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Polo Club Trail

A Quiet Trail Loaded with Hidden Delights


Saturday, May 3, 2008

WALK INFORMATION

Distance - 1 to 2 miles

Elevation Gain - 300’ to high point overlooking Greenwell Avenue

Difficulty - Easy to moderately easy

Topo - Carpinteria

DIRECTIONS

From Santa Barbara, drive southbound on Highway 101 to Summerland and exit north on Padaro Lane. Cross over the freeway and turn right on Via Real. Follow this 0.5 miles to Toro Canyon Road and turn north (left). Drive up Toro Canyon for 0.5 miles to the trailhead. Look for the trail sign (which is easy to miss) on the left near a private driveway.

THE WALK

This part of Toro Canyon is like much of the Montecito area; the rolling hills are interspersed with flatlands covered with oak forests. In-between Toro Canyon and Greenwell roads there are several magnificent horse farms. You can get an intimate glimpse as you make your way along the trail. One-called Fantasy Farms-is especially magnificent.

The trailhead is tough to spot but is almost exactly .5 miles up Toro Canyon Road, not too far after you cross Toro Canyon Creek. Ironically, there is a sign on the side of one private lane that says “Not the Trail” which you will most likely see first. The trail is just to the left of this private lane. The first several hundred yards leads along a narrow pathway which feels like you are entering a forested tunnel. The oak forests and thick vines covering the ground on your left create the feeling of being in an enchanted forest.

As you walk past the end of the private lane you will find a delightful creek crossing and then more forests as you meander past a series of horse farms and houses. Lambert Road is not too far ahead. When you reach it, turn left and walk south until you’ve crossed the narrow stone bridge, then look for an opening in the Fantasy Farms complex. The corridor is barely 8 feet wide and easy to miss. This takes you through the farm and up to the edge of a large lemon orchard. Turn right when you reach the orchard and then follow this in a clockwise direction around the lemon trees. The trail over a small ridge and down into the Greenwell area.

Billy Collins & Aimee Mann

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