Gaviota State Park

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Gaviota State Park
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Gaviota State Park from the Gaviota Peak Trail
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Location Santa Barbara County, California, United States
Nearest city Goleta, California
Coordinates 34°29′25″N120°13′45″W / 34.49028°N 120.22917°W / 34.49028; -120.22917 Coordinates: 34°29′25″N120°13′45″W / 34.49028°N 120.22917°W / 34.49028; -120.22917
Area2,787 acres (11.28 km2)
Established1953
Governing body California Department of Parks and Recreation

Gaviota State Park is a state park of California, United States. It is located in southern Santa Barbara County, California, about 33 miles (53 km) west of the city of Santa Barbara. [1] One of three state parks along the Gaviota Coast, it extends from the Pacific coast to the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains, and is adjacent to Los Padres National Forest. The 2,787-acre (1,128 ha) park was established in 1953. [2]

Contents

Geography

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Gaviota Beach

The park is bisected by U.S. Route 101, which turns north from the coast at Gaviota, passing through the Gaviota Tunnel and Gaviota Pass, which is actually a deep canyon cut entirely through the southern branch of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Gaviota State Park consists of two units, one on each side of the highway. The western unit includes the beach and associated campground, which receives most of the park's visitors.

Trails

Trail through Oak Woodlands plant community in Gaviota State Park Gaviota sp2.jpg
Trail through Oak Woodlands plant community in Gaviota State Park

Both sections of the park contain trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. The most heavily traveled trail is a short dirt road leading to a popular hot spring on the eastern side of the highway. A more substantial trail beginning at the same trailhead leads out of the park to the summit of Gaviota Peak, the highest mountain in the vicinity at 2,458 feet (749 m). While not exceptionally high, because it is an isolated peak the views are expansive in all directions; on a clear day it is possible to see much of Santa Barbara County, as well as the coast as far south as the Santa Monica Mountains. Trails within the park total 34 miles in all. [2]

Mountain lions may be encountered in the park, and warning signs are prominently posted. The park was closed for a month in 1992 following a near-fatal attack by a lion on a 9-year-old boy. [3]

Ecology

Plant communities in the park include chaparral in the upland regions, oak woodlands elsewhere, and both native prairie and non-native grasslands. They are part of the California coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion. The portion of Gaviota Creek that passes through the park includes one of the highest quality riparian habitats remaining in southern Santa Barbara County, and it receives strict environmental protection. [4]

Much of the park vegetation was burned in a large brushfire in June 2004, with wildfire being a natural part of the chaparral ecosystem.[ citation needed ]

Region

Adjacent to the park on the west is a large region of private ranches and ranchettes known as Hollister Ranch, which extends for almost the entire distance to Point Conception (where the California coast turns to the north). Access to this portion of the coast is tightly secured, and possible only by water for non-residents. Singer Jackson Browne owns a ranch adjacent to the park on the west.

Campground

The park includes a beach campground, which contains 39 campsites for RVs (up to 25 feet for most sites) and for tents. Additionally there are eight picnic sites. [2] The park also includes a fishing pier which includes a small boat hoist; also nearby are some favorite surfing locations. There are no hook-ups or dump station.

Climate

The park is subject to a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters, and sunny summers, commonly with morning clouds. Temperatures below freezing are rare, and summertime high temperatures rise with increasing distance from the coast. Because of the topographical peculiarity of the region, a single deep canyon cut through the mountains, at certain times of year, most frequently in late spring, winds blow through the canyon with great force. These winds, known as Sundowners, are common all along the south coast of Santa Barbara County, but are frequently most violent in the Gaviota area.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Santa Barbara, California City in California, United States

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Santa Ynez Mountains

The Santa Ynez Mountains are a portion of the Transverse Ranges, part of the Pacific Coast Ranges of the west coast of North America. It is the westernmost range in the Transverse Ranges.

Simi Hills Mountain range in Southern California, United States

The Simi Hills are a low rocky mountain range of the Transverse Ranges in eastern Ventura County and western Los Angeles County, of southern California, United States.

Hollister Ranch Undeveloped coastal area on the Gaviota coast

Hollister Ranch is 14,400 acres (58 km2) of fallow and fertile fields, mountains and valleys along the Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County, California between Gaviota State Park and Point Conception. The area is some of the oldest known human settlements in the new world, the last native population of which was the Chumash. The Spanish Portolà expedition, the first European land explorers of California, traveled along its coast in 1769. It became part of the extensive Spanish land grant known as Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio, operated by the family of José Francisco Ortega from 1794.

Santa Ynez River River in California, United States

The Santa Ynez River is one of the largest rivers on the Central Coast of California. It is 92 miles (148 km) long, flowing from east to west through the Santa Ynez Valley, reaching the Pacific Ocean at Surf, near Vandenberg Space Force Base and the city of Lompoc.

El Capitán State Beach

El Capitán State Beach is a protected beach in the state park system of California. The most easterly of three state parks along the Gaviota Coast, it is located about 20 miles (32 km) west of downtown Santa Barbara, in Santa Barbara County. The beach is named for José Francisco Ortega, who retired from the Spanish Army in 1795 with the rank of captain and received the Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio as a land grant.

Gaviota Tunnel Tunnel along US Route 101 in Gaviota State Park, California, United States

The Gaviota Tunnel is a tunnel on U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1 completed in 1953 in the center of Gaviota State Park, 33 miles (53 km) northwest of Santa Barbara, California on the Gaviota Coast. It is 420 feet (130 m) long and 17.5 feet (5.3 m) tall. Only the northbound lanes of US 101 pass through it, as the southbound lanes descend from Gaviota Pass through a narrow canyon to the west of the tunnel. Because it is the only major route between the Santa Barbara County South Coast and the Santa Ynez Valley, bicycles are allowed through it. There is a rest area for both southbound and northbound lanes on the southern end of the tunnel, the southernmost one along U.S. Route 101.

San Marcos Pass

San Marcos Pass is a mountain pass in the Santa Ynez Mountains in southern California.

Point Mugu State Park Park in California, U.S.

Point Mugu State Park is a state park located in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Southern California. The rugged, nearly impassible shoreline of the western Santa Monica Mountains gives way to tidal lagoons and coastal sand dunes at Mugu Rock. The western edge of the park adjoins Mugu Lagoon which is a protected area within Naval Air Station Point Mugu.

Gaviota, California Unincorporated community in California, United States

Gaviota is an unincorporated community in Santa Barbara County, California located about 30 miles (48 km) west of Santa Barbara and 15 miles (24 km) south of Buellton.

Backbone Trail Long-distance hiking trail in the United States

The Backbone Trail is a long distance trail extending 67.79 miles (109.10 km) across the length of the Santa Monica Mountains in the U.S. state of California. Its western terminus is Point Mugu State Park and its eastern terminus is Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades. The trail is open to hikers throughout its length. Dogs, mountain bicyclists and horseback riders are only allowed on portions of the trail as posted.

Sisquoc Formation

The Sisquoc Formation is a sedimentary geologic unit widespread in Southern California, both on the coast and in mountains near the coast. Overlying the Monterey Formation, it is of upper Miocene and lower Pliocene age. The formation consists of claystone, mudstone, siltstone, shale, diatomite, and conglomerates, with considerable regional variation, and was deposited in a moderately deep marine environment at a depth of approximately 500–5,000 feet (150–1,520 m). Since some of its diatomites, along with those of the underlying Monterey Formation, are of unusual purity and extent, they can be mined as diatomaceous earth. France-based Imerys operates a mine in the Sisquoc and Monterey Formations in the hills south of Lompoc, California, the largest such operation in the world.

Juncal Formation

The Juncal Formation is a prominent sedimentary geologic unit of Eocene age found in and north of the Santa Ynez Mountain range in southern and central Santa Barbara County and central Ventura County, California. An enormously thick series of sediments deposited over millions of years in environments ranging from nearshore to deep water, it makes up much of the crest of the Santa Ynez range north of Montecito, as well as portions of the San Rafael Mountains in the interior of the county. Its softer shales weather to saddles and swales, supporting a dense growth of brush, and its sandstones form prominent outcrops.

Circle X Ranch Park unit located in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

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Sherpa Fire 2016 wildfire in California

The Sherpa Fire was a wildfire that burned in the Santa Ynez Mountains along the Gaviota Coast in the southwestern part of Santa Barbara County, California in June 2016. In a matter of hours the fire spread to over 1,400 acres (570 ha) as the fire was propelled by downslope sundowner winds. This offshore northerly wind contrasts with the more typical onshore flow and sent the fire down the canyons towards the ocean with gusts of over 35 miles per hour (56 km/h). The wildfire resulted in evacuations at two state beach campgrounds and some residences together with intermittent interruption of traffic on a state transportation route.

Gaviota Coast Rural area of Santa Barbara County, California

The Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County, California is a rural coastline along the Santa Barbara Channel roughly bounded by the city of Goleta and the north boundary of the county. This last undeveloped stretch of Southern California coastline consists of dramatic bluffs, isolated beaches and terraced grasslands.

References

  1. "Gaviota State Park". California Department of Parks and Recreation. 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 "California State Park System Statistical Report: Fiscal Year 2009/10" (PDF). California State Parks: 18. Retrieved 2012-01-21.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. Mader, T.R. (2011). "Mountain Lion Fact Sheet". Abundant Wildlife Society of North America. Archived from the original on April 1, 2003. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
  4. Coastal Ranches Conservancy (February 2016). The Gaviota Creek Watershed: A Restoration Plan Update (Draft) (PDF) (Report). Retrieved December 26, 2020 via County of Santa Barbara.