Explore the most popular hiking 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.

mountain biking
1 month 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.

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.

Heavy foot traffic but a must see section of the Santa Cruz area

Love this breezy trail. Fern cove beach so beautiful!

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.

Pretty cool views and seals!

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.

Nice beach but lots of sand flies. used to be 3 arches, now only one remains

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.

Excellent 12k running trail.

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!

Great trail. I hiked with a full pack in preparation for an upcoming camping trip. Only saw about 6 people on the trail. 98% full tree coverage from the sun and zero bugs! A real treat for a Wisconsin native.

hiking
3 months ago

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

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.

hiking
3 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.

walking
3 months ago

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

hiking
3 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. :)

Great trail. all routes are cleared from fallen trees, and gps matches the trail very good for most of the trail. enjoyed it very much.

mountain biking
4 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.

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