Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park is a unit in the state park system of California, preserving a small sandstone cave adorned with rock art attributed to the Chumash people. Adjoining the small community of Painted Cave, the site is located about 2 miles north of California State Route 154 and 11 miles northwest of Santa Barbara. The 7.5-acre park was established in 1976.
The smooth and irregularly shaped shallow sandstone cave contains numerous drawings apparently depicting the Chumash cosmology and other subjects created in mineral pigments and other media over a long period ranging from about 200 up to possibly 1000 years or more. There is also evidence of graffiti beginning with early white settlers, which eventually led to creation of a protective physical barrier and State Historic Park status. In 1972 it was added as Site #72000256 on the National Register of Historical Places.
Access is from State Route 154 about 5 miles north of U.S. Route 101 in the San Marcos Pass in the Santa Ynez Mountains, on Painted Cave Road. The cave is adjacent to the left side of this narrow one-lane mountain road, with a slightly widened shoulder that provides parking for one or two vehicles. The drive is not appropriate for trailers and RVs, due to some very tight turns and steep sections. This park is one of the few providing open access for viewing original rock art of the Chumash people in person. Flash photographs are prohibited since they can harm the artwork; some people use flashlights to help view the art, and some take photographs with long exposures with the camera braced on the metal gate or using a tripod.
Pretty drive, but otherwise a waste of time. Don't go if towing a trailer. Parking is awkward and not appreciated by locals. At least the walk is v very short so you don't have to park for long.
Beautiful but one lane road drive up. 2 parking spots right under the cave. The cave is gated but there is one big opening for ur camera to go thru for pictures. Peaceful surrounding.
Nice drive up to the rock. The views from up there are amazing. Nice place to reflect on the past and history of other cultures :)
A pretty drive on a twisty, one lane road. Not a lot of parking. The cave is small and the gate is large. The paintings are vibrant and worth a look.
Super steep and winding road to get up there, very scenic.
As the description says the cave is protected by a heavy gate; you can't enter. Bit hard to see any of the paintings, but what can be seen is very pretty.
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Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park
- Sun - Sat: 6:00 am - 7:00 pm
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