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  • Santa Cruz County
  • Santa Cruz County, California

    For top outdoor adventures in Santa Cruz County, California, the Skyline to the Sea Trail is a must-visit. This scenic 29.5-mile trail takes you from the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, offering breathtaking views of redwood forests, waterfalls, and creeks along the way. The trail is moderately difficult, making it suitable for most hikers. For a shorter hike, try the 4.7-mile Wilder Ranch State Park Loop, which features stunning ocean views and historic farm buildings. For a unique outdoor attraction, visit the Natural Bridges State Beach, home to a natural rock arch in the sea. So, if you're looking for the best trails and outdoor activities, Santa Cruz County has plenty to offer.

    Top Spots in and near Santa Cruz County

    • Saratoga, California

      Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail

      4.5
      30.22 mi / 3409 ft gain
      Want to experience one of the bay area's most memorable backpacking trips? We've got the details to get you out on the trail. To start the trek, drop your car at the Castle Rock State Park Parking Lot, which is located ~2.5 miles south of the junctions of Highways 35 and 9 off of Highway 35. Not...
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    • Saratoga, California

      Backpack Castle Rock State Park

      4.7
      Castle Rock Trail Camp has a different policy than other backcountry camps in the area (i.e. campsites along Skyline to the Sea). This campground is open all year and is available on a first come, first served basis. If you can, grab a spot a Frog Flat Camp. To get to the camp, park your car at t...
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    • San Jose, California

      Hike the Quicksilver Trail

      4.3
      5.1 mi / 915 ft gain
      The trails are well maintained and offer good visibility. The trail can be muddy after it rains, and does not have much shade (so bring extra water in the summer).  Dogs are allowed on this trail but must be kept on leash. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife - this trail is frequently used for bir...
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    • Boulder Creek, California

      Hike to Sempervirens Falls

      4.0
      2.1 mi / 100 ft gain
      The hike to Sempervirens Falls is an easy 2.1 mile out-and-back hike on the Sequoia Trail. You'll travel through the redwood forest and some of the campgrounds located in Big Basin State Park. The hike is pleasant but on occasion, you'll be too close to the road to feel like you're deep in the wi...
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    • Los Gatos, California

      Hike Los Gatos Trail to Jones Trail Loop

      3.8 mi / 511 ft gain
      This trail winds its way along the Los Gatos Creek and ends at the Lexington Reservoir before looping back to the start. It is 3.8 miles and makes for a great way to get exercise and relax in nature. You can hear the creek as you hike, and can even go down to it. There is a lot of green foliage t...
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    • Davenport, California

      Kitesurf Waddell Beach

      4.0
      Just north of Santa Cruz at the far west end of Big Basin State Park, Waddell Beach offers one of California's top spots for kiteboarding.  Each spring and summer, you'll find consistent northwesterly afternoon sea breezes.  With the added bonus of consistent waves from wind and ground swell, Wad...
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    • Boulder Creek, California

      Big Basin's Sunset Trail Camp

      4.8
      9.46 mi / 2146 ft gain
      This trail and campsite is currently closed (learn more). Looking for a more authentic hiking and camping weekend, without having to drive hours away to find it? Then the Sunset Trail Camp within Big Basin Redwoods SP is your ticket. To access this site, you'll need to hike the famous Skyline-to...
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    • Boulder Creek, California

      Berry Creek Falls Loop (Closed)

      4.8
      10 mi / 2310 ft gain
      Unfortunately, this trail is closed due to a past fire. See CA.Gov for updates on trails in Big Basin.  Nestled in California's oldest state park, the popular Berry Creek Falls Loop hike begins at the Big Basin park headquarters. If you're up for 11 miles, a thousand feet of elevation gain throu...
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    • Boulder Creek, California

      Camp at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

      4.0
      0.5 mi
      Big Basin is currently closed including the campgrounds. Please visit the Parks.ca.gov site for updated details.  An hour away from the thrumming city of San Jose, ancient immense trees live in a forest full of vibrant ferns and rushing waterfalls. Big Basin Redwoods State Park encompasses 10,00...
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    • Boulder Creek, California

      Hike the Ocean View Summit Loop

      4.0
      6 mi / 600 ft gain
      This hike begins at the Big Basin park headquarters. If you're up for 6 miles through giant redwoods and along serene creeks, and with an ocean view, then this is the hike for you. Ocean view summit loop starts on the Gazos Creek Road bridge, next turn right on to the Middle Ridge Fire Road, whic...
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    • Boulder Creek, California

      Hike the Old Growth Redwoods Trail

      4.5
      0.5 mi
      Quick half-mile stroll through the old growth Redwoods that will show you the nature of the ever-living redwood tree.Redwoods are capable of withstanding storms, floods, fire, droughts, and even termites. These legendary trees can live for over 2,000 years and possess incredible strength, vigor, ...
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    • 21600 Big Basin Way, California

      Hike the Sequoia Trail at Big Basin Redwoods SP

      4.0
      4.3 mi / 600 ft gain
      This 4.3 mile hike in Big Basin Redwoods SP is a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.   In the first half, there is a quick detour you can take to Sempervirens Falls.  Just listen for sounds of water, read the signs, and cross the road.  The detour itself is as far as cross...
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    • Pescadero, California

      Pick Berries at Swanton's Berry Farm

      Take a spectacularly scenic drive or bike ride out to this quaint coastal berry farm. Look out onto the shimmering ocean while you pick the ripest and sweetest berries yourself. Head inside their shop to enjoy pre-made jams, pies, chocolate covered strawberries, and so much more. While you're ins...
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    • Saratoga, California

      Hike the Seven Springs Trail Loop

      2.8 mi / 500 ft gain
      The Seven Springs loop is only one great option of several in the preserve. Starting from the Prospect Rd parking lot the loop is 2.8 miles of rolling hills in and out of the shade. Most of the trail is at least 2 person width so easy to walk with a friend or furry companion. There have been larg...
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    • San Jose, California

      Explore Santa Teresa County Park

      4.5
      8.3 mi / 2053 ft gain
      The Santa Teresa County Park loop is perfect for wildlife viewing! Be ready to see deer, coyote, hawks, turkeys, pigs and cows. The trail is rated as moderate - be cautious with mud if you are visiting the park after a rain shower. Dogs are allowed in the park, but must be kept on leash.  There i...
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    • La Honda, California

      Portola Redwoods State Park Loop

      4.8
      7.64 mi / 1460 ft gain
      Like redwood hikes? We do too, they're always very scenic and take you away from the hustle and bustle of the bay area. Not to mention, they also stay cool during the summer months. If you want a hike in the middle of the peninsula, this is a great bet. When starting this hike, head out from hea...
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