Jesusita Trail starts in the lower elevations of the hills east of the Santa Barbara then climbs up to about 2300 ft., affording beautiful pans of the city, surrounding coastline and Channel Islands further afield.
Its not too difficult to find the trailhead, although you traverse a residential neighbourhood first before landing at a water treatment plant, which is your landmark to stop and park at the few scant slots in a dirt parking area. The trailhead is just beyond the plant and its clearly marked. If for some reason the makeshift parking lot is full, as was the case for me, you can circle back to the residential neighbourhood which is less than a 1/4 mile away.
I’d characterize this trek as medium difficulty. Of the 4.2 mile path, the first half is wide paths and not very challenging since the elevation changes come is small doses over large spans. The second half is more challenging because the paths are narrower, switchback, riddled with rocks and tree roots and the elevation changes are notable and continuous. One way took me 2 hours but I was stopping frequently to snap some shots. When there were forks in the path they were accompanied by a ‘trail’ sign which was small but it was also white with blue lettering so it stood out. There was one stretch taking me through private property, which seems odd but completely OK, the only judgement I received was from the resident horse who followed me from one side to the other.
There are no services on this trail so bring some water and snacks.
I passed a guy on crutches doing this trail. Eventually he would reach the top while I was perched on a rock having a snack. It took him 4 hours, but he made it – so can you.