Fish Falls, Santa Ynez Mountains

Santa Ynez Mountains secret swimming holeThe large emerald pool below Fish Falls might be the best summertime swimming hole on the frontside of the Santa Ynez Mountains in Santa Barbara County. It’s deep enough to dive into from the top of the waterfall, if you’re good, and wide enough for several people to comfortably swim around.

Even in the current severe drought in the middle of summer the perennial pool remains clear cool and clean, and home to a number of decent sized rainbow trout or steelhead.

Prior to man-made obstructions in the lower watershed which bar access to the upper reaches of the creek, I believe this waterfall stood as the natural end point for native trout swimming in from the Pacific Ocean into the mountains to spawn. It must of been like a sandstone barrel ‘o fish back then.

Santa Ynez Mountains swimming hole

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10 Responses to Fish Falls, Santa Ynez Mountains

  1. Anonymous says:

    Jack- I have not heard of Fish Falls – what trail is this?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sweet spot! “Fish Falls” sounds like a local place name for a location on. . . .Creek near the . . . ranch

  3. Nico says:

    A nice respite during an unusually dry summer!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm… the location of this magical place will never be revealed? what about the locals

    • Jack Elliott says:

      It can only be accessed through private property, both parcels of which are owned by long-time locals that have owned the property for decades and through multiple generations.

      I am fortunate enough to be able to go there, because my uncle knows them both personally and has permission.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great idea keeping it secret. the best things are worth working for

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