Mission Canyon

Explore Mission Canyon and Homes For Sale

Area Description

Extending from the Santa Barbara Mission up into the wild Los Padres National Forest, Mission Canyon is forested by ancient oak trees and dissected by winding country roads. Though just a few minutes from the convenience of downtown Santa Barbara, these single-family foothill homes range from small creekside cabins to mega-mansions with expansive views. It’s like living the country life with a cosmopolitan city just a drive, bike, or hike away.

Area Highlights

The Neighbors

Hippies, farmers, conservationists, artists, architects, botanists, writers — pretty much any type of person who loves the great outdoors and is willing to deal with the threat of occasional wildfires in order to live comfortably amid nature.


A wide range, from fixer-upper cabins on the low end to exquisite post-wildfire rebuilds/remodels that fetch millions of dollars.


With hiking and cycling trails starting in all corners of Mission Canyon, a love of nature and solitude pervades the Mission Canyon mindset.

You'll Love

Walking through the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden at dawn, hiking up to Inspiration Point for sunset, picnicking at Rocky Nook Park, and biking at top speed right past the Old Mission to your downtown office.

Perfect For

Nature lovers, hikers, climbers, bikers, painters, and anyone who appreciates old oak trees.

Around the Area

Mission Canyon is so named because the Santa Barbara Mission sits at its mouth, and this “Queen of the Missions” provides quite a stunning transition from downtown Santa Barbara to this rural community that’s dotted with oak trees older than town. Just past the Mission is the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, a working research institution that formally celebrates the great outdoors, and then in the center of the canyon is the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, another amazing ode to nature. Taken together, the mission, museum, and garden paint a perfect picture of what to expect in Mission Canyon, where one can live in a place that blends a love of nature with the flavor of California history and pioneering homesteaders.

The Chumash lived along what today is known as Mission Creek for millennia, and the Spanish quickly dammed up the creek in the late 1700s to develop the Mission and Presidio. People have been building homes there ever since, from the flatter lands near Rocky Nook Park to the hilltops along Las Canoas Road into the bohemian stretch of Mountain Drive. About 2,500 people live in the community today, including plenty of families, though many thousands more visit regularly to check out the museum, Mission, Botanic Garden, and amazing hiking trails that start at the end of Tunnel Road.

There is a catch, though, and that is the threat of wildfires, which tend to roll through the region every couple decades. That imbues the entire neighborhood with a palpable sense of living for the moment and forces all residents to remember what really matters in life. Living alongside deer, coyotes, cougars, hawks, and the occasional black bear is just icing on this natural-lifestyle cake.

Area Map

Area Listings