No School = Knapp’s Castle

Knapp's Castle is located at the top of East Camino Cielo road off of San Marcos Pass, between Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez.

Knapp’s Castle is located at the top of East Camino Cielo road off of San Marcos Pass, between Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez.

February 12, 2016.

On a Friday afternoon with no school, my neighbors and I packed the car up and hit the road with adventure in mind. We didn’t know exactly our plan so we loaded the car with fun-loving kids and plenty of snacks and headed out.

After getting on the 101 freeway northbound, we made the decision to go to Knapp’s castle. Knapp’s Castle is a privately owned piece of land set way back in the hills of Los Padres National Forest with a view of Lake Cachuma in the background. The ruins of the “castle” or house are a short, easy walk from the road.


I have previously been to Knapp’s castle, about a year ago though. The views are incredible and it’s a hidden place that rarely has more than three groups of people there at one time, my kind of peace. It is a place that you are able to visit over and over because there is so much to look at and every time you go you are able to see new things.

At the gate to Knapp’s Castle, on the side of the road.

The drive off of San Marcos Pass up East Camino Cielo Road to get to the walk from the road to the ruins is long, windy, steep but beautiful drive. As you climb the mountain, views of the Pacific Ocean to your right and the Santa Ynez Valley to your left as you drive. For a new comer to Knapp’s, where to stop your car and get out to walk to the castle may be difficult to spot the first time up. Watch for the red gate on your left-hand side!

Once at the gate to the walk to the castle, we park and the boys jump out of the car as fast as they can and start running to the ruins! After a long drive with three elementary age boys playing around the whole time, I wanted to get out and get fresh air too. My walk to the ruins was slow, peaceful and spent mostly through the eyes of my camera. (: I took my time, took in the fresh air, soaked in the view and tried to capture the beauty of my surroundings to the best of my ability.


At the castle I had the best time. The boys played tag and ran around, Mia swung on the swing, and Sara watched the happy children do their thing. For me, I admired the boys getting along well, but making sure they didn’t get close to the edge. I watched Mia laugh and smile on the swing, having the best of times. I took note of Sara being her usual “super mom” as I  loving calling her. Right as I thought Sara couldn’t make this moment any sweeter, she did. She thought ahead and had a yummy snack of pita chips, hummus, peas and apples ready for us. As we all ate away, I couldn’t help but think to myself that this day and time together would be one we would later on miss and look back on.

How do you make a moment like that last a lifetime?

Close to two hours passed at the castle and it was time to go back to reality and get everyone home. The walk to the car was sad but also happy because I knew it was a place that I will always visit again and again, hopefully in the near future! Back in the car, we blasted our beloved Taylor Swift and trekked on home. All in all it was an amazing day off and I couldn’t have thought of a better thing to do!


This entry was published on February 12, 2016 at 12:39 am. It’s filed under adventure, Santa Barbara and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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