Cristal's Blog


March 30, 2023

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Santa Barbara is well known for its stunning beaches, but many people don't know that the surrounding wilderness areas are filled with hidden treasures—including waterfalls. Beginner to moderate hikers will find easy access to 4 stunning waterfalls in Santa Barbara County, which change in intensity based on the season and rain levels. Fortunately, regardless of how much water flows, the journey itself is pleasant any time of the year. So, lace up your hiking boots, head to one of these noteworthy trails, and get ready to be WOWed.

Nojoqui Falls cascading to a pool with two people sitting on rocks beside it
Image courtesy of Jack Elliott’s Santa Barbara Adventure
  • Nojoqui Falls
    Trailhead: North of the Gaviota Tunnel
    Nojoqui Falls is an easy one-mile walk, making it the perfect choice for a family outing. The well-maintained and easy-to-navigate trail is just over a quarter of a mile each way, taking about 20 minutes to get there and back. Located on the north slope of the Santa Ynez Mountains in Santa Barbara County, the falls are at their prime in the spring. The trail is wide, meandering through majestic oaks and laurels. At the halfway point, the trail enters a canyon that leads to a wooden bridge with stone steps on the left bank of the creek. The path will crisscross the canyon and deliver you to the viewing platform at the base of the falls.
Tangerine Falls cascading between yellow rock faces bordered in green vegetation.
Image courtesy of Jack Elliott’s Santa Barbara Adventure
  • Tangerine Falls
    Trailhead: Montecito’s Cold Spring Trail sign on East Mountain Drive
    This more challenging hike comes to life from March to November with a 100-foot waterfall, one of the largest in the area. If you’re in good shape, the 2.5-mile hike is well worth the effort. Part of the challenge involves crossing a creek and climbing boulders at the base of the falls, But once you reach them, oh, what a stunning view down the canyon with a glimpse of the Pacific. The fun begins at the main Cold Spring Trailhead. Climb the steep, wooden steps and continue walking along a creek. When you reach a bench at the signed junction for the West Fork of the Cold Spring Trail, turn left and cross the stream. Continue uphill to a junction marked by a giant boulder. Take the fork on the right heading down, and crisscross the creek until you reach the falls. Be careful as you climb the slick rocks to the base because they can be slippery.
One of the charming small 7 surrounded by boulders and splashing into a picturesque swimming hole.
Image courtesy of Jack Elliott’s Santa Barbara Adventure
  • Seven Falls
    Trailhead: Tunnel Road above the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
    This classic Santa Barbara hike is a mildly challenging 3.2-mile trek through the Los Padres National Forest. Begin on Edison Road, cross a wooden bridge, then continue straight on a dirt road. Veer left at the Tunnel Trail sign that will take you to Jesusita Trail. This trail leads to a creek where you’ll turn right, hop some boulders, and, voila! You’ll see the falls at the end of the trial. Go ahead and stop to splash and play in the pools along the way. You’ll be traversing history.

    "The music of falling water comes at intervals upon the ear. The uneven trail winding around huge rocks, upon the edge of precipitous banks or plying through the slippery stones at the bottom of the creek, gives just enough elements of beauty, danger, grandeur and loneliness to make a ride here thoroughly enjoyable. Near the head of the canyon is what is known as 'Seven Falls.' The water here falls into seven stone basins in succession. The rocky banks are broadcast with delicate maiden hair ferns and are green with moss. This is a favorite resort. At the head of the canyon is a large rock [Mission Falls] over which the water leaps with considerable force in the rainy season. This fall can be seen from the city." —Geography of Santa Barbara, Francis W. Conrad (1889)
San Ysidro Falls cascading down boulders with lots of surrounding vegetation
Image courtesy of Jack Elliott’s Santa Barbara Adventure
  • San Ysidro Falls
    Trailhead: End of Montecito’s East Mountain Drive
    In the foothills of Montecito, you’ll find a moderate 3.5-mile trek to the San Ysidro Falls. Much of the hike is an uphill climb along the well-signed San Ysidro Trail that heads to the falls. After the rain, the falls here are as dramatic as possible. Begin your adventure at the San Ysidro Trail sign, where you’ll bump into a paved road. Turn left there and head to a heavy gate that leads to a dirt road. Take that dirt road, and before you've hit the one-mile mark, the trail will leave the road at a redwood tree with a commemorative rock marker below. There, you’ll turn right, cross a large creek, and stop to view the amazing waterfall just off a side trail. You can’t miss it!

Along with these 4 Santa Barbara waterfalls, outdoor lovers have plenty of hiking options with access to everything from easy, flat paths through manicured gardens to challenging climbs that reach towering heights over the Pacific. So grab your backpack to hit the trail and get inspired by our one-of-a-kind trails with incredible views (and waterfalls).

Speaking of incredible views, if you are considering buying or selling a home in the area, please give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at for a free consultation.

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- M.F.

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- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

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- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch