Camuesa Road Connector Trail
Last summer my husband and I took our horses up to Santa Barbara. We camped at Rancho Oso Guest Ranch which has horse facilities right next to your campsite so you can wake up in the morning, have coffee with your horse, saddle up and ride out on the many miles of trails. We’ve been able to try out four or five of the trails so far, and this is one of my two favorites. It’s about 10 miles round trip but in our case, one of the trail heads that connects the road to the ranch was closed off, so it turned into more of a 13 mile ride for us. The trail is made up dirt road, single-track trail and paved road which is nice because you can ride side by side for a quite a bit. There is a 1000 foot elevation, but it’s pretty gradual. So the ride, while challenging (there are some switchbacks), is pleasant, unlike some of the trails which can be “stressful” if you’re at all afraid of heights – which I am. The Camuesa Connector Trail is a great loop ride so you see different scenery the whole way. Most people start at Upper Oso Campground, then through the locked gate to the Camuesa dirt road, on to the connector trail, then take the trail down to Paradise Road, riding back to Lower Oso campground/picnic area. There are a couple places where you have to cross the Santa Ynez River (fun!!) and lots of spots to enjoy the view. The trail is part of the Santa Barbara Ranger District and is in the Los Padres National Forest – really pretty. Some of the Forest Service campgrounds also have a limited number of horse pens, so you don’t have to stay at the Rancho Oso Guest Ranch if you don’t want to, but it’s a little cushier with their hot coffee and breakfast.
That’s my husband there, taking it all in.
I think Scotch saw or heard something in there…
Here, you can see where the trail leads. I’m sure my husband is thinking: “You mean we still have that far to go???”
The dirt road goes right along the edge of the mountain, but it’s nice and wide, so it’s not scary.
Taking a little break.
Here’s where the trail breaks off into different directions. It’s pretty well marked, as you can see.
At this point we’d gone over and around the mountain, and from here you can see the road that follows the river. That’s where we’ll come out and head towards the campground.
I love seeing this part of California, still undeveloped.
The river’s pretty low in the summer, so it’s easy to cross and the horses love the cool, fresh water after hours on the trail.
Here’s a view of our campsite with horse pens.