Paintbrush. Indian pink is in the carnation family, and looks it (fringed, "pinked" petals). Blue Dicks often embarrasses as a common name - an alternate is Wild Hyacinth. (You probably know the rock rose is non-native and highly invasive. ) Beautiful photos. Would love to have been there.

a-1647159561 Mar 13, 2022 12:19 AM
Sierra Club Gibraltar Rock Hike

I appreciate your stories as always, Robert.
No info on the Round House, but I saw this while down some online rabbit hole yesterday.
Tea Gardens. Only $78 million.
https://www.redfin.com/CA/Santa-Barbara/698-E-Mountain-DR-93103/home/177906707
Eighteen legal parcels on over 331 acres

sbrobert Mar 13, 2022 04:33 PM
Sierra Club Gibraltar Rock Hike

Indian Paintbrush is what I always called that plant. Until a trusted friend told me it is Indian Pink. EMMENANTHE thank you for setting things straight. Learning moment about the Rock Rose being invasive. Thank you for the kind words about my photos. Hope you can join a future hike.

JOHN WILEY, TAGDES thanks for the round house comments. I am quite sure it goes back long before 2012. If I remember correctly the 2009 Jesusita Fire burned right up to it from below, but spared the house. It would be great to know who designed it and who built it. Curious also to know something of the people who live there.

SHASTA GUY thank you for the kind words. Yes, so much beauty all around us awaiting exploration and attention.

MAR 13, 2022 12:19 AM thank you for the kind words and for the heads up on the Tea Garden. Oh, my. I am so sorry to see that it is up for sale. The current owner held it together as a single reserve for quite a few years. It would be awful to see it subdivided and turned into just one more overdeveloped property.

EastBeach Mar 13, 2022 09:43 PM
Sierra Club Gibraltar Rock Hike

Robert, pretty sure your friend's ID is off. Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja spp.) and Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica L.) aren't the same. Indian Pink is native to the southeastern US. The flower and leaves only look similar from a distance. Photos here ..... https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/spigelia_marilandica.shtml

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