Thousand Steps stairs leading into the ocean

Thousand Steps Reopened After Safety Repairs and Improvements

Authored on
September 29, 2022

Thousand Steps, a historic beach access stairway in the Mesa neighborhood, has reopened after a six-month closure. During that time, the City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department made significant safety repairs and improvements to the popular landmark, which serves as one of three public beach access stairways in the City.

Thousand Steps, originally called Camino a Mar, was built by the City almost 100 years ago in 1925. Over time, harsh coastal conditions and regular use eroded the lowest stairs, making them difficult and dangerous to use.

Work at Thousand Steps required careful timing with tides and coastal conditions and strict adherence to coastal permitting requirements to protect sensitive marine habitats.

Repairs and improvements thus far include:

-Demolition and reconstruction of the lower 24 steps and installation of seven additional steps to provide a safer and more accessible path during seasonal changes to sand level.

-Installation of a continuous handrail extending from the street level to the beach.

-Construction of a new concrete guardrail at the main landing mid-stairway.

-Drainage improvements to allow for groundwater capture to reduce algae growth and slippery stair treads.

-Installation of a bicycle rack on top of the bluff.  

A brief closure for additional work is expected in Fall 2022 or Winter 2023, when conditions allow, to add an apron at the beach level to protect the stairs for years to come. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be announced at a later date.