Dick Smith--writer, artist, photographer--was deeply devoted to preservation of the wild and was called by some the "conscience of Santa Barbara." The Wilderness that bears his name is an area of extremely rugged terrain with elevations varying from 3,750 feet along the Cayuma Rim to 6,541 feet atop Madulce Peak to the west. Chaparral dominates the vegetation, but a splendid collection of mixed conifers grows around Madulce Peak. To the east lies the more-open Rancho Nuevo region, with massive sandstone formations and stands of Douglas fir and Great Basin sage. In the higher country, several creeks flow year-round in Indian, Mono, Alamar, Don Victor, Santa Barbara, and other canyons. Black bears, deer, mountain lions, bobcats, and coyotes reside in the area, and several native species of snakes have been identified (including rattlers--wear your boots). Only a slim road corridor separates Dick Smith from San Rafael Wilderness to the west. You'll find eight main trails and several side trails totaling about 49 miles; human use is light. Chumash Indians, Spanish soldiers, and early settlers used to cross this area via the Alamar and Puerta Suela Trails. The Bear Canyon Trail provides easy access from the east and crosses into the Wilderness after about two miles.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Dick Smith Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.