Geology of the Carpinteria Bluffs

Date: Saturday, December 2, 2017

Time: 12:30PM - 4:30PM

Instructor: Susie Bartz

Location: Carpinteria Bluffs

This field trip is filled.

Explore the dynamic geology of the marine terrace locally known as the Carpinteria Bluffs. An easy walk through native scrub leads to spectacular coastal views and the Seal Sanctuary Overlook. Here we’ll learn why geology makes the beach below a perfect birthing place for the seals. Our route then descends a steep path to the beach to explore rock layers tightly folded by the same tectonic compression that continues to lift the mesa and allow tar to ooze in plain sight. The low tide will allow some tidepooling and an optional side trip along the Coastal Access Trail to the Carpinteria Tar Seeps. Distance is about 2 miles round trip with 2 more miles for the tar seep option.

Driving directions to the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve: From Highway 101 take the Bailard Avenue Exit in Carpinteria and drive toward the ocean. Park at the end of the short drive and meet there.

NOTE: Participants should be in good physical condition with good balance.

Participants should bring:

  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Layered clothing - a jacket
  • Hiking Poles
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Snack
  • Binoculars
  • Camera


Image of Susie BartzSusie Bartz grew up in rural Pennsylvania playing in the wooded hills and rocky creeks outsider her house. After college and graduate school, she married and came to Santa Barbara in 1974. She enjoys hiking and backpacking, and holds a degree in geology from SBCC. In 2009, she completed a project publishing the maps of legendary geologist Tom Dibblee, who was her personal friend and mentor, and in whose memory she dedicates her walks. As a geology educator, Susie works with schools and community organizations to bring an awareness of earth science to the general public in outdoor settings. She lives in Santa Barbara with her husband and assorted cats, and has two married daughters and three darling grandsons.

Geology Walk Series

Ancient Ocean Floor Revealed
Black Smoker of Figueroa Mountain
Saturday, 10/28

Rising Terraces and Flowing Waters
Leadbetter to La Mesa
Saturday, 11/18

Geology of the Carpinteria Buffs
Saturday, 12/2

Botany/Natural History
Travel/Day Trips