Santa Barbara County sits on the Southern California coastline about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. It’s a beautiful and scenic place, home to both amazing hiking trails and exquisite fine dining. It’s also home to a shocking array of ghosts and spirits. Here are five haunted hiking trails not to miss if you’d like to add a little mystery and spookiness to your Santa Barbara vacation.
5 Haunted Hiking Trails in Santa Barbara County
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San Miguel Island
Lush and green and filled with wildlife, San Miguel Island is one of the Channel Islands located just off the Santa Barbara coast.
The island is uninhabited, but tours and backpacking expeditions are available. Often seen on San Miguel Island is the deceased spirit of a Spanish conquistador. If you can avoid his wrath, legend has it that before he died, the conquistador hid some treasures around the island. Chief among them is his jeweled sword, buried with him in an unmarked grave.
Las Cruces Adobe
Dating back to the Old West, the Las Cruces Adobe in Gaviota still bears the scars of that violent time. A colorful cast of ghostly characters haunts the building, including the spirits of three prostitutes, a gunfighter, and a vast number of Native Americans.
It is said that two of the prostitutes were murdered by customers, while the third committed suicide. The gunfighter died in one of the shootouts that were common to the time, and the Native Americans passed in a variety of circumstances over the years.
Las Tres Hermanas
Up in the hills of Montecito, home to movie stars and millionaires, the spirits of three murdered nuns stand watch. Travelers on Ortega Road frequently report seeing three nuns standing on the side of the road, arms crossed. Legend has it the “sisters” ventured out from the Santa Barbara Mission and were tortured and killed by bandits.
Las Tres Hermanas can be recognized by their glowing faces and shining blue eyes.
The Chumash Painted Cave
The Painted Cave sits at the very top of a very steep hill. It can be reached on foot with difficulty, but driving is recommended. The cave was named for the beautiful ancient cave drawings that still grace its walls.
Today, voices and flute music are occasionally heard in the darkness of the cavern. It seems the spirits of those who once lived there still come back to visit.
Santa Barbara City College
The gorgeous Santa Barbara City College campus, with its stunning views of the ocean, is known to be haunted by a White Lady. This type of spirit is usually harmless if creepy, and signifies a nearby murder.
The SBCC ghost appears about an hour after sunset, and may be seen leaping off the cliff towards Shoreline Drive. The most common story has her as a Native American woman killed by Spanish soldiers in the heyday of the Santa Barbara Mission. If you like your hikes and walks creepy, then check out the haunted areas on this list.
But are you willing to check them out at night?
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