Parma Park sits in the hills above the famous American Riviera section of Santa Barbara but is easily accessible and provides great views, including a little slice of Pacific Ocean around Montecito.
Parma has about five miles of trail winding through 200 acres wedged between two creeks, both of which are probably dry until the state’s historic drought passes. The trail shown below passes through oak and chaparral forest and rises steadily about 400 feet after turning north to the highest point, where there is a picnic table, dedication marker, and equestrian hitch for horses. There are still charred trees and stumps from the Tea Fire in November 2008 that burned most of the park.
There is very little shade once you start to climb the hill at the eastern point of the trail, including at the picnic table at the top, but with sunblock, proper clothing and enough water, this should be a good hike for both kids and adults in reasonably good shape.
Directions: From the Santa Barbara Mission, head north on Los Olivos Street as it turns into Mission Canyon Road. After passing Rocky Nook Park, Mission Canyon will end at Foothill Road/Highway 192, where you’ll turn right. Follow 192 for about 2 miles until you reach a small parking lot on the right with the Parma Park entrance straight ahead.