First Day Hikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Happy New Year: First Day Hikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains

What better way to ring in the New Year than on a trail in the Santa Cruz Mountains? Find some direction for 2018 with one of these soul-cleansing sorties through the redwoods.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Meteor Trail Hike
Monday, Jan. 1 at 10:30 am
Join Docent Hal Anjo on a diverse hike by mountain streams, oak woodlands, chaparral and redwoods. You’ll discuss forests, flowers and fires on a six-mile, 3.5-hour hike. This somewhat strenuous ascent is rewarded with ocean views on a clear day. Bring water, lunch and good hiking shoes. Meet at Big Basin Redwoods State Park Headquarters. Event is free; vehicle day-use fee is $10. Events made possible by Mountain Parks Foundation and California State Parks.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Discover Big Basin Redwoods Hike
Monday, Jan. 1 at 12 pm

Explore the Big Basin’s less travelled backcountry with Docent Barry Grimm. This moderately paced hike is individually tailored to your group. Based on group size, experience level and weather conditions, the group will choose from the many trails that explore the most scenic areas. Meet at Park Headquarters. Event is free; vehicle day-use fee is $10. Events made possible by Mountain Parks Foundation and California State Parks.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Redwood Grove Loop Walk
Monday, Jan. 1 at 1 pm

How do these grand redwoods grow to be so old? So tall? How are they important to humans? Join this fun and informative guided half-mile stroll through a magnificent old-growth redwood forest. Meet the famous Mother Tree, the Father of the Forest and the incredible Chimney Tree on this 90-minute walk. Stroller and wheelchair accessible. Meet at Big Basin Redwoods State Park Headquarters. Heavy rain cancels. Event is free; vehicle day-use fee is $10. Events made possible by Mountain Parks Foundation and California State Parks.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Sequoia Trail
Monday, Jan. 1 at 9 am

Join us on a 4-mile hike to visit Sempervirens Falls, old-growth redwoods, Ohlone grinding rocks, the birthplace of Big Basin and more! Meet at Big Basin Redwoods State Park Headquarters. Event is free; vehicle day-use fee is $10. Events made possible by Mountain Parks Foundation and California State Parks.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Sandhills Hike
Monday, Jan. 1 at 9:30 am

Visit one of Santa Cruz’s hidden gems on this guided 3-mile hike through a lesser-known portion of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Discover the rare Santa Cruz Sandhills habitat as we hike through old stands of coast live oaks, twisted mazes of manzanitas, tall majestic ponderosas, and ancient redwoods. Meet at the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Hall Parking lot located at 3650 Graham Hill Road in Scotts Valley. Event is free. Rain Cancels. Please no pets. For more information, please call (831) 335-7077. Events made possible by Mountain Parks Foundation and California State Parks.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Fall Creek Hike
Monday, Jan. 1 at 9 am

Hike through a 100 years young forest to examine evidence of the logging history and discover how the Bay Area was built on this 4-hour, 4-mile hike. Join us at one of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Parks hidden treasures and explore the beauty of Fall Creek. Meet at the Fall Creek Parking Lot, approximately 0.5 mile up Felton Empire Road from the Hwy 9 Intersection in Felton. Please no pets. For more information, please call (831) 335-7077. Events made possible by Mountain Parks Foundation and California State Parks.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Observation Deck Loop Hike
Monday, Jan. 1 at 11 am

There and back again – from the redwoods, to the river, to the sandhills, come and experience the multitude of habitats that you can find at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Enjoy a panoramic view while eating lunch with the acorn woodpeckers before returning to the redwoods on this 4-mile, 3.5-hour hike. Meet at the Visitor Center, located in the day-use area located off Hwy 9 in Felton. Event is free; vehicle day-use fee is $10. For more information, please call (831) 335-7077. Events made possible by Mountain Parks Foundation and California State Parks.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Birding for Beginners
Monday, Jan. 1 at 8 am
Join us for a morning stroll to discover the wintertime birds of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Meet in the main day-use parking lot, located in the day-use area off Highway 9 in Felton. Event is free; vehicle day-use fee is $10. For more information, please call (831) 335-7077. Events made possible by Mountain Parks Foundation and California State Parks.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Redwood Loop to Cable Car Beach
Monday, Jan. 1 at 12 pm
How do redwoods grow to become the tallest organisms on earth? How important are banana slugs to the redwood ecosystems? Why are there so few old growth trees left? Answer these questions and more on this 1.5-mile, docent-led stroll. Meet at the Visitor Center, located in the day-use area located off Hwy 9 in Felton. Event is free; vehicle day-use fee is $10. For more information, please call (831) 335-7077. Events made possible by Mountain Parks Foundation and California State Parks.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Redwood Loop
Monday, Jan. 1 at 1 pm
Every tree has a story, and many have names. Discover their stories on this 1-mile, docent-led stroll through the old-growth redwood grove. Meet at the Visitor Center, located in the day-use area located off Hwy 9 in Felton. Event is free; vehicle day-use fee is $10. For more information, please call (831) 335-7077. Events made possible by Mountain Parks Foundation and California State Parks.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
“What’s in a Name?”
Monday, Jan. 1 at 2 pm
Discover Henry Cowell Redwoods State Parks’ past on this 1-mile, 1.5 hour living history stroll through the old-growth redwood grove. Meet at the Visitor Center, located in the day-use area located off Hwy 9 in Felton. Event is free; vehicle day-use fee is $10. For more information, please call (831) 335-7077. Events made possible by Mountain Parks Foundation and California State Parks.

Castle Rock State Park
First Day Hike
Monday, Jan. 1 at 11 am
Meet at Saratoga Gap Area for a 3-hour guided hike that will explore the less traveled parts of Castle Rock State Park. Retired Ranger Miles Standish will take you on a journey to explore the early pathways of the native peoples, park history, redwood ecology, and a secret trail. Event is free. The Saratoga Gap Parking Area is located at the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 35 in Los Gatos. Please bring water, snacks, hiking shoes, and layered clothing. For more information, please call (831) 291-8273. Event made possible by Portola and Castle Rock Foundation and California State Parks.

Castle Rock State Park
Change through the Years First Day Hike
Monday, Jan. 1 at 1:30 pm
Start the New Year off with a guided First Day Hike at Castle Rock State Park. Discover how Castle Rock has changed over time on this easy 1.5-mile hike highlighting geology, plate tectonics, forest ecology, sunlight competition, and Native American presence. Meet at the Castle Rock