Santa Barbara Chumash Painted Cave

If you’re looking to head off the beaten path for part of your Santa Barbara vacation, the Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park is the perfect option. Located off Highway 154 only 22 miles from the city’s downtown area, is one of California’s only spots to view original pictographs from the Santa Barbara Chumash Native American tribe. The park has been on the National Register of Historical Places since 1972.

Historical Significance

The Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park was established in 1976 and is used to preserve a small sandstone cave that displays several drawings from the Chumash people believed to be done in the 1600s. The pictographs were created in black, red, and white mineral pigments thought to symbolize the Chumash cosmology along with other themes.

What to Do During Your Visit

The state park is open from dawn until dusk every day, and the scenic views from the drive through the Santa Ynez Mountains are worth the trip itself. Visiting the historical cave site is an added bonus. Hiking trails can also be found in the 7.5-acre park.

Things to Know Before You Go

It’s suggested that visitors wear layered clothing no matter the season, as the Chumash Painted Cave is positioned in a narrow canyon up in the mountains where the weather tends to stay on the cooler side. The road to get there is winding, windy, and one lane, so it is not accessible to trailers or RVs. Flash photography is not allowed so as not to harm the artwork, but there is still plenty of opportunity to take pictures.

There are a number of activities and attractions that you can fill your Santa Barbara itinerary up with, but this piece of history provides a one-in-a-kind experience. Let Paradise Retreats help you discover more about the region and book your luxury vacation rental for a great getaway.

By Doc Searls – originally posted to Flickr as 2009_07_09_camino_cielo_paradise_137, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8090669