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. Please do not visit the grove when it is raining or while the ground is muddy from a recent storm. Natural trails and rough terrain make it difficult to access by wheelchair.
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. Parking lot GPS coordinates: 34.429018, -119.897017. The grove is a little over a half mile from the parking lot and butterfly trail markers highlight the path. Click here for a printable map.
By car: Exit Highway 101 at Hollister Avenue and turn toward the ocean. Turn left onto Hollister Avenue. After .6 miles, turn right at the stoplight for Ellwood School.
By bus: Line 25 has a stop at Viajero on Hollister Avenue which is near to the parking lot. Learn more here: MTD website.
The City of Goleta’s Monarch Butterfly Docent Program provides public education opportunities for Goleta Butterfly Grove visitors during the over wintering season. These dedicated volunteer docents facilitate an enhanced visitor experience by providing information about butterfly biology to area visitors, local residents and school groups.
Docents can be found at the Goleta Butterfly Grove from mid-November through mid-February on Saturdays and Sundays (weather permitting) between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
The Goleta Butterfly Grove is a wonderful place. To ensure the safety of the monarchs and enjoyment of the public, we ask that visitors please observe the following rules:
Always stay on designated trails and roads.
Stay out of the roped-off areas.
Watch your step when entering and exiting the grove, and avoid monarchs which may be “puddling” in the surrounding areas.
Do not touch or harass the butterflies.
Avoid making loud noises.
Keep dogs on a leash. No bicycles, horses or motorized vehicles in the grove.
Please take your trash out of the grove.
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