Monday, July 2, 2012

07-01-2012 Knapp's Castle

I got this great new book a few weeks ago. It’s called Hiking and Backpacking Santa Barbara and Ventura.  It’s by our good friend Craig Carey. The book is a really great resource for folks who want to explore this area. It has heaps of detailed maps. There’s historical notes and loads of information. Clear, precise directions to trailheads. It’s really well organized. I think anybody interested in the southern Los Padres should get themselves a copy.

 Approaching from the road

One of the first trips described in the book (the fifth actually) is short little walk out to Knapp’s Castle. This is a very simple, but lovely stroll right off East Camino Cielo Road that gives you a gorgeous view of Lake Cachuma, and the Santa Ynez River as it snakes its way down towards the Gibraltar Reservoir. But the real treat is visiting the ruins of a once magnificent mansion built by George Knapp in the early 20th century. If you want a good historical run down of Knapp and his castle check out Jack’s blog.

 Lake Cachuma in the background

Someone has left chairs so you can relax and watch the sunset.

It’s not just the ruins of an old mansion up there. We saw plenty of evidence that people are working up there too. Wood planks are piled up, construction equipment is parked and waiting for work to do. A broken down Jeep rests in some bushes. There is a sign telling visitors that they are being watched.  Good luck to the current owners on trying to navigate through the Santa Barbara building code bureaucracy.

 The hills have eyes!

We wandered around the sight for awhile. Checked out the chimneys, and what’s left of a amphitheatre. I think the best time to visit the castle is right around sunset. If we had wanted to, we could have hiked the Snyder Trail; it shares the same trailhead as Knapp's. We decided to head back down the pass and back home instead.