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West Cliff Drive is a 4 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Santa Cruz, California that offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 4.0 mi Elevation gain 68 ft Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Wheelchair friendly Kid friendly Hiking Road biking Walking Bird watching Running Beach Paved Views
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Getting There

Note: Due to COVID-19 measures, the parking lots are closed. These gentle, family-friendly trails are multi-use and available for walking, cycling, skating, and beach access. This is a great place for a sunset stroll. The path covers visual and physical access to: Surfing, cycling, skating, walking, tidepools, beach, kite flying, fishing, frisbee, sponge and skimboarding, dogs playing on the beach and open fields, sea otters, seals, whales and dolphins and monarch butterflies in season, pelicans, cormorants, seagulls and shorebirds, crabs, sea anemones, lighthouse, and all ages of people out enjoying themselves. Within walking distance of one end is the Boardwalk and municipal pier, the other end has Natural Bridges State Park. Moderate temperature in summer. Bring your camera, binoculars, and the whole family including your dog (leash required on the path but not on Lighthouse Beach). Probably one of the most densely packed nature walks and recreation area in Santa Cruz. Accessibility: This trail follows two miles of a paved, mixed-use bicycle path along the scenic Santa Cruz Coast. It is smooth with a typical width of at least four feet. The estimated average grade is 2% and the max grade is 6% so it is mostly gentle.

Park off of W Cliff Dr

Not applicable.

From Highway one or Highway 17 proceed on highway one north towards Mission street. Stay in left lane and proceed thru stoplight onto Chestnut street. Take Chestnut to Laurel, left at the light. Turn right on Pacific street. Proceed past stop sign, uphill. Drive about 1/2 mile on West Cliff Drive and find some free parking near the lighthouse. You can park anywhere and have a good walk. I prefer to park near the restrooms after a long drive.

Weather
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Daylight
Reviews (416)
Photos (268)
Recordings (450)
Completed (872)
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Glenn Garrison
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Hiking
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George Marro
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Hiking
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Amanda Pezzullo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 25, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful scenic walk. Parked closer to the Boardwalk and walked north to Natural Bridges Park. Awesome butterfly sanctuary in Natural Bridges Park.

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Robert Aguirre
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Hiking

Awesome day and ride

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Amanda Harper
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 18, 2020
Hiking

Knee sore on way back Scared of traffic and rough terrain And clip ins!!

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Cody Walz
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Running
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Joseph Honrada
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Hiking

very easy and very relaxing.

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Mark Lau
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Walking

Great stroll to watch surfers.

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Steve Calderone
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Hiking
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Cody Walz
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Running
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Crendal Kear
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Hiking

Paved trail, along cliff.

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Edwin Soto
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Mountain biking

Good ride a lot to see but Strava should have better gps directions

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Cody Walz
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Running
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Alan Sato
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Running
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Santosh Kumar
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Road bikingGreat!
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Lenny Greenberg
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Hiking

A little Smokey today.

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jesse forrester
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Hiking

Great views! Nice leisurely stroll

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marilou contreras
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HikingGreat!
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Alan Herendich
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Hiking

A nice walk along the cliffs to the west of Santa Cruz Wharf. the paved bike path/ walking trail has many places you can access the rocks below or small beaches along the way. Since you are right next to West Cliff Drive, there is a lot of traffic noise along this route. Lots of nice views, but not a quiet walk.

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Pamela Snyder
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Hiking

A lot of people show up as soon as it gets hot in the Silicon Valley, most not wearing masks, many not social distancing. Spectacular views, quiet neighborhood walk when it’s not a pandemic, summer, warm or full of tourists.

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Theresa Cumplido
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WalkingNo shade

Very nice calm trail. There was a lot of people today though and a lot of bikers. The parking lots were all closed so we had to look for street parking. There are stair ways down to the ocean, one side just had so much kelp the sand looked horrible but closer to the lighthouse it was nicer and there even was a cave/bridge like rock that we walked to with our dog. People had their dogs off leash on the beach which is okay to me as long as the dog is friendly and pick up the poop. We enjoyed just wish there were restrooms to use! We came from stockton it was a 2 hour drive so we had to hold it during the walk lol

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Margaret Suddards
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HikingNo shade
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Allie User
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this is one of my most favorite places to go when I am in Santa Cruz. I've jogged this, walked it, whale watched, watched the surfers, seen sea otters and sea lions all from this area. it is quite amazing

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Steven Surdi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 27, 2020
Hiking

I have been up the entire coast of California hiking and seeing different parts of the beach. This is one of my favorites of my entire trip! So nice.

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Caryn Hewlett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 23, 2020
HikingNo shade

This paved walkway overlooking the Monterey Bay always has something to offer! Whether you’re looking for a brief walk or a longer one, or you want to bring your dog, go for a run, or even have a taco or a coffee while you stroll, there is something for everyone on this path. Being local to the area, we often take our pup here or go for walks at sunset. There isn’t any shade on hot days so wear a hat and sunscreen! We love watching the surfers on Steamer’s, checking out the lighthouse, and seeing the conditions at Its Beach. It’s always a fun time!

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Danielle Gentry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 21, 2020
Hiking

This walk/run/stroll whatever you choose to do is breathtaking from start to finish. I parked on the street and walked in. It was a beautiful day. ISanta Cruz

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Elizabeth Campos Fitch
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HikingNo shade
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Melissa T
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Hiking

Great place for a walk with the dog. Beautiful views, friendly faces.

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Elizabeth Plata
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‘Tis is a hike that’s more of an easy walk unless you challenge yourself and run it. The trail follows the waters edge drive to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. One can wear running shoes or trail runners. The scenery was beautiful and the earlier the less crowded.

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lisa mcdonald
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Hiking

The views, vibe and dog friendly environment is why I loved this hike. Although it’s not really a hike but a nice walk to the beach. If you can watch dogs play all day like I can this destination is a must with your pooch. There were about 20 dogs off leash at the beach ( against the signage posted) but they all behaved themselves even the owners. My dog had a great time!!

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