Gaviota Peak is awesomely situated among juxtaposed mountains and ocean, about a 20 minute’s drive from where I used to live in Santy B. The turnoff for it is right near the famous Gaviota tunnel, featured in the The Graduate.
I have driven through this tunnel many times, always appreciating the characteristic bare rocky peaks of Santa Barbara County.
The trail heads up the north side with views of sloping hills and agriculture, and loops back down through rocky mountains and ocean views.
The color of the hills changes drastically with the seasons. The hills are pretty brown here in October, but in Spring they turn bright green after the rains. And yellow with mustard!
The trail is about a 6-mile loop and also features wind caves! A stop in Solvang for pastries makes for a perfect weekend morning expedition.
If you are super adventurous, there are reportedly hot springs near the trailhead, though I haven’t checked them out!