Hey there Lovelies, Today I’d like to share our latest family ramble in Goleta, California at the Wind Caves located in the Gaviota State Park. After seeing a few reviews on these caves I put this hike on my California Adventure pinterest page and there it sat for a few months waiting for life to slow down and allow us another opportunity to explore a great outdoor excursion.
The trail starts out just above the Gaviota State Beach Campground. There is a cougar warning sign at the trail head. Although we did not see any ‘big kitties’, afterwards I read about someone that saw many fresh adult and baby tracks! Yikes, that would have scared me out of going 🙂 Our large noisy bunch probably scared them off. The trail starts off on a paved service road (see picture on left) and then climbs a dirt track up a hill. This hike is one of mostly climbing uphill, even though our just turned 3 year old could happily make it, we pretty much had to hold his hand the entire time! It was a bit difficult to keep Mr. Independent constrained, but it was also a safety precaution. There are some steep parts that require hand holding and some dangerous drop offs. At one point Hubbs tied his belt around the tiniest adventurer to make it less nerve racking for the parents and keep him from wandering too close to edges. As long as your little one is pretty happy to hold a hand, you might have to wait until the child gets a bit older. Our six year old was completely fine with most of the climb, only needed a tiny bit of help and he was able to keep himself well back from the edges without making us nervous. Joggers/strollers are out for this trail, but I could see some people carrying baby in a back pack if you are use to it.
Beautiful views on this hike!
When you climb to the top of the first hill you start clearly seeing some of the caves. There are many dotted among the hills, but only a few have trails to them. You can also see the freeway from here and many reviews disliked this about the hike, personally it did not bother me. You can also get a great view of the ocean. Turn left and keep climbing and you will come shortly to the first caves. They are very easy to find and you can tell many people have been here. Everyone has scratched their names in this one, its large and you can climb right through it. As you go higher, the caves are less marked up.
Pretty cool looking wind caves, but honestly the views on this hike were the star attraction for me.
Exploring a wonderland for the kids
These beauties dot the hills and sandstone creations line the walls.
This guy was all about drawing pictures of what he saw. And yes, everyone got very dusty.
This cave was huge, plenty of room for all the kids. I could imagine a native tribe gathering here telling stories around the camp fire at night. It has a super slanted floor to one side, perfect for sliding down.
Happy hikers taking a small rest at the top/end of our climb.
Hubbs guarding a hole at the end of a very slanted, slippery slope.
The said dangerous hole…awesome view though! This is where we turned around to head back down and have a picnic on the beach. I’m sure you could climb around much more and explore plenty more caves, but this was a good stopping place for us. All the kids had a good time and we certainly enjoyed this hike as a family. Some reviews weren’t too happy that the hike is short, about 2 1/2 miles, but it is just the right length for us. There were a several groups of hikers and a few kids/families. It was nice to know other people were around incase of an emergency.
Next we stopped at the van to grab our lunch and walked down the hill to the beach. There are a couple of picnic tables and bathrooms at the campground beside this old train bridge.
We found this massive dead crab! (My 14 year old’s hand for comparison) It was really windy and we were a bit tuckered out so we didn’t explore much of the beach, though there did seem to be some tide pools further up and there were a few people fishing. Hope that inspires a few of you to get out and see what adventures your neck of the woods holds. Have a blessed weekend.