Santa Cruz County, California

Looking for the best hiking in Santa Cruz County? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Santa Cruz County. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top Hiking Spots in and near Santa Cruz County

  • Santa Cruz County, California

    Camp at Henry Cowell Redwoods Campground

    4.8
    / 665 ft gain
    Nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a great weekend option for Bay Area residents. With approximately 30 miles of hiking trails, the incredible Garden of Eden swimming hole, and proximity to Santa Cruz - this campground is not to be missed! On sunny days, view...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Hike the Rincon Fire Trail

    5.0
    1 mi / 300 ft gain
    The Rincon Fire Trail Starts at a small dirt parking lot next to CA-9 and traverses down the mountain to the San Lorenzo River Connecting with the Pipeline Trail. The trail can be a simple one of a mile out and back or up to 5 miles depending on your preference. The elevation will change by about...
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  • Felton, California

    Observation Deck Loop in Henry Cowell Redwoods SP

    4.3
    5.3 mi / 869 ft gain
    The trail starts at the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Visitors Center. Grab a map in the center, as your hike has you turning onto a few different trails to get to the observation deck.  Starting at the Redwood Grove Loop Trail, follow the trail until it connects with the Pipeline Road Trail ...
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  • Felton, California

    Redwood Grove Loop

    4.0
    0.93 mi / 144 ft gain
    Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is located just a few miles north of the city of Santa Cruz, along Highway 9. The park is home to an array of hiking and biking trails, but the crown jewel of the park is the Redwood Grove Loop Trail, which is only a 1/4 mile in from the park's entrance. Many peo...
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  • Felton, California

    Hike Fall Creek at Henry Cowell SP

    5.0
    9.7 mi / 2191 ft gain
    This quiet 10 mile hike features a winding creek and tall redwoods throughout the trail.  The parking at the Fall Creek Trailhead is limited, so it is best to get there before 10am.  There are redwoods very close to the trail and a good portion is alongside the creek.  Most of the trail is dirt, ...
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  • Felton, California

    Limestone Kilns and Big Ben Redwood Loop

    5.0
    8.37 mi / 1598 ft gain
    Henry Cowell Redwood State Park is a super easy destination to get to from Santa Cruz, but the seclusion of the Fall Creek Unit makes this a big bang for buck hike. This hike will take you to Big Ben, a medium sized old growth Redwood, and the abandoned Henry Cowell Lime and Cement Company Kilns ...
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  • Soquel, California

    Land of Medicine Buddha Loop

    4.5
    5.74 mi / 915 ft gain
    Near the retreat, there is a short trail called "Eight Verses Pilgrimage Trail" providing people with the opportunity to meditate on thought transformation in a peaceful and picturesque outdoor setting. From there, a beautiful 6 mile loop will take you up to the top of the ridge and then back aro...
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  • Capitola, California

    New Brighton Beach Trail

    0.85 mi / 112 ft gain
    New Brighton Beach Trail is an out-and-back trail that takes you past scenic surroundings located near Aptos, California.
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  • Capitola, California

    Camp at New Brighton Campground

    / 0 ft gain
    This Capitola camping spot is the place to be if you're looking to do a variety of activities in a variety of landscapes. You can swim, fish, or explore the nearby forest of Monterey Pine and coastal Oak. In the evening, walk into Capitola for live music and great fish tacos.  The S.S. Palo Alto,...
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  • Santa Cruz, California

    Hike Natural Bridges to Lighthouse Field

    3.5
    4.8 mi / 121 ft gain
    This is a paved trail that can be used for hiking, jogging, or walking.  It offers over 2 miles of beautiful California coast.  Walk through flowers, see the jagged cliffs, and of course the lighthouse at the end!  This walk can be done from either direction.  Start at Natural Bridges and head We...
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  • Aptos, California

    Bridge Creek Trail to Maple Falls

    7.99 mi / 1089 ft gain
    Bridge Creek Trail to Maple Falls is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a waterfall located near Aptos, California.
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  • Aptos, California

    Hike to Nisene Marks' Maple Falls

    4.6
    8.5 mi / 900 ft gain
    As you enter the park, you'll need to pay $8 for parking via a self-pay envelope, so it's recommended that you bring exact change. At the park booth, be sure to grab a map. The hike can be a little tricky with no cell service and limited trail signage. Once you've grabbed your map, keep driving p...
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  • Morgan Hill, California

    Uvas Canyon Waterfall Loop

    4.0
    1.48 mi / 463 ft gain
    Uvas Canyon offers up to 6-miles of hiking trails, which includes a 1.5 mile loop, which runs along Swanson Creek and passes many of the park's waterfalls. To take short loop, head North out of the parking lot to the Swanson Creek Trail. Once you find Swanson Creek Trail, you'll be on the Waterfa...
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  • Davenport, California

    Hike around Greyhound Beach and Climb Greyhound Rock

    0.7 mi / 0 ft gain
    The trailhead is at the Greyhound Rock State Marine Conservation Area which is directly off Highway 1. There is a large paved parking lot with a good amount of trees so finding a shady parking spot isn't that difficult (if that's important to you). The parking lot is located on the beach cliffs ...
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  • Sanborn County Park, California

    Hike Sanborn County Park via the San Andreas Trail

    4.0
    4.2 mi / 1282 ft gain
    This is a moderately rated 4.2 mile trail that winds through the redwoods west of Saratoga.  It features a dirt trail with tall trees and a creek.  The hike is very tranquil and there is lot s of greenery.  There are big rocks in the creek that can you can sit on.  People often meditate here as i...
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  • Los Gatos, California

    Hike the Saratoga Gap Trail

    4.6
    4.7 mi
    The Saratoga Gap Trail is relatively lightly trafficked trail that is good year round, although waterfalls peak in late winter and spring. Overall, this 4.7 mile partial loop hike is moderate, with about 1000 feet in elevation change. Trailhead elevation is about 3090 feet. The featured hike desc...
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