Explore the most popular mountain biking trails in Wilder Ranch State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
4 days ago

The dump stuff some other reviews mentioned didn’t really seem to be an issue for me. No trash in the trail, and nothing visually that awful; just looked a little commercial-y for maybe five minutes.

What DOES suck though is that a good chunk of the trail is only wide enough for people to walk single file... and yet, cyclists are allowed. If the trail gets that narrow, and with poison oak on the sides for a good part of it, you really can’t have bikes allowed on there. Especially when there are so many steep downhill parts that they come barreling down. Other reviews warned about this, and they’re 100% correct.

Shade is pretty decent once you hit the loop bit- I’d say 50/50 shade/ totally exposed.

Despite my rating, I probably won’t be doing this again because the issue with bikes really was that awful.

walking
19 days ago

Short flat walk along the bluffs. Beautiful views and a couple of spots to get down to the beach if the tide’s in your favor. 2+ miles, we saw seals, pelicans, birds and bunnies.

mountain biking
2 months ago

The coastal part is great. Poor signage but otherwise very beautiful. You’ll have to use the map to see where you are so you don’t get lost.

First time riding this trail offered a bit of everything - fun. We didn’t ride exact trail, we improvised as we went but stuck to the trail at the end. We had lots of fun going up hills, downhills, single track, and terrain was fun a bit of everything. Totally recommend it to beginners.

We like to hike here with the kids every New Years Day. One year we hiked through a cold rain and didn’t have the right gear but it was pretty nonetheless. The next year was clear and gorgeous. It’s a great walk in any weather.

Love this breezy trail. Fern cove beach so beautiful!

Pretty cool views and seals!

hiking
3 months ago

A nice shorter trail though getting to it adds a few miles to the hike. There were a lot of California thistles that I missed their bloom by probably a few weeks, would have made it much prettier. The hike to the loop isn't too exciting but once at the loop it quickly turns into a nice redwood grove. Going left at the loop gives a gradual climb at the end and gets you right into the redwoods. Going right will give you a steep climb at the end.

I've read some complain about ticks, i didn't get any until I made a wrong turn on the return and tried to take a shortcut.

If you want the covered portion of the hike first start left or if you want the open aired portion first start right.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful easy “hike”. Really a walk. Gorgeous secluded beaches. Entertaining sea lion colony. Well worth it.

hiking
5 months ago

I go on this hike every time I'm in Santa Cruz. The views are amazing and the hike is easy. Only bummer is that it can sometimes be pretty windy.

hiking
5 months ago

Came here for a 4th of July hike. We parked in the main parking lot, which cost $10 for all day parking. We walked through this cute area which was decorated for the fourth and it looked like a lot of families had come to enjoy the festivities.

You have to go through a tunnel under the main road to get to the trails and there are signs that let you know which trails you can hike on. Overall it was a good hike, had nice views and wasn't too strenuous. It took us about 2 and half hours to finish it. I just wish they had a few more signs letting people know which trail they are on, because for a while we didn't know if it was the right trail or not.There were quite a lot of bicyclists on the path way so just keep an eye out for them.

If you're looking for a relatively easy to moderate hike that's not too long, then go with this one. We chose this one because we weren't familiar with the area, and the fact that the trail was a loop was good because it kept us from getting lost.

Absolutely gorgeous! If you go down to the beaches with access points from the trail make sure and check out the caves. :)

mountain biking
5 months ago

I have mountain biked on the upper portion of this trail (expect the ocean part). The western side of the trail, Baldwin Loop, was unmaintained. The grass was as tall as myself, and covered everything -- you could barely see the trail. At some point, the grass turned into thisle, also as tall as myself! I had to unmount and carefully walk through all that thisle, but it was actually impossible to not get scratched.

Also, since you are basically touching the grass with all your body, you will be full of ticks after. You cannot avoid them.

I do not recommend going on the western side of the loop. Technically it is not a hard trail, but plowing through tall grass full of ticks is no fun.

The eastern side of the trail is much better. At some point you do cross another grass field, but the grass is not taller than knee high, and there is some room so that you can avoid touching the grass.

Amazing views! However I recommend parking on the highway because parking costs $10. Dogs aren’t allowed on the property. There are signs warning of mountain lions. We didn’t see any of them, but we saw three different mounds of feces that clearly belonged to a mountain lion.

hiking
6 months ago

Between HWY 1 and eagles cutoff, the western part of Baldwin loop trail ( near the .6 mile marker ) is very overgrown. Were unable to make it all the way to eagles cutoff. Be aware of ticks, picked dozens off during and after the walk. Did not try the eastern side of the Baldwin loop trail , it might be better

Great trail with incredible views of the Monterey Bay. You will have to share the trail with the occasional mountain biker, but in general there is plenty of room.

