5.2 miles
83 ft
-3,049 ft
Avg time
Supporters, Builders, Maintainers & Land Managers of Santa Cruz (Little Pine Mountain) Trail

  • USFS
    Land Manager


  • Activities
    • Mountain Bike
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Riding Area
    Santa Barbara
    , California
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Voted Difficulty
    Black Diamond (1 vote)
  • Trail Type
  • Bike Type
    AM, XC
  • Direction
    Downhill Primary
    Popular direction shown
  • Dogs Allowed
  • Global Ranking
    #44701 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • #57086 in Trail Running
  • Local Popularity
    45 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • 5 in Trail Running
    • 5 in Hiking
  • Land Owner

Santa Cruz Trail, also known as Little Pine, is a Santa Barbara back country classic. The upper trail head is near Happy Hollow camp ground at the top of Little Pine Mountain, and the bottom trail head is a short way up the Camuesa OHV road from the Upper Oso camp ground. While some adventurous souls climb the Santa Cruz trail, most continue past the lower trail head and up the OHV road. Take a left at the intersection with Buckhorn road. Next take the cut off to Happy Hollow at the cistern. The trail head is on your right as you arrive in Happy Hollow. It is about 11 miles and 4000 feet of climbing from Upper Oso to the upper trail head.

While overall an intermediate trail, there are sections of extreme exposure and loose shale. The section near the top from Alexander Saddle down to the upper meadow has breathtaking views, but you really don't want to ride off the trail here. And don't be shy about walking areas in the shale slides. Otherwise just hang on for more than 5 miles of single track bliss.


Wear a bell to let other trail users know you're coming. Mountain bike access hinges on respecting other trail users.

Local Trail Association
Traditionally Indigenous Territory
More Stats for Santa Cruz Trail (Little Pine Mountain) multi-use trail trail
  • Altitude change
    -2,966 ft
  • Altitude min
    1,327 ft
  • Altitude max
    4,346 ft
  • Altitude start
    4,309 ft
  • Altitude end
    1,342 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    2,087 ft
  • Distance down
    5 miles
  • Distance flat
    1,335 ft
  • Avg time
  • view trail stats
on May 14, 2022
Very Dry
Avg: 4.4 (5 votes)
Your vote: 0

view (116)
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Snow Cover Inadequate
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Flow (Ridden Direction)
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The colour categories are based on what percentage of riders are riding a trail in its intended direction.
  • > 96%
  • > 90%
  • > 80%
  • > 70%
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  • < 50%
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  • no data
Trail Last Ridden
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  • Downhill Only
  • Downhill Primary
  • Both Directions
  • Uphill Primary
  • Uphill Only
  • One Direction
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Trail Popularity ?
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Radar Time
x Activity Recordings
Trailforks users anonymized public ridelogs from the past 6 months.
  • mountain biking recent
  • mountain biking (>6 month)
  • hiking (1 year)
  • moto (1 year)
Activity Recordings
Trailforks users anonymized public skilogs from the past 12 months.
  • Downhill Ski
  • Backcountry Ski
  • Nordic Ski
  • Snowmobile
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      Directions to santa-cruz-trail-little-pine-mountain trailhead (34.601050, -119.746630)
      update trails status or condition

      Santa Cruz Trail... Trail Reports

      May 14, 2022 @ 1:40pm
      May 14, 2022
      It was super overgrown and really quite dangerous. I was out there three weeks ago and while the climb on the fire road was nice the downhill was...
      Apr 30, 2022 @ 10:21pm
      Apr 30, 2022
      Apr 30, 2022 @ 10:21pm
      Apr 30, 2022
      It’s very overgrown in sections requiring some hard-core bushwhacking. Some sections of trail have completely fallen off the mountain and...
      Mar 28, 2021 @ 5:41pm
      Mar 28, 2021
      Someone has been doing some trail work up there. Looks good, still needs some work. A bit of hike a bike,but passable and 95%+ passable while riding
      Mar 28, 2021 @ 6:45am
      Mar 28, 2021
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 0 rides
      6 Months
      • 11 rides
      • 25 miles avg distance
      • 110 rides
      • Last: Dec 26, 2022


      more »
      128 |
      Aug 26, 2021 @ 6:05pm
      Aug 26, 2021
      122 |
      Aug 26, 2021 @ 6:05pm
      Aug 26, 2021
      141 |
      Aug 26, 2021 @ 6:05pm
      Aug 26, 2021
      192 |
      Mar 28, 2021 @ 5:39pm
      Mar 28, 2021

