Santa Cruz may just be the most underrated vacation spot in the whole state of California. It’s a privileged spot in the Bay area that gives locals and tourists the option to enjoy multiple locations with the best nature has to offer.
One can take a stroll down to the beach and learn about the variety of marine life in the area. If adventure is what you came looking for, though, Santa Cruz is the right place to be. The area has numerous hiking spots that will test adventurers’ endurance while enabling them to contemplate the redwoods and other natural wonders!
Top Family-Friendly Hiking Trails in Santa Cruz
Image via Flickr by glenn_e_wilson
West Cliff Drive can be traveled by families and explorers alike. Located between Bay Street and Natural Bridges State Park, this trail offers a 3-mile walk along the coast. It usually takes around an hour and a half to cover the trail back and forth. The best part is that you’ll be able to enjoy both the redwoods and the ocean. The trail is wheelchair-friendly, which means everyone can enjoy it!
If you’re looking to take a quick dive into the redwoods without running too much out of breath, the flat Redwood Grove Loop Trail may be your best bet. The trail is in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. The redwood grove is the last old-growth grove in the Santa Cruz area. This means you’ll find the oldest trees in the area and a glimpse into what the whole Santa Cruz area may have looked like over 1,500 years ago!
Extreme Trails for a Real-Life Explorer Adventure
Looking for a longer and more challenging endeavor? Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park offers some of the toughest challenges out there. The Big Ben Trail will test climbers with a 7.5-mile upward trek. The trail features a very steep climb from the beginning of the trail to the tree named Big Ben. The tree, which is 6 feet in diameter, is one of the last remaining ancient redwoods in the area. Locals claim that making the trip on rainy winter days is really worthwhile, as the creek rises and the woods are green and lush.
It’s convenient that Big Ben can be seen during the winter rainy season because this next trail cannot be crossed during that time of year. This is the ultimate test within Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. The Four Crossings trail is a 6.6-mile path that will see you cross the San Lorenzo river four times on your journey. This trail is not marked like the rest of the trails in the park. It actually requires that you bring a map along for the ride so that you know precisely where to cross the river!
The Santa Cruz redwood experience is something that just can’t be put into words. One must experience it firsthand to get a clear grasp of what this ocean-forest connection can produce as far as sights and experiences. Don’t wait there are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to book a trip to Santa Cruz, California!