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Douglas Family Preserve

Santa Barbara, California, United States


Douglas Family Preserve is doggy heaven. Dogs can run free here and many do! It's fun to watch their happy faces as they arrive at the trail. The trail follows the cliff past cactus, bright pink bougainvillea, and old trees, some clinging to the cliff almost falling off! The views of the waves below hitting the beach at an angle are gorgeous, as are the views of the Channel Islands. I love to be on a cliff high above the sea! Douglas Family Preserve is the perfect spot to get that magical, freeing feeling!
The trail is a short loop that takes about half an hour to walk. Often there are paragliders taking off from the cliffs and whizzing around you. There are plenty of large sticks kids can pick up along the way to play imaginary games with. Halfway along, you reach a tree where you can stand and look down at Hendry's Beach and all the people having fun below. See the winding road that leads down from Hope Ranch- it looks digitally rendered it's so perfect! The honeycomb cliffs beside it are covered in pink bougainvillea.
Sunset is the best time to come here. The sun slides away behind the Hendry's Beach bluffs and then the golden light hits the shore. It's a romantic sight!
From Douglas Family Preserve, if you walk east on Medcliff Rd, you will come to Mesa Lane Steps, a long staircase down to the beach. The blue-green water looks lovely from the top. Continue walking to La Mesa Park, a park overlooking the ocean, with a eucalyptus forest and a large playground.

Photo Gallery

View from the cliffs at Douglas Preserve!

There are plenty of sticks at Douglas Preserve to keep kids happy!

You might think twice about going for a walk at Mesa steps beach, below this path!

The beach below Douglas Preserve.

Rugged Douglas Preserve.

There are totem-pole dead trees at Douglas Preserve.

Spring flowers in the wide open spaces at Douglas Preserve.

Flowering bushes at Douglas Preserve.

The amazing tree at the end of the walk.

The glorious view at the end of the walk.

View of winding Cliff Dr, as seen from the end of the walk at Douglas Preserve. Look at the honeycomb cliffs!

View of sheltered little park at Hendry's Beach, as seen from Douglas Preserve.

View of Boathouse Restaurant and Hendry's Beach, from Douglas Preserve.

View of Hendry's Beach.

Fallen trees and wonderful shades of green ocean, at Douglas Preserve.

A lone log and sunset over the sea.

View of Hendry's Beach below, from Douglas Preserve at sunset.

Clear day at Douglas Preserve.

Dark pink bougainvillea always looks amazing by the sea.

Ocean views galore!

A path through the forest.

Pretty trees catching the light.

A pretty spot among the trees.

A young woman sets up an old-fashioned camera.

Blue line on the horizon. A calm, clear day.

Tree falling off the cliff, and blue-green water.

The beach below.


This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.

Douglas Family Preserve is located on Medcliff Rd, Santa Barbara CA 93109.
Exit Highway 101 at Las Positas Rd and turn toward the ocean. At the end, turn left on Cliff Drive. Turn right on Mesa Lane. Turn right on Medcliff Rd. At the end, park along the road. The trail starts there.
There are no restrooms but there are dog pooper bags! And all the dog owners use them so it's a very clean trail!
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