The best hiking trails of Santa Cruz County are plentiful and are spread throughout the area. The Monarch Trail located at Natural Bridges State Beach It is known for its rock type bridges that naturally appear throughout the area. Monarchs frequent the trail and light upon the Eucalyptus trees. The boardwalk is wheelchair accessible and leads to a simple trail.
Redwood Grove Loop and River Trails are located within the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Banana slugs, deer, and redwood trees can be seen throughout the trails. People swim in the river and there are a lot of wide open expanses. The Redwood Groove Loop meanders in an oval shape through the redwoods. The San Lorenzo River can be viewed as well. A canyon naturally forms in the river area. Big Rock Hole is where many visitors of the trail go to swim and swing across with a rope swing. It is positioned by Highway 9 just north of the city. People often ride on horseback along the trails.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park has the Skyline to the Sea Trail. The redwoods along it are said to be thousands of years old. The movie “Vertigo” was filmed here in the 1950’s by Alfred Hitchcock, which starred Jimmy Stewart with Kim Novack. There are waterfalls, forests, grasslands, and the Pacific Ocean from the trail. It is positioned along Highway 9 and 236. It is twenty-five miles northwest of the city.
Ohlone Bluff Trail is positioned in Wilder Ranch State Park. The trail is named for the indigenous people who once filled the area. Picnic spots are available along several parts of the trail. Hours can vary on different parts of the trail, so a watch is necessary.
Pogonip has a view of the ocean and is off of Gulf Club Drive. There are several trails available to hike or job. It is common to see joggers, people walking dogs, and other relaxing along the trails. It is positioned along Spring Street accessible from Highway 9. The area was for a country club at one time. Spring Box Trail has fish and many springs in the creeks.
The Nature Conservancy’s Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve has trails for hiking and is home to many birdwatchers. More than 200 species of birds can be viewed from the area. They migrate from Mexico the the Southeast portion of Arizona.
West Ridge Trail is position alongside three other trails: Bennett Creek, Fall Creek, and South Fork trailways. The Lime kilns, Cape Horn, and the Lost Empire trails are located at the 1.7 mile marker. There is a large tree called Big Ben and a Barrel Mill which fashions redwood lumber into barrel heads.
The Old Cove Landing Trail runs in the middle of Wilder and Sand Plant beaches. Monterey Bay can be viewed from the trail and many birds and waterlife can be seen from it as well. There is a cultural preserve near the Wilder Ranch Buildings. Former Native American villages and Mexican adobe dwellings can be seen throughout the trail area.