Hiking Santa Cruz: Exploring Nature’s Beauty on Foot

Hiking Santa Cruz

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Are you a nature lover who enjoys exploring the great outdoors? If so, then hiking Santa Cruz County is the perfect destination for you. With its picturesque landscapes and stunning natural beauty, Santa Cruz is a haven for hiking enthusiasts. From the towering redwood forests to the rugged coastline, Santa Cruz has something to offer for every type of hiker. In this article, we will explore the best hiking trails in Santa Cruz and provide you with all the information you need to plan an unforgettable hiking adventure.

Why Hiking Santa Cruz is a Must-Do

Santa Cruz is a hiker’s paradise, with over 35,000 acres of parks and open spaces to explore. Hiking is the perfect way to experience the natural beauty of Santa Cruz County up close and personal. Whether you are looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, Santa Cruz has something for everyone.

The Best Hiking Trails in Santa Cruz

  1. Big Basin Redwoods State Park
    • Redwood Loop Trail
    • Berry Creek Falls Trail
    • Skyline to the Sea Trail
  2. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
    • Redwood Grove Loop Trail
    • Fall Creek Trail
  3. Wilder Ranch State Park
    • Old Cove Landing Trail
    • Wilder Ridge Loop Trail
  4. Pogonip Open Space Preserve
    • Spring Trail
    • Loma Prieta Grade Trail
  5. Nisene Marks State Park
    • Aptos Creek Trail
    • Maple Falls Trail

Hiking Santa Cruz

Tips for Hiking in Santa Cruz

  1. Dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable shoes.
  2. Carry plenty of water and snacks.
  3. Pack a map and compass or GPS device.
  4. Check the weather forecast before you go.
  5. Follow Leave No Trace principles and leave the trail as you found it.

When to Hike Santa Cruz

The best time to hike Santa Cruz is during the spring and fall months, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. However, hiking is possible year-round in Santa Cruz, so plan your trip accordingly.


In conclusion, hiking Santa Cruz is a must-do for anyone who loves nature and the great outdoors. With its breathtaking landscapes and stunning natural beauty, Santa Cruz is a paradise for hikers of all skill levels. So grab your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and get ready to explore the best hiking trails in Santa Cruz.


  1. Q: Are there any guided hiking tours available in Santa Cruz? A: Yes, there are several companies that offer guided hiking tours in Santa Cruz.
  2. Q: Is hiking in Santa Cruz suitable for families with young children? A: Yes, there are many family-friendly hiking trails in Santa Cruz, including some with paved paths and stroller accessibility.
  3. Q: Are dogs allowed on hiking trails in Santa Cruz? A: It depends on the park or preserve. Some parks allow dogs on-leash, while others do not allow dogs at all.
  4. Q: What is the best time of day to hike in Santa Cruz? A: The best time of day to hike in Santa Cruz is in the morning, before it gets too hot and the crowds start to arrive.
  5. Q: How long does it take to hike the Berry Creek Falls Trail in Big Basin Redwoods State Park? A: The Berry Creek Falls Trail is a moderate 5.5-mile hike that typically takes 3-4 hours to complete.

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