There are two trails available to access the Refuge, but there are no maintained trails on the Refuge property. All trails are made up of soft dune sand and vegetation does not provide many opportunities for shade. Ticks can be found on and around the Refuge, especially in more vegetated areas. Staying on trails while visiting the Refuge will help you be safe and responsible when accessing the Refuge.
Oso Flaco Hike
From the intersection of Highway 1 and Oso Flaco Lake Road, located 3 miles north of Guadalupe, proceed 3 miles west to the Oso Flaco Lake parking lot. This park and parking lot are owned and managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks). A fee for parking is charged. If a State Parks attendant is not present, be sure to use the self-pay parking envelopes at the entry kiosk. After paying for parking, hike 1 mile west across the Oso Flaco Lake trail and boardwalk to the beach. After reaching the beach, proceed south a quarter-mile to Oso Flaco Creek. If the stream crossing is shallow and safe, proceed 1 mile south along the beach to the northern Refuge boundary. This route requires a round trip hike of approximately 4.5 miles to reach the Refuge and return to the parking lot. For more information on Oso Flaco Lake, click here.
Rancho Guadalupe Hike
From the intersection of Highway 1 (Guadalupe Street) and Highway 166 (Main Street), at the south end of Guadalupe, drive 2.8 miles to the entrance gate of the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve parking lot. A voluntary donation for access to the park is requested at the entrance gate. From the entrance gate, drive 2.0 miles west to the paved parking lot, located at the beach. This park and parking lot are owned by the County of Santa Barbara Department of Parks and Recreation, and are managed by the Center for Natural Lands Management. From the parking lot, hike north along the beach about a half-mile to the Santa Maria River. If the river crossing is shallow and safe, hike about 1.5 miles north along the beach to the northern Refuge boundary. This route requires a round trip hike of approximately 4.0 miles to reach the Refuge and return to the parking lot. For more information about the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve, click here.