Aug 29, 2020 · Knapps Castle: Hiking Santa Barbara’s Famous Mansion Ruins (Closed) As of 2020, this hike is private property and is now closed. It is being rebuilt and is no longer open to the public. This information is just for historic purposes. Knapp’s Castle is a very popular hike in the hills above Santa Barbara, both because it has fantastic views and because it is less than a mile round trip.
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Knapp's Castle is a privately owned landmark ruined mansion in the Santa Ynez Mountains near Santa Barbara, California. It was built in 1916 by George Knapp, the estate included 5 bedrooms, an organ room, and even an observatory. The location was found to be so secluded that they had to build a new road to get to it.
Knapp's Castle is a frequent escape for locals when Santa Barbara is foggy (usually May and June) because the mountain top is usually above the clouds with a spectacular view of a non-foggy backcountry. To drive to Knapp's Castle exit the U.S. 101 Freeway at Highway 154 and then turn east on Camino Cielo Road at the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains.
Knapp's Castle can be a short destination of its own on a warm summer night to watch the sunset if you start from East Camino Cielo Rd. instead. See the map and directions to the trailhead. You will need an Adventure Pass Pass to park your car at the bottom. Actually, I'm not sure if this is still true so you might ask the ranger to be sure.
Knapp’s Castle was built by George Knapp the founder of Union Carbide Corporation in 1916. Later it was destroyed by a forest fire and not rebuilt. The stonework that remains is a site frequently used by pro photographers. It is on private property high up in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara, but it’s been open for public visitation for years.
- E Camino Cielo Santa Barbara, CA 93105
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Hiking in Santa Barbara, CA
Now a popular hiking destination, Knapp’s Castle in the Santa Barbara hills was once the luxurious home of a chemical magnate who had the good fortune of selling the estate just weeks before it...
In the mountains above Santa Barbara, a plot of privately owned land surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest. On that land stand the remains of a palatial estate that burned down seventy years ago, the so-called Knapp’s Castle. To the ruins and back is a 0.8-mile round trip hike with 50 feet of elevation change.
- East Camino Cielo, Santa Barbara, 93105
Knapp's Castle was rumored to be under development in recent years and I avoided going there. It is probably at least a dozen years since I tried to go in. On Saturday there were quite a few visitors and no signs saying to keep out. But, sure enough, the place was under major re-construction.