From sandy beach shores to 2,000 feet tall mountains there many different kinds of hiking trails for you and your friends and family to enjoy in Santa Cruz. These trails may be the cat's pajamas and the redwood groves that encase the trails are the cat's meow. The magnificent Redwood trees of California, some of which challenge the height of the Statue of Liberty, are renowned throughout the world and have been credited with being a Kickstarter of the California State Park system.
A little ways away from the campgrounds is the Fall Creek Unit of the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. It is a day-only trail, meaning that you can only be on that area during the day, with 20+ miles of trails and paths to investigate! This dazzling trail runs alongside the creek through 2,000 acres of land, merging with other trails for you to see and explore. This trail is wide enough for the whole family and the scenery of lush trees and bushes as well as a canyon of fern is absolutely jaw-dropping.
Atop the ridges of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the land at Castle Rock State Park spans for over 5,000 acres of gorgeous terrain. Frequently visited by horse-back riders, hikers, and backpackers, Castle Rock has 30+ miles of trails and they even have two camps for travelers to sleep and refresh themselves. Castle Rock Trail and the Saratoga Gap Trail, a popular trail, can both be entered by the main parking entrance and can be traveled as long as the day permits.
It is all in the name for The Skyline to the Sea Trail. This trail spans from the 2,000 feet ridges in the Castle Rock State Park to the Waddle Beach unit of the Big Basins Redwoods State Park. It is a common overnight backpacking trail and multiple smaller routes and daytime hikes utilize this 30-mile trail. The camping areas are for reservation only with wide accommodations for multiple-day trips.
Seven miles away from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, the Redwood Grove Loop Trail is the most popular hike at the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. The city's backyard is full of less than a mile loops tours close to the 250 feet Redwood trees and gives out info about the forest while on the hike. This trail, that is a must for hikers, is only a slice of what all Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park has to offer.
This popular local gem in Santa Cruz is located in a state park, right outside of the little Aptos community. This park has a long logging history and now, The Forest of Nisene Marks has many loops and trails for you and your friends to travel on. Not far from the entrance is The Old Growth Loop, which is only 2.2 miles long and presents some of the local landscapes of the area.
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