Lake Los Carneros
Lake Los Carneros was originally a natural wetland, and became a small freshwater lake when a dam was built in 1873 by Sherman Stow. Today the lake belongs to the City of Goleta and is popular for walking, bicycling, fishing, and birdwatching. Along with the usual mallard ducks, coots, and seagulls, visitors may see geese, swans, and other waterbirds in or near the lake. The eucalyptus and oak trees along the trails are popular roosting spots for raptors, which can be seen hunting small animals in the open, grassy areas.
Points Of Interest
Lake and Wetlands: One of the main trails takes visitors across a bridge through a wetland habitat, where small birds can be seen in the reeds. The lake itself is a great place to see ducks, geese, coots, and other birds, and to monitor water levels. Swimming is prohibited, however.
Wooded Areas and Grasslands: These two habitats next to each other, especially being so close to the lake, make for a good location to look for raptors. Hawks, kites, and their relatives can often be seen in trees overlooking the open areas in the park, or flying over the grasses in pursuit of a rodent or other prey animal. Songbirds are also common to see in both the woodland and grassland environments.
Stow House: The historic Stow House still stands near one of the entrances to the park, and is sometimes open for tours. Visitors can walk through the garden area at any time, and this is another good area to see birds as well as history. Woodpeckers, for example, can often be heard or seen at the tops of the palm trees or in the eaves of the house, and hummingbirds are common to see when plants are flowering.
Many people park in the Stow House parking lot off of Los Carneros Rd. and walk past the historic building on a paved path until they reach the trail that leads across the bridge, or continue on the paved trail and go around the lake the other way. There is also access from La Patera Rd.