Tunnel Trail and Wildflowers

It seemed like a good day to take a hike up the Tunnel Trail along the side of Mission Canyon. One of the first things that I noticed was the abundance of blooming wildflowers everywhere.

A honey bee crawling around on some morning glory.

The plan was to hike up Tunnel Trail and connect with an unmaintained trail that follows the spine of the ridge in an area called Mission Crags. After breaking away from the gated road that allows access to the different trails in the area and heading up the actual Tunnel Trail the crowds dissapeared completely. During the days hike, once on Tunnel Trail I only saw four other hikers and a group of mountain bikers.

Ceanothus glowing in the sunlight.

Gaining elevation toward the ridge.


Canyon sunflowers and ceanothus along the side of the trail. Both are common chaparral plants.


The day was a little hazy  by the ocean, so the views toward the Pacific were not as clear as they could be. Sometimes the ocean is visible in many areas of this hike, but not today. No worries though, the many colored and varied wildflowers made up for the lack of clear coastal views.

Caterpillar Phacelia – a drought tolerant native annual which blooms March through June.

Arlington and LaCumbre peaks.

Once I reached the junction to turn off of the main trail, I proceeded through a bunch of thigh high flower bushes buzzing with armies of honey bees. The tiny overgrown path soon became a trail across a small knife edge ridge with plenty of 360 views. Continuing along the trail soon became so overgrown that the areas buzzing with bees were more frequent and were soon going to be chest high. I decided that this was my cue to turn back and return here when there are less flowers and the honey bees are not out in full force.

Speckled Clarkia

On the way down the mountain I noticed that the hazy marine layer toward the ocean had shrunk down a little and was now just covering the ocean like a snug blanket.

The trail heading back, there is a light layer of clouds above the ocean. Downtown Santa Barbara is at the middle of the picture.

More photos from this hike here:



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