Day Trips, Health & Wellness

Guided Hikes & Native Plants Around the Central Coast

James Wapotich
Various Trails along Central Coast
October 28, 2023
9:00AM - 1:00PM
Couple leading trail walk overlooking ocean in Elings Park Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara is home to a rich variety of trails and habitats. Through this series of immersive classes you’ll earn the basic skills and awareness to explore our backcountry trails. You’ll also learn about native plants and deepen your connection to the natural world. Each class takes place on one of our many local trails and offers a mix of hands on instruction, immersive exercises, and sharing time to allow for learning on many levels.

If you can comfortably hike two to three miles, this opportunity is right for you! Here’s a few items you’ll want to bring with you:

  • A filled water bottle (approx. 1 to 2 liters)
  • A notebook and pen
  • Snacks to enjoy along the way
  • Sunscreen
  • A camera
  • Something to sit on (we may stop for discussion)
  • A day-pack to carry your items

To ensure you’re prepared, we suggest you wear long pants, comfortable shoes for hiking, a hat, and bring an extra layer of clothing in preparation for possible cooler weather. Before each class you’ll receive directions to the trailhead, a scouting report of the trail conditions, and a list of any additional items to bring.

Dates, Times, and Locations

October 28, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. | Reading the Landscape – Santa Ynez Mountains
Learn how to orient yourself to the local landscape, read the topography, and create your own mental maps of the backcountry without the use of a GPS or compass. See how habitats and plant communities are organized on the landscape and learn how to remove the word lost from your vocabulary.

November 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. | Nature Connection – Santa Barbara front country
Venturing out onto the land is even more rewarding when we take the time to develop a meaningful connection with nature. Learn how to feel more at home out on the trails and in the wilderness by being able to recognize plants every hiker should know. We will explore riparian and chaparral habitats, the plants that live there, and some of their edible and medicinal properties.

November 11, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. | A Garden of Resources – Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
This hike with be at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. We will visit some of the plants seen on the previous hikes, as well as plants that we would need to hike a dozen or more different trails to see! Essentially a living natural history guide, the Garden provides a rich opportunity to see and learn about a variety of California native plants, including those out on the Channel Islands, all on a single hike.

November 18, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. | Listening to Nature – Santa Ynez Valley
As we start to feel at home in nature, the land itself can become a source of guidance and inspiration. By working with plants, habitats, and the landscape, and tuning into our senses we can begin to see nature as ally and lay the foundation for being able to know the backcountry like the back of our hand.


For a series of four classes:

$115 for Garden members

$145 for general public.

About James Waptich

James Wapotich is a trail guide, UC Certified California Naturalist, Volunteer Wilderness Ranger with Los Padres National Forest, and author of the Santa Barbara News-Press hiking column, Trail Quest. He leads workshops on backpacking, wilderness awareness skills, and mindfulness in nature.

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