Best river trails in Santa Cruz, California

447 Reviews
Explore the most popular river 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.
Map of river trails in Santa Cruz, California
Top trails (9)
#1 - Old Cabin and Twin Oaks Trail
Wilder Ranch State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(69)
Length: 6.7 mi • Est. 3 h 20 m
#2 - Big Rock Hole, Redwood Grove, Ox Trail Path Loop
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray Star(60)
Length: 5 mi • Est. 2 h
This trail features a giant swimming hole for hot days. Hike under alders, cottonwoods, and big leaf maple to arrive at this oasis on the San Lorenzo River From the Hillbilly entrance climb down and cross the San Lorenzo River. Then The trail meander up throughShow more
#3 - La Corona Trail and Branciforte Creek Trail Loop
De Laveaga Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(55)
Length: 2.8 mi • Est. 1 h 31 m
#4 - Diversion Dam Trail
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(17)
Length: 2.2 mi • Est. 1 h 9 m
Follow the San Lorenzo Trail to the north via the Diversion Dam Trail. The cool waters and shady groves are pleasant on a hot summer day.Show more
#5 - Rincon Fire Road Trail
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(29)
Length: 3.9 mi • Est. 2 h 7 m
The Rincon Fire Trail start from CA-9 and traverses the beautiful San Lorenzo River and connects to the Pipeline Rd Trail. This trail changes elevation, and can be slippery at times.Show more
#6 - Schwan Lagoon
Twin Lakes State Beach
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(30)
Length: 1.2 mi • Est. 32 m
NOTE: There is no vehicular access to this park due to COVID-19. The beach at Twin Lakes is closed from 11 AM to 5 PM daily. The trails are open to locals outside of that time. Please check here for more information: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=547Show more
#7 - Lower Meadow, Brayshaw, Fern, Spring Box and Prairie Trail
Pogonip Open Space Preserve
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(19)
Length: 3.1 mi • Est. 1 h 33 m
#8 - Redwoods Reborn - Fall Creek [CLOSED]
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(149)
Length: 8.5 mi • Est. 4 h 34 m
Fall Creek remains closed due to the CZU fire. For more information, see the park website here: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=546 Explore the Fall Creek Unit on the Fall Creek Trail. Hike past such monuments as the Big Ben Tree and the Barrel Mill Area. The Fell Creek offers beautiful redwood forests and a chance to get away from the crowds. Signs can be poorly marked. Take the Big Ben Trail to the Fell Creek Trail and return via the Lost Empire Trail.Show more
#9 - Neary Lagoon
Santa Cruz, California
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray Star(9)
Length: 0.7 mi • Est. 17 m