Fern Trail, Spring Trail and Lookout Trail Loop

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Pogonip Open Space Preserve

Fern Trail, Spring Trail and Lookout Trail Loop is a 4.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Santa Cruz, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 4.6 miles Elevation Gain: 659 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly


nature trips


bird watching




wild flowers


Enjoy the wonder of the Pogonip open Space Preserve. This scenic loop offers a connection between Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Pogonip, and the upper UCSC campus

4 months ago

Impossible to follow trail through out. Ended up at homeless encampments off trail.

Some confusing parts but great trail one of my new favorite

Really great trail, just be prepared for a lot of steep hiking!

I took this trail in late March. A big chunk of the trail was passing through canyons where beautiful red trees were abundant. You should watch your steps for cute banana slugs which are hard to miss. Trail marks were confusing at some places, but who cares when you have AllTrails on your cellphone!

Fri Sep 21 2018

Great trail run or run/walk. 650-700ft elevation gain over just under 5 miles keeps it interesting but not too strenous. Some steep climbs that had me winded but mostly rolling ups and downs, on a well maintained trail. trail travels through man different ecosystems/microclimates from golden grassy fields, to oak forest, redwood, and riparian. Easy access from Harvey West if you are coming from the Eastside.

Fri Apr 27 2018

French trail is one of my favorites in the Bay. Not particularly hard, but it's SO beautiful, largely covered in green canopy and breath taking the entire time. Big thumbs up on any iteration of this hike.

Thu Dec 28 2017

I like this place a lot for what it is. Obviously is and feels heavily trodden, has a lot of human history, but it’s a great green space to escape to in the heart of town, and it is undeniably beautiful with it’s mix of riparian habitats, open prairie, coastal chaparral, and second growth coastal redwood. As SC has a heavy mtn biking culture, every trail has specific designations for whether it can be utilized by bikers, hikers, dog walkers, and equestrians. Lookout Trail is NOT dog friendly, and if you are doing this loop as it is done in the title with a pooch, you will have to turn north on the western edge of the large prairie after Fern Trail onto BrayshawTrail to connect back to Spring trail. At the risk of a $70 ticket, and staying on trails which forbade bikers, I let my well-behaved dog off leash for the whole loop. I parked on Golf Club Dr., picked up a map, and took Lower Meadow Trail to the club house; then Brayshaw up to Spring Trail. You can also cut through the prairie for a wonderful open feeling. My dog had a friendly off leash encounter with a confident coyote on the way back at sunset in the middle of the big prairie; this was fun and exciting for the both of us, but dog owners/parents of young children beware, there is a large, active, and fearless coyote population here.

Sun Sep 17 2017

Great balance of forest, field and view of Santa Cruz.

Wed Jul 12 2017

This is not o mountain bike trail. There is a $208.00 fine. So we ride the mtb trail .

mountain biking
Wed Jun 21 2017

I went with my daughter to ride this trail and the trail head says no bikes! We tried going along the Emma McCrary Trail which was open to bikes but it was a bit advanced for her so we turned around :(

Thu May 04 2017

so beautiful!

Sun Jan 01 2017

Awesome hike but watch out for ticks. Lots of tall grass.

Wed Jun 24 2015

Perfect for an easy, fun walk with the dog after work.

Thu Apr 10 2014

Redwood Forests, hills, meadows, streams, wildlife, Historic buildings and close to town. There is much to see in less than 2miles. There were several joggers, for good reason. On the other side there's not much parking.

Sat Mar 29 2014

I hike in through Golf Club Rd. write off River st. Into wide open meadows with horses grazing; follow the trail on up into the Redwoods to the Gold Fish Pond just below UCSC!

Sat Dec 22 2012

Too easy, lots of ticks. Never many people there, though.

Wed Sep 05 2012

Nice trail - probably more of a runner's than a hiker's layout though.

Fri Jun 22 2012

this is the small loop at the entrance of the park. nice easy hike although I like Lookout Loop a lot more.

Tue Jun 19 2012

A pleasant, easy hike with a variety of views . Trails are well marked and there several options. Beware of ticks & poison oak in summer though.

4 months ago

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