UFO Landing Pad Loop Hike
By Robert Bernstein
We recently hiked the Hot Springs Trail in Montecito and spotted a trail we had never noticed before. So we came back a few days ago and explored this new trail.
Here are my photos of our little adventure.
We started up the usual trail from Mountain Drive near Riven Rock Road
We continued up the main fire road that ends up at the old ruins of the Hot Springs Resort. I love how these trees arch over the fire road.
A bit further along you will see a tiny little trail branching off to the right.
Here is a Google Map that shows this spot exactly.
You can see the red pin where we branched off of the main fire road. And you can see how the little trail heads east-southeast from there to connect to the Saddlerock Trail.
This is the mystery trail we were looking for and we headed up it. It is narrow, but in good condition and easy to follow. It is fairly lush with ferns and other greenery that likes cool shady spots.
Apparently at least one other person knew of this trail, because a guy came running up the trail behind us and passed us. At the top of this little trail we joined the Saddlerock Trail and got this view, looking to the north toward the Edison Catway.
But we went the opposite way on the Saddlerock Trail. Due south up to the spot that I call the UFO Landing Pad! As we headed up that short but steep little trail we got this nice view down the coast toward Carpinteria.
And soon we were at the UFO Landing Pad! We met a young couple there and they were nice enough to take this photo of us.
As you probably know, the rocks on that spot are used by the extraterrestrial beings to signal the mother ship so they know where and when to land there.
The pattern of the rocks is constantly changing. Sometimes it spells out a word. Sometimes it is a Yin-Yang symbol. But often it is a heart like this.
Here the couple posed for us on the rock overlooking the UFO Landing Pad.
After some snacks there we left them in peace and headed up the Saddlerock Trail to the junction with the Edison Catway.
Here was the view back along the Edison Catway toward the Saddlerock Trail and the Santa Barbara Harbor in the background.
We then came to the junction with the Bud Girard Trail.
At first there is a short but steep descent. But then it is a beautiful little trail with ferns and other lush green vegetation that thrives in the shade. Very similar to our newly-discovered UFO Mystery Trail.
In fact, when we were on the UFO Mystery Trail, Merlie thought it was this trail.
The Girard Trail ends at the McMenemy Trail where there is a memorial bench dedicated to Col Logan T McMenemy who donated the land and the trail to the public.
Another chance to sit and eat some more snacks, of course!
Then we headed back along the McMenemy Trail past the landmark water tank which seems to have an ever changing display of paint on it.
From there we saw flying things both natural and human-made.
This loop has the disadvantage that it bypasses both the Hot Springs Resort ruins and the actual Saddlerock on the Saddlerock Trail. But it offers a new route that includes the UFO Landing Pad and the views from the Girard and McMenemy Trails.
If and when COVID is under control I plan to lead a Sierra Club hike this way. But the earliest that could even be considered is July. We shall see! It is up to everyone to avoid indoor gatherings with people who are not part of your household. And to get vaccinated as soon as it is possible. That may be awhile away for many of us!