Seven Falls LbNA # 3564 (ARCHIVED)
|Placed Date||Apr 3 2002|
|Location||Santa Barbara, CA|
|Found By||Martini Man|
|Last Found||Nov 7 2004|
UPDATE: The Seven Falls letterbox was washed away by the Jan. '05 storm. It's been recovered, and will be replanted soon.
Difficulty: Moderate 2.5 mile round-trip hike.
The rugged mountains that Santa Barbara snuggles up against contain a variety of good hikes. The Seven Falls Letterbox is on Mission Creek, up-canyon from the Botanic Gardens. This is a seasonal stream, but even during the dry season, the views of the Pacific make this a worthy destination.
Directions: In Santa Barbara, exit onto Mission St. & head north about 4/5 mile, then left on Laguna St. Upon reaching Mission Santa Barbara, go right on Los Olivos St., then left on Mission Canyon Rd. Watch for directional signs leading to the Botanic Garden. Follow Mission Canyon just over 1/2 mile to Foothill Rd., & turn right on Foothill. Still following the signs to the Botanic Garden, turn left on Mission Canyon Rd. At Tunnel Rd., turn left - this is where you branch away from the Botanic Gardens. About 1 mile up the canyon, you'll reach the parking area on your right. Just beyond here, the road is closed.
Hike up the extension of Tunnel Road through the gate, passing a water tank on your left. A "dog restroom" just inside the gate will confirm that you are on the right road. At Mile 0.5, the road forks. Keep left (uphill).
At Mile 0.7, you'll cross a bridge at Little Fern Canyon Falls (the falls are usually dry). A short distance further up the road, the pavement ends at a fork where the Jesusita Trail & the Tunnel Trail split. Bear left up the Jesusita Trail.
Continue on the Jesusita Trail for a few hundred yards as it approaches the canyon floor.
As soon as you arrive at the stream crossing, stop! To your right will be a pool (assuming the stream is flowing) at the base of a small waterfall. Turn & look behind you. About 20' up the hillside is an oak tree which forms an arch. It's branches point toward power lines on the ridge across the canyon. A small glade of ferns is in front of this tree.
The box is behind the tree, at the base, under several rocks (which are probably covered with leaves). Use caution when moving the rocks - this is rattlesnake country. Seven Falls is a popular hike with locals, so take care not to be observed. For good measure, sprinkle some leaves on the rocks when you're done.
After stamping in, you can cross the stream & follow the trail upstream along the bank to several nice waterfalls & swimming holes.
Here is a "Plan B" in case you visit when the stream is dry: From the letterbox, cross the creekbed & then take the left fork in the trail. This is the continuation of the Jesusita Trail, & it will take you about a mile up to Inspiration Point, with spectacular views of Santa Barbara & the ocean.