Great chance to see a wide variety of birds of prey as well.

It's just over 5mi from the main parking lot. I had a 4.5yr old and 8yr old in tow and they both handled it well.

Would highly recommend this hike.

Awesome hike

hiking
7 months ago

The Enchanted Loop trail is actually just a bit of a small, circular trail sitting around a bunch of other trails. In-and-of itself, Enchanted Loop is pretty decent. Much of the trail (the western and northern sides) is through a pretty dense forest, lots of trees and shade surrounding you. The eastern and southern sides are more exposed, but there's also a good chance of seeing deer if you go at the right time (I was taking this part of the trail around 6 PM). I would suggest you take this trail in a clockwise fashion, as taking it counter-clockwise will put you at a pretty strenuous incline as you exit the wooded area (taking it clockwise, it's largely downhill on the west and then a very gradual uphill on the east).

Now, here's the thing about Enchanted Loop - you have to get to it via another trail. If you look at the trail map of Wilder Ranch State Park, you can see that you can really choose your own route depending on how long you want to be out hiking. The most direct route, though, is Baldwin Loop - which is what the map for this trail has you taking. HOWEVER, it has you taking West Baldwin Loop, which is AWFUL. Getting to Enchanted Loop via West Baldwin Loop (the western side of it) is pretty off-putting, as that part of the trail is largely overgrown with a ton of sharp and thorny plants - it is no fun to hike through. There are also a ton of ticks on that side as you go through all the plants, so if you DO go this route (which I suggest you don't), take care to cover your skin well.

Instead, I suggest taking East Baldwin Loop (I've suggested a map edit to this trail as well). If you look at the trail map, you'll see another section of Baldwin Loop on the east that will also take you to Enchanted Loop. This route, while resulting in a longer (though more gradual) incline is a much more enjoyable trail. It's wider, clearer, has better views, and isn't overgrown with sharp plants that you get tangled up in. Instead, it's surrounded by white, yellow, and purple wild flowers at the start/end. I'll be adding photos, so you can see what I mean. The only downside to this route is that there's much less parking at this entrance than there is for the West Baldwin Loop entrance. Taking East Baldwin Loop easily turns this trail from a 1 to a 4.

Also, once you're done, I suggest going down to Four Mile Beach - it's really close by and is a great place to relax after a long hike. I think hiking this trail and then having a picnic on the beach is a pretty good date activity, if you don't mind ending up a little sweaty on your dates.

TICKS! EVERYWHERE!

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful hike but make sure to check yourself after for ticks.

Great coastal walk and serene walk through the redwoods.

hiking
9 months ago

FAVORITE. Surely breathtaking views! It’s an easy trail, but let’s just enjoy the views.

hiking
9 months ago

I like Wilder a lot, and this loop is so beautiful in many ways, but the dump as you’re descending the ridge on the north side of the loop is kind of a buzzkill: trash strewn along fence, smells, noise, etc. Also, this is a big mountain biking spot, so I have to be extra careful if I want to let my dog off leash on the main part of the loop because people can come down pretty fast. I like it best on weekday mornings when it is most quiet. The views are spot on and there are great wildflowers, but it’s worth it to add in the Enchanted Loop to get more diversity of environment, but I’m just a person who likes forest settings best!

A favorite

An easy trail - well worn and wide. Mainly overlooking cliffs, but there are a few spots where you can easily descend to a beach. As far as California coastline goes, the views aren't spectacular but just okay. Seems like a nice couples or family outdoor time kind of place.

Easy hike with great access to the ocean. Could easily push a jogging stroller on this trail. Busy but not overcrowded. Limited parking on site.

Stunning sights, a nice walk with a few stopping points for who wants to read or just take a break.
Was very windy the day I went. Also very busy.
Awesome wildlife sightings (birds and sea mammals).
There’s a $10 fee to park if you go all the way to the Park itself - park on the road right before it if you can!

hiking
9 months ago

Nice loop trail that takes you by horse stables. If you take the counter-clockwise loop, it is an easier grade to go up. There is a massive slope on the stretch of the loop that parallels the creek. Great view and nice wildflowers. Quick hike.

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