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With a name like Lizard’s Mouth, you might be expecting this area to be quite a unique place – and you’d be right! This tourist attraction is located in Santa Barbara, California, near the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Several hiking trail avenues lead to this area of massive sandstone outcroppings, including the most famous: Lizard’s Mouth, which really does look like a lizard’s head with its mouth open. Some visitors think it looks more like a frog. The sandstone has been carved over time by wind that helped create the large pocket forming the reptile’s “mouth.” Water also works over time to shape sandstone, forming caves, tafoni, and crevices. As the sun sets, low forming clouds will travel up the mountain from the ocean engulfing the sandstone of the lizard's Mouth in mist! Sandstone is formed when deposits of sand are cemented together by smaller particles like those the size of silt or clay, which may be delivered via rivers, waves, or wind.
The trail to Lizard’s Mouth is short but rocky, so sturdy hiking shoes are a must. From this vantage point, visitors can experience unparalleled views into Santa Barbara, Goleta and the Channel Islands. The area is a favorite for bouldering and rock climbing. The Santa Ynez Mountain Range was created by movements of the Santa Ynez Fault during the Cenozoic age. Most of the rocks here are sandstones and shales, with some limestone in certain places. The mountains support habitats of mixed woodlands composed of oaks, sycamore, madrone, bay laurel, and Coulter pines. The mild climate allows the growth of beautiful wildflowers throughout this region.