Knapp’s Castle

HikeSnobs rate this: 2.5thumb


Visited: March 9, 2014, February 8, 2015 & May 9, 2015

Description: The sandstone ruins of a “former” mansion built on top of the Santa Ynez Mountains.

Length: 0.8 miles round trip

Elevation: 50 feet

Duration: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy peasy lemon squeezy

Terrain: Well maintained dirt road. The beginning of the hike is a slight incline down on rock/gravel terrain.

Pets: Dog-friendly

Parking: Roadside

Best time to go: All year round

Bring: Camera, Water (but not necessary)

Just a short 10 minute walk after parking your car on E Camino Cielo is Knapp’s Castle, a mansion resting in ruins.

History of Knapps Castle:

Built in the early 1900’s as a private mountain lodge by George Owen Knapp, he wanted a structure “that in natural beauty and grandeur will have few to equal it on the American continent.” Construction on the lodge was completed in 1920 and for many years served as a popular retreat for Knapp’s guests who were treated to after-dinner entertainment…

In 1940, the 160-acre Knapp property was purchased by Francis Holden, a close friend of the famous opera singer Lotte Lehmann. The two had planned on making it their mountain home. Within weeks, however, the main buildings were destroyed in a forest fire that left behind a scattering of stone archways, solitary chimneys and other stonework that has become known as Knapp’s Castle.

Read more here!

Original Estate before the fire

Push forward a century later, this is what remains at Knapp’s Castle!

  • Stone Archway: Probably the most photographed part of the Knapp’s Castle. Have fun climbing around but be safe.
Live dangerously!


  • Abandoned car


  • A bath tub in the middle of nature… Time for a dip in.
So fresh and so clean clean
  • The views aren’t half bad either!


  • There is also an alleged swing that we weren’t able to locate… Looks like we’ll be making another trip!

If you happen to be in Santa Barbara, this place is worth a quick visit.

@HikeSnobs Tips:

  • There’s a swing we missed! Find that swing and tell us where it is!

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Leave us a message below!

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