Lobo Canyon

Visitor walking in narrow canyon with steep walls.
Lobo Canyon

Kathy deWet-Oleson

Quick Facts

Scenic View/Photo Spot

Lobo Canyon is an incredible canyon with native vegetated and a year-round stream surrounded by majestic wind- and water-sculpted sandstone cliffs.

The canyon is cut into a sequence of thickly bedded coarse sandstone and interbedded white tuffaceous siltsone. Some of the interesting landforms seen in the canyon are a result of a hard crust forming at the surface of the outcrop, probably from calcite deposited by groundwater or surface water. Once this crust is eroded through, the underlying softer rock is sculpted by wind and water into elaborate landforms, including honeycombed shapes called tafoni.

Just before where the road begins to climb to the west out of Lobo Canyon is a block slide covering about 27 acres, which may have occurred during the December 1812 Santa Barbara Channel earthquake. A block slide is one in which the slide body remains relatively intact. This slide has moved about 100 feet in a northeast direction. The leading edge of the slide is found in Lobo Canyon about 1,000 feet downstream from the road, where it supports a dense growth of oaks and toyons and a year-round spring.The slide also dammed Lobo Canyon as evidenced by ponded sediment upstream from the slide at the trail head.

Channel Islands National Park

Last updated: March 28, 2021