By Mary Webb
Look no further than Tangerine Falls in Santa Barbara for a refreshing hike. This 2.5 round trip hike is a bit challenging and very striking. The wander starts on a level playing field and soon becomes steep in grade, about a 770 foot elevation gain in all. Hiking to Tangerine Falls is moderate in difficulty, particularly near the top.
It is a good idea to wear some good day hiking boots or trail running shoes for this jaunt. The varied terrain coupled with rock hopping along the creek can make for a slippery slope.
There is some poison oak tucked along the boulders; keep in check, especially those nooks where you need proper hand placement, as some rock hugging is in order along the trail.
The splendor along the way will energize your senses and periodic bursts of shade only seek to cool you down on the upward trek. Maiden Hair fern grows naturally along the creek bed and I took delight in the tiny frogs that hopped about with me on the creek bed rocks.
As you approach the last of the trail, you will find yourself upon a veil of rocks, limestone to be exact. It was great to finally reach our destination as I shimmied myself up and over the limestone to view the Tangerine Falls!
The Tangerine Falls is named as such because of the years and years of water that have trickled and roared down the great limestone face, creating an orange color embedded in the stone.
The limestone was polished in various locations due to wayward travelers before me. Watch out for the wet limestone, it can be very slick; but with gingerly steps you will have several choices and vantage points to view not only the falls, but an ocean view to the west.
This is one of those hikes that offer a good heart pumping work out as well as pristine beauty. You will be entertained along the way by the sounds of crackling creeks, dragon flies and dappled sun. The next time you are in Santa Barbara and want to peel away from the hustle and bustle, check out Tangerine Falls, an outgrowth of adventure!