Group crossing the creek on a recent Herb Walk at Arroyo Hondo Preserve on the Gaviota Coast. we're going back June 2. See the left sidebar for details. Photo: Linda Blue Photography

Arroyo Hondo Preserve & SB Natives Nursery

June 2, 2018 @ 10:30 am – 4:00 pm
Street parking for carpool
23 S Hope Ave
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Lanny Kaufer
Hollister Meadow at Arroyo Hondo Preserve. Photo by James Wapotich.


I was introduced to this beautiful coastal location by writer and hiking guide James Wapotich who says “Arroyo Hondo is considered by many to be the jewel of the Gaviota Coast.” The Preserve is managed by The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. It features a year-round creek surrounded by oak forest, coastal chaparral, grassland, and coastal sage scrub. It is where the Chumash village of Tuxmu was once located.

Crossing Arroyo Hondo Creek during the last Herb Walk. Photo: Linda Blue Photography

We’ll start with a carpool from 23 S. Hope Avenue in Santa Barbara.  At 10 a.m. we’ll drive from there about 30 minutes up the coast to Arroyo Hondo Preserve.  Also, at 9 a.m., those of us in Ojai who want to carpool from there to Santa Barbara will meet at Maricopa Plaza (1207 Maricopa Highway, Ojai). Carpools are optional, of course. Those who choose to drive straight to Arroyo Hondo will receive detailed directions in a confirmation email.

The plant diversity at the Preserve is exceptional. In the creekside riparian habitat we’ll see a wide array of Southern California native trees including White Alder, California Bay, Blue Elderberry, Bigleaf Maple, and Coast Live Oak, among others. The creek is also home to California newts.

California Newt in the pond on Arroyo Hondo Creek

Under the canopy we’ll look for Giant Horsetail, Humboldt Lily, Gooseberry, Stream Orchid, Hummingbird Sage, and Giant Chain Ferns. In the sunnier sage scrub and chaparral areas Toyon, Black Sage, Coastal Sagebrush and Greenbark Ceanothus are thriving.

Rondia in a forest of Giant Chain Ferns

After some easy walking, identifying plants, and stopping for a lunch break, we’ll regroup at 3:30 at the parking lot for a private, direct-from-the-grower, native plant sale hosted by Santa Barbara Natives (SBN), a beautiful native plant nursery managed by Arroyo Hondo Preserve Manager John Warner. SBN carries an inventory of about 100 of the most popular local California native plants. John will bring a selection of those we will see on our walk. People who register in advance will have the opportunity to request specific plants.

Once you are registered you will receive an email with more information and directions to Arroyo Hondo. The cost for the day is $25. The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County also requests a small cash donation at the site to cover stewardship of the land. There is no pre-payment required to register. Participants will receive an email afterwards with notes and a complete list of all plants and animals observed.


12 thoughts on “Arroyo Hondo Preserve & SB Natives Nursery

  1. Hi Lanny, I missed this hike last year after the fire postponed it. I really look forward to making it to Arroyo Hondo this year!

    I assume we should just bring cash on the day of the hike.

    Also, I’m the one who lives in Lompoc and would have an easier time just meeting you at the trailhead.


    1. Hi John. I’ll go ahead and add you to the list right now. Please watch for a confirmation email about a week prior to the walk with detailed directions for finding and entering the Preserve. Thanks!

  2. Hi Lanny, This will be my second trip with you, the first was San Antonio Creek trail.
    I’m thinking carpooling a good idea for this from SB, with those riding contributing cash for gas. I see the address for street parking carpool, but on the map, I can’t quite figure out where that is. Not Sears Parking lot?

    1. Hi Ginny. There is plenty of all-day curbside parking on Hope Ave. facing toward State St. and the mountains. I think that’s the east side of Hope Ave. Look for my green Honda CRV between 9:45 and 10 a.m. Thanks!

  3. Darn, have to cancel. Grandma duty rears its ugly head….maybe next time. Disappointed since I’ve never done this one!

    1. Hi Alexandra,
      Yes, lots of room for four. Please use the register button on the event listing above. No pre-payment is required, just your promise to let me know if you need to change your plans. Thanks!

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