Location: Knapp’s Castle Ruins in Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara, CA
Just recently, I took a spontaneous, week-long trip to Southern California to visit my friends and family there. One of my brothers was home from college and my other brother was celebrating his birthday so it was the perfect excuse to go back to my home state and see all of my people.
On one of those happy sunny California days, my brother and I teamed up with life-long best friends of ours, Hannah, Emily, and Henry, to have our own little road trip and see the ruins of Knapp’s Castle in the Santa Ynez Mountains near Santa Barbara.
After a long drive, we found the trailhead inside Los Padres National Forest and we started the short hike to the Knapp’s Castle. (From where we parked to the ruins is about 0.8 miles)
Young, scrappy, and hungry.
(emphasis on hungry)
We all grew up in Southern California so how did we never know that there were castle ruins in these mountains? In any case, we had finally discovered them and we were ready to explore.
Camp Brand Goods sent me their fantastic Orange Crush Tee to review and share with all of you. I have a dream of one day owning my own orange Volkswagen Bus that my husband and I can restore and then travel around the country in, but that’s a dream that’s a long way out from now. This comfy loose-fitting tee makes me grin every time I wear it because it reminds me of that someday hope. And even though my dream isn’t even close to being realized, this tee was the perfect companion for our adventure in to Knapp’s Castle.
There is a saying around these parts, “If it’s not comfortable, it’s not Camp”. Since day one, it has been our mission to create high quality casual wear that reflects our lifestyle of enjoying the outdoors and supporting those who do the same. Camp Brand Goods hails from the foothills of the Canadian Rockies and you can find our products keeping people warm around evening bonfires, under the diamond filled night sky, and inside your favourite mountain town taverns. Whether it’s a summertime bike ride, a lazy Sunday morning walk with man’s best friend, or a weekend in the mountains, you can trust us to keep you comfortable wherever you chose to go.
Knapp’s Castle was built in 1916 by George Owen Knapp. In 1940, the 160-acre property was purchased by Frances Holden who invited her friend, the opera singer Lotte Lehmann, to live there. Tragically, five weeks after the invitation was extended to Lotte, the castle was destroyed by a forest fire and now only bits and pieces of the original seven structures remain standing.
I’d go anywhere with these girls.
If you ever have the chance to be carefree and climb on top of castle ruins, take it.
I’m friends with the best of them. We’re California kids who grew up together and even though we may be moving on with our lives and some things may have changed, some things will never change. It makes my heart happy to know that we can always pick up where we left off and escape together.
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
Ray Bradbury | Fahrenheit 452
Our selfie was sabotaged. #HelloWind
We explored, climbed, laughed, and risked our lives on a makeshift rope swing. We kicked off our shoes and scampered along stone archways and precarious paths. I wore through the sole of one of my Birks and fell down in the dirt. Sun-baked and windblown, we left the Knapp’s Castle just before a large group of hikers came through. We had the ruins to ourselves for some time, though, and being alone together in a castle in the mountains is a rather remarkable experience.