Monarch butterflies migrate to Goleta each November through February and this amazing sight is best viewed at the Goleta Butterfly Grove. The site is open sunrise to sunset with no admission fee, but the City of Goleta does accept donations to support the Monarch Butterfly Docent Program. The grove is adjacent to the Sperling Preserve on the Ellwood Mesa. The Ellwood Mesa open space includes 137 acres of natural terrain with designated trails and beach access. There is a portable restroom located at the parking lot.
We recommend wearing sturdy shoes and bring binoculars to maximize your visit.
Free parking for the Goleta Butterfly Grove (and the Ellwood Mesa) is available in the lot at the Ellwood Mesa Open Space on Hollister Avenue. This is across from Ellwood Elementary School (7686 Hollister Avenue).
**TRAILS TO THE BUTTERFLY GROVE ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED. As a result of a tree health assessment performed as part of the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan, the City recently learned that a significant number of trees in the Ellwood Mesa are dead or dying. Many of the dead and dying eucalyptus trees in the forest were severely impacted by the drought which increased their vulnerability to pests. In an abundance of caution, and at the advice of the City’s insurer, trails leading to the butterfly grove will be temporarily closed due to the potential for falling trees. The City will need to remove several hundred dead or dying trees and trim others to protect the safety of the public as well as that of the healthy trees. Before planning any visit to the Ellwood Mesa and Goleta Butterfly Grove, we recommend you check here for updates on closures. Routes to the beach remain open. The trail map identifying closures can be found here.
Sperling Preserve and Goleta Bluffs are still open and accessible from the Goleta Butterfly Grove parking lot. The trail map can be found here.