Lompoc, CA

Exploring Nature in the Surroundings of Lompoc

Anne Bonfert

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The CountrysideMichael Aleo/ Unsplash

Lompoc is a very popular tourist destination on the Californian coast. Located in Santa Barbara County it attracts visitors from all over the world year-round. Wineries, wall paintings, flower fields, and endless miles of nature parks are the most visited attractions around town. One of these parks I am going to present for you today.

Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve

The Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve is one of those. Located between the Purisima Hills and the Santa Ynez Mountains it consists of just over 5,000 acres of land. A significant number of maritime chaparral are still standing on their ground which makes the area a unique nature reserve.

The vegetation is diverse and attracts various animals like badgers, packrats, snakes, bobcats, deer and even a species of avian can be spotted. To some people's surprise there do live mountain lions in the reserve so be alert!

The State Lands Commission owns the property and leased it out. CDFW is in charge of the management and operation of the park. Keeping it well maintained and up to standards is one of their main jobs to fulfill.

In 2004 the park got approved the assigned name of being an "ecological reserve". This is important for the efforts of protecting rare and threatened animals as well as keeping track of the endangered plant species.

Rules of the park

Many walking trails offer plenty of space for exercise and game viewing. However, horses, bicycles, and motorized vehicles of all kinds are not allowed inside the Ecological Reserve. There's a parking lot where the cars can be left behind. Dog owners are allowed to walk with their dogs as long as they are kept on the leash.

This park is made for the public to connect with nature and embrace all the beauty this countryside has to offer. But it is important all visits are made with keeping the environment in mind. To protect this sensitive nature reserve the park requests visitors to read the signs and follow the rules.

There are plenty of trails leading across the park so there's no need to venture off-trail somewhere.

Day visitors are allowed to go on walks and hikes from sunrise until sunset. During these activities, wildlife viewing can be done from a safe distance.

For the above-mentioned reasons activities like horseback riding, mountain biking, or even flying drones and other small aircraft are not allowed. Since these actions could affect the sensitive environment rules stated the prohibition of other activities which will get punished when ignored.

Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve Loop

One of the trails in the park is the Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve Loop. This trail is not heavily trafficked and brings you back to your starting point in a loop. The total of the trail is just under 8 kilometers. Offering scenic views across the Californian county it has great opportunities for photo stops.

Not being a very difficult trail the Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve Loop invites hikers from all skill levels. Some people use the path also for exercising like running training. Others just take a leisure walk through the reserve.

Final words

The reviews on TripAdvisor speak for themselves but also have some great advice for your next adventure. This is definitely a trail without major challenges, however, it is oftentimes very narrow and requires you to wear closed shoes liken hiking boots or running shoes.

Important to know is maybe that there aren't many restrooms across the park so plan ahead your stops. Access to clean water is limited to those places.

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I am a traveler. Photographer. Writer. Teacher. Skydiving instructor. Adventure enthusiast. Nature lover. And fell in love with the African continent. My stories go around travel, nature and all kinds of adventurous activities.

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