Summary: This is the hike of my youth. My friends and I used to come to this place for solace. The goal of the hike is to reach an unnamed, unfrequented, unspoiled, unpopulated pristine stretch of beach we locals call Paradise. Once upon a time a man named Kenny built a cabin, and it was loaded with poems, writings, art, and memories. The cabin is long gone, washed away by storms, but this is still an incredible hike, and an amazing place to spend a weekend.
It is a little more difficult now that the road is closed, because the hike up the road adds 5 miles to your total. I have friends that cross private property and hike in and back on the jeep trail, but I prefer the ridge and bluffs. It is some of the most amazing coastline in the world, and you should have it all to yourself. There is plenty to explore, and you can even make this a shuttle trip to Main Street Beach in Guadalupe, or climb up the sandy bluff and come back to your car on the jeep road - a shorter version.
Trailhead: From the 101 take the Clark Avenue exit in Orcutt, just south of Santa Maria. Head west until the road ends at Highway 1. Turn right and head northwest on Highway 1 for 8.25 miles. Less than a mile after you cross the railroad tracks, you will come to an intersection with Brown Road. You will need to turn left and head west on Brown Road for 4 miles. You will see a gated road on your left which is Point Sal Road. The last time I went the road had been permanently closed due to washouts. You will have to park at the gate and head up the road 2.5 miles until you see the ridge trail. It is easy to spot as there is a parking area there where the hike used to start.
Note: You can cut the distance and elevation in half by hiking on the jeep road through cattle pastures, just don't tell anyone I sent you. :-) (Lat:34.91797 Lon:-120.66488)
Trail Guides for Paradise via Point Sal:
Best Hikes With Dogs - Southern California
by Allen Riedel (Mountaineers books)
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)
Walking the California Coast
by John McKinney (Harper Collins)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: None
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted 123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 6 Submit your own review
Reviewed by JS on 2/15/2013
Been doing this hike for 30 years, but since the SLO Land Conservancy bought the land and gave it to Santa Barbara County, you cannot hike ANYWHERE except the road down to Pt. Sal Beach. Lots of "No Trespassing" signs erected by the Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation and they will cite anyone who is hiking off the road. It is a $100 fine. Very sad as this is the Best area to hike in the Central Coast and the most beautiful. I HAVE been cited and now concentrate my hiking in other area like SLO's many hiking trails. If you only want to hike down the road, no problem, but any attempt to hike elsewhere (like Paradise Beach) on these now public lands will result in your having a bad day.
Reviewed by Some Dude on 9/14/2012
The best time to hike is a few weeks after a good rain when the dirt is dry and the hills are nice and green with wildflowers blooming. Depending on how active you are this can be an easy hike or completely exhaust you plus leave you sore the next day. Make sure to take extra water and some food, but please don't litter! I've always really loved this place, used to drive out here when the road was still passable. Last time (around the 4th of July) I took a shortcut off-trail with my dog who has a pretty thick coat, he got a lot of ticks from some tall dry grass. They were pretty hard to remove and there were a lot of them! Just a word of caution in case you do decide to go off-trail with your doggy.
Reviewed by JR on 5/3/2012
WOW!! one of the best hikes I have ever done. Beware! easier hike in than out, give your self plenty time to hike out when you leave the beach.
Reviewed by Joanne on 3/5/2012
Wow! dID THE TRAIL THERE AND BACK YESTERDAY WITH MY DOG AND IT WAS SOME OF THEMOST BEAUTIFUL COAST I HAVE EVEN SEEN!!! lOVED THE BEACH!!! WOULD DEFINATELY DO IT AGAIN!!!
Reviewed by nikki on 7/1/2011
just hiked to point sal yesterday and it was amazing. im 6 months pregnant and very sore but well worth the 5 hrs and the pain!!!
Reviewed by kat on 3/17/2011
hiked to Paradise beach Tues. was an amazing hike. views awesome. pretty ruff.still soar but worth every 4 hrs. of it.
Reviewed by Lacey on 11/23/2010
Some of the best pictures in my life were taken in "paradice"!It is a grueling hike, so be prepared and take many water breaks. Take a snack lunch to enjoy on the beach, and allow plenty of time to make it the 3 hours in, 3 hours out hike. It truly is the most precious freedom to walk on ths beach, making footprints where there were none. There is so much to explore here! Everything from tide pools to caves, but watch out for sea lions.
Reviewed by cory on 9/26/2010
nice easy hike until you want to get to the beach...best part. keep searching.. the spot is marked by a flathead shovel. the shortcut is key. you'll see alot better views
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