Explore the most popular birding trails near Santa Cruz with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

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.

The trail was nice with scenic views from the cliffs. However, we followed a side trail down to the beach which apparently you are not supposed to be on and we were told to leave.

Trail is over grown and comes to an end before the end of the trail, also looks like a homeless person camp has taken over the location before the over grown portion.

hiking
1 month 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.

nature trips
1 month ago

Stunning

Great trail. Lots of tree coverage. Good amount of bikers.

Very nice hike.
Not too heavily trafficked.

I did this loop based on the high rating and the overall length of the hike and was VERY disappointed. I’m shocked it’s gotten such rave reviews as it is primarily walking on wide fire roads, and the coastal trail is more like walking around produce fields and along the old railroad track. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, sadly. I’m glad to say I’ve visited the park, though. Hope others have a better experience.

love the view, is very relaxing

The creek is a great place for young kids to play, but the slope heading up from it is very steep. We had to carry our 2 year old in a SSC. The underbrush is very overgrown this time of year (July) and lots of poison oak to look out for. The “shortcut” across this loop is extremely overgrown and steep slippery sections. I wouldn’t really recommend it for young children. Without the app and an active data connection, we would not have found our way as the trail markings are terrible!

I hiked on Friday and not many people there. I customized the trail, i used the lower part of wilder ridge loops trails to horse trails, had to walked on the side of highway 1 for a bit since there are private vegetations across to reach to ohlone bluff trail. For the most part its not a shady trail, a lot of poison oaks at the lower wilder ridge loop trail. Recommending long pant, shade and water. Its an easy trail for the most part. In land trails are small but well marked.However, gps in this apps is so helpful.

walking
2 months ago

One the most beautiful area to walk, run or bike.

hiking
2 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.

3 months ago

I grew up in this area and I feel shocked by how beautiful it is Everytime I walk this trail

on West Cliff Drive

3 months ago

Somewhat crowded, beautiful none the less.

hiking
4 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.

hiking
4 months ago

5/14/2018 I’m house sitting nearby and had to take advantage of having a flat, beautiful place to skate. It was really nice, but it was crowded for a Monday, and obviously on Saturday when I came with my dog it was packed. Also, a lot of the paved walkway is rough for boards that don’t have the right wheels. The street is good though, and on a weekday there aren’t too many cars, especially up closer to Natural Bridges. There is also a beach along the way where you can let your dog off leash before 10 am and after 4 pm. You’re basically in the heart of town here, close to the west side and downtown, so it is good for families with older or younger members. Riding bikes would be fun for kids. The wharf and boardwalk are at the south end and on the north end there is the monarch butterfly preserve, Antonelli Pond and Moore Creek Preserve. Lots to do.

hiking
4 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.

4 months ago

beautiful places

TICKS! EVERYWHERE!

trail running
5 months ago

peaceful, relaxing running path. great views and a few contact highs make for a nice morning run.

Don’t take this hike in the winter or early spring. We were prepared for a 6 mile hike but at the end of the loop, when we were supposed to cross the river and climb the hill back to the car, we found that the river was way too high to cross. What was supposed to be a 6 mile hike turned into a 10 mile hike. Also, this hike has you walking on train track (not pleasant) for a long time and then crossing a trestle. Wouldn’t you know it, the train came when we were right in the middle. This is a beautiful area but don’t take this hike.

hiking
5 months ago

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

Beautiful just after the rain! Make sure to check the map to follow the right trails; signs can be a bit unclear

hiking
6 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

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