      Routes with this trail

      Santa Cruz Trail Loop17 miles

      8 Reviews & Comments

      • + 1
      shredchic (Apr 15, 2022 at 10:56)
      Rode this April 9th (with a loaded bike for bikepacking) and it was dry and very loose. That combined with the exposure made it super hairy. I am sure it rides well when the soil has a little moisture though. There is a slide crossing that requires you hang onto a rope with one hand, bike with the other. I put one foot on that soil and it started a minor slide of loose dirt down the hillside. It was extremely treacherous. It feels like a double black diamond risk for absolutely no reward. I managed to not die, but that's not a stellar recommendation.
      • + 1
      brinkerhoff150 (Feb 23, 2022 at 20:51)
      I really enjoyed this trail enough to say it’s destination worthy. I rode it on 2/21 along with the Camuesa Connector Trail which was a pretty big day on the bike. The fire road climb has three steep sections in the first mile or so and then the grade evens out for the duration of the climb to the Santa Cruz Trail. Although it’s a fire road climb the views and scenery throughout are amazing. It also feels quite remote - I only saw two hikers on the route (both on the Santa Cruz Trail). As for the trail itself if you are afraid of heights this is not the ride for you. There is quite a bit of exposure but the trail isn’t overly technical. Aside from a section that is quite washed out the trail is actually in great shape. I personally prefer trails that use the natural features of the terrain as opposed to the bike park style flow trails (don’t get me wrong a good flow trail can be plenty fun).

      I would absolutely ride this trail again and look forward to exploring more trails in the area someday. Thanks to those who put the work in to maintain this trail - definitely not an easy feat!
      • + 2
      bkxc (Feb 19, 2022 at 10:30)
      This trail is going back to nature quickly. Some of the spots you have to walk are scary. Some of the parts you ride are scary. Pretty rough with the exposure and the real possibility of going over the edge. Lots of fun! Don't think I'd do it again though.
      • + 0
      Nosemo (Oct 8, 2021 at 22:24)
      My friend rode it recently (august 21. There is still a big section that is washed out and must be walked (maybe 0.25-0.5 miles. Otherwise it’s all rideable.
      • + 0
      DentonRamsey (May 24, 2021 at 20:01)
      Is this rideable now? Any updates?
      • + 1
      shreddedWheat (May 31, 2021 at 22:42)
      I haven't ridden it lately but I spoke with someone from the Sage Trail Alliance last week. He said that the trail is open and rideable. Apparently they've put a ton of work into rebuilding it.
      • + 0
      Matthewmako (Aug 8, 2020 at 11:09)
      August 8th deer hunting opener... at least one hundred hunters on trails early am today. Off highway vehicles and firearms galore. Wear orange if you are gonna head out so you don’t get shot accidentally.
      • + 0
      otahally (Nov 30, 2017 at 14:32)
      I went to ride this late November 2017. Upper 2/3’s of the trail is completely overgrown, washed out and desrteoyed by forest fire. Unrideable. Highly recommend to skip this until it’s fixed, if that is a Even feasible.


      more »
      Santa Cruz Trail -MTB-   Santa Barbara, CA
      31:54 | 106 | Apr 17, 2022 , Santa Barbara
      The Long Traverse
      21:17 | 122 | Jan 31, 2022 , Santa Barbara
      Little Pine Loop - 1 of 2 - Santa Barbara -...
      826 | Apr 11, 2016 , Santa Barbara
      Little Pine Loop - 2 of 2 - Santa Barbara -...
      601 | Apr 11, 2016 , Santa Barbara
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