Also known as Point Santa Cruz, this area forms the northern boundary of Monterey Bay. It is one of the last open headlands in any California urban area. Surfers, tourists, birds - including the rare Black Swift and wintering Monarch butterflies are drawn to this area. Sea lions populate the offshore rocks. This is one of the places where Monarch butterflies winter along the California coast. Monarchs are unique because they migrate each winter to avoid freezing weather. The Monarchs wintering here, come from the west of the Rocky Mountains. Monarchs east of the Rockies go to central Mexico for the winter. The lighthouse is home to California's first surfing museum and is the location each Christmas for "Caroling Under the Stars," a Santa Cruz tradition which attracts hundreds of locals and visitors. The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse at Lighthouse Point on West Cliff Drive. Overlooking internationally renowned surfing hotspot Steamer Lane, this museum has photographs, surfboards, and other interesting items tracing over 100 years of surfing history in Santa Cruz. Park open 7am-sunset year round.
Tammy N. on West Cliff Drive Santa Cru
Beautiful coast trail
Holly O. on West Cliff Drive Santa Cru
A little crowded at lunchtime, but still worth it for the amazing views.
Susan S. on West Cliff Drive Santa Cru
So very pretty. Very crowded but worth it for the views
Regardless of the crowds, the beauty of the Pacific is unrivaled here. Easy walk to Natural Bridges State Beach. Lots of things to look for along the way. Surfers catching sometimes giant waves near the lighthouse, surfing museum, sea lions, seabirds, and have spotted some dolphins swimming along the coastline. Great landscape and powerful crashing waves. I'll be back for more.
Once again I was unprepared when I attempted to walk this trail. I assumed I would just walk up West Cliff Dr. and take a 2 mile hike through Lighthouse Field State Park. I was wrong, I started from Beach St. & West Cliff Dr. it was 2.81 miles to reach Natural Bridges State Park and then from Natural Bridges State Park to where I finished West Cliff Dr. & Pacific Ave was 2.93 miles. I would say this is the most beautiful & scenic walk along the Pacific Ocean I have been on.