Explore the most popular trail running 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.

A good hike in stunning groves of giant redwoods. Not busy at alll. A good mix of flat trail, winding climb up and down and scrambled on fallen trees over the stream.

hiking
9 days 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
9 days ago

This isn't much of a hike on its own, but it's a great way to end a hike at Wilder. After doing the Enchanted Loop, I headed down to 4 Mile Beach via this trail. The beach is a great place to relax after a long hike.

12 days ago

Awesome hike

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.

beautiful places

TICKS! EVERYWHERE!

trail running
1 month 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
1 month 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

Great coastal walk and serene walk through the redwoods.

hiking
2 months ago

FAVORITE. Surely breathtaking views! It’s an easy trail, but let’s just enjoy the views.

walking
2 months ago

Easy relaxing paved path along the beach/coast for running/walking

An easy trail - well worn and wide. Mainly overlooking cliffs, but there are a few spots where you can easily descend to a beach. As far as California coastline goes, the views aren't spectacular but just okay. Seems like a nice couples or family outdoor time kind of place.

Easy hike with great access to the ocean. Could easily push a jogging stroller on this trail. Busy but not overcrowded. Limited parking on site.

Stunning sights, a nice walk with a few stopping points for who wants to read or just take a break.
Was very windy the day I went. Also very busy.
Awesome wildlife sightings (birds and sea mammals).
There’s a $10 fee to park if you go all the way to the Park itself - park on the road right before it if you can!

mountain biking
3 months ago

A little challenging for beginners like me but I had a blast. It really is a nice trail.

mountain biking
3 months ago

Wilder Ranch has lots of trails, super fun.

Don't get me wrong...the scenery is beautiful no matter where you go. I had to give this 1 star because the trails were so poorly marked and washed out that we never actually made it to most of the hike. We spent the whole time following random trails that went nowhere. We are experienced hikers so we still had fun. No trail maps either. Bummer.

Beautiful! Wonderful scenery. My only complaint is that the trail is not moderate, it is very easy.

Breathtaking views

on West Cliff Drive

4 months ago

Like others have said, it's a nice relaxing walk, but not a trail - it's a mixed use sidewalk/path. It's gorgeous, though, and great for walking with a friend.

Very beautiful. Lots of fallen trees right now near the creek, but relatively easy to scramble over.

trail running
4 months ago

Really beautiful path along the cliffs and nearby agricultural area.

Nice easy hike, minus the end. It was a bit of a steep climb to get to the beach that was hard with kids. Otherwise, pretty views and information/educational boards along the way.

It's an easy but beautiful hike. We even have the treat of seeing wild Monarch monarch butterflies nesting.

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.

walking
4 months ago

Took the trail few years back. Still remember the beautiful butter flies.

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