A hike up along the Mission Crag ridgeline in the Santa Ynez Mountains just north of Santa Barbara. A loop was made by following Tunnel Trail up to the ridge and following the ridge east to the power lines joining an Edison service road which leads back toward the start of Tunnel Trail.
The hike is best done during the winter when the vegetation is at its lowest. This makes the route easier to follow. I attempted to hike the ridge in the spring, but turned back when I began to get chest deep in flowers and bees.
The path is more like a game trail most of the way, although you just need to follow the top of the ridge. When arriving toward the power lines,they should be visible enough to lead you to them. Some of the route has a “knife edge” feel which makes for sweeping views and much exposure.
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The Mission Crag area as seen from theTunnel Trail approach.
A view of the Arlington Peak ridgeline from Tunnel Trail.
A view of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean from Tunnel Trail.
Getting closer to the crag ridgeline. The outcrop in the center of the photo reminds me of the pyramid on the dollar bill.
Tunnel Trail just before the intersection with the Mission Crag path.
On the Mission Crag ridgeline. The path is easier to follow in the winter.
This is what the trail looks like for most of the way along the ridge.
Looking back at the ridge from a high point. Two other hikers are visible on the ridge in the center of the photo.
Due to a recent cold spell, there was still some frozen ground and ice in the shadows, even in the afternoon. The elevation here is about 2500 feet.
Panoramic view of Rattlesnake Canyon from the ridge. The Tunnel Trail Connector is visible on the bottom left and the Tin Can Flats meadow is seen to the center right of the photo. Gibraltar Road and Gibraltar Rock can be seen toward the top of the Canyon.
The view southeast from the ridge. The trail follows the ridge then decends to the powerlines on the right. From there I hiked the Edison service road back to the intersection with Tunnel Trail.
View to the northwest on the ridge. Arlington and LaCumbre Peaks are in the distance.
Looking into Rattlesnake Canyon, some Toyon and sage make for nice color in the foreground.
The Edison service road leading back to Tunnel Trail.
View of the crags from the Edison service road. Most of the route and the powerlines are visible from here.
The crags as seen from deep in a small side canyon on the east side of Mission Canyon.
Panoramic view from the Edison service road.