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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.

Length 4.6 mi Elevation gain 659 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Kid friendly Hiking Nature trips Walking Bird watching Running Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife
Description
Waypoints (0)

Note: 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 Brayshaw Trail to connect back to Spring trail. 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.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (146)
Photos (231)
Recordings (153)
Completed (291)
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Jimmy P
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 24, 2020
Hiking

Easy parking next to friendship park. Homeless camps and trash in the beginning make it feel a little sketchy. But gets better as you move along trail. 7:30. Car. Elevation: 86 Highway noise, warehouse and homeless trash leftovers 8:00. Labrythith elevation: 500 Trail becomes so much better with highway noise less loud and trees 8:20. Top of trail elevation: 463 8:45. Shed, tennis court, house 9:12. Car

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Aileen Luo
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 21, 2020
Hiking

Some homeless encampments a bit dark and didn’t feel safe

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Heather Baker Horgan
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Hiking
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Srihari Murali
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Hiking
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Srihari Murali
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Hiking
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Martin Goddard
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Hiking

Good easy hike, but as many other reviewers mentioned, very easy get off trail. Use GPS

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Kacey Borin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 9, 2020
Hiking

Gorgeous trail! Went clockwise and got a nice lookout view over Santa Cruz. Nice mix of sun and shade, really cool to see the different ecotones & ecosystems. Did spurts of running and some walking while spending time with the plants :) just be careful of poison oak, familiarize yourself and stick to the trail especially in the mixed sun/shade regions where there’s dense ground cover

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Jane Sykes
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Running

This was about 5 miles, not 4.6. Good for running!!

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Kristi Koenig
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HikingBugsOver grown
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Kimberly Yao
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HikingBugs

Great trail with lots of shade, poison oak, bugs, and wildlife (saw 2 deer near trailhead, 1 snake near the ranger station, and 1 coyote near the end). The trail starts off in the Friendship Garden of Harvey West Park, and we spent a good 20 minutes getting lost after that. You want to follow the sign for Pogonip (not HWP Loop trail) for some uphill climbing until you get to the elevated but flat loop.

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Raymond S
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Hiking

Confusing beginning section

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Lindsey R
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Hiking

Trail starts on a pretty much uphill climb but is fairly easy. The whole loop is about 4.5 miles and most of it is flat. The trail is easily marked but I suggest having the map on the app handy. There are different trails throughout so know your route ahead of time. What we liked the most is that this hike has variety in landscape. We were pleasantly surprised by the change in fauna. If you’re looking for redwoods, this is a good hike for it, although not all trees are redwoods. Overal a good hike and I would do it again.

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Maria Tam
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 26, 2020
Hiking

Overall good short hike. Beginning of the trail starting at ‘Friendship Garden’ is overgrown and poison oak. About 1 mile into is very nice, lots of redwood and lots of shade. Beware of mountain bikers.

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Cherri Metzger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 14, 2020
Hiking

Starting at Harvey West Park/Friendship Garden, I then chose to go counterclockwise around the loop. Climbed up a heavily forested trail that starts in the oaks with super dense under-growth and climbs up to open meadow at lookout point. Back down to Spring trail, which is an amazing flat, traversing wide fire road that winds through many, mini Redwood groves with cool breezes and lots of shade. Trails are fairly well marked, but there are some confusing parts where HPS is essential to staying on the trail. Plenty of poison oak to avoid, but generally well-maintained. This is NOT a wilderness hike; it is an inner city open space preserve and a lovely hike. Lots of people.

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Dan Hazon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 13, 2020
Hiking

This trail is definitely a positive adventure. The environment keeps changing as you walk through. From redwood forest to meadows to a flowing creek with little waterfalls. Great views of Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay. Highly recommended.

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Nancy Newbold
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HikingClosed
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James Grossman
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Hiking

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

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Erik Cuenca
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 11, 2019
Hiking

Some confusing parts but great trail one of my new favorite

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Oscar Martinez
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Hiking

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

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Andre Rooni
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 31, 2019
HikingMuddy

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!

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bee free
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 21, 2018
Hiking

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.

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Bobby Beck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 27, 2018
Hiking

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.

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Toby B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 28, 2017
Hiking

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.

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

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

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Kevin Arnold
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Mountain biking

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 :(

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Alejandra Manriquez
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so beautiful!

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Anastasia Cabrera
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Hiking

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

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Thomas Lloyd
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 10, 2014
Hiking

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.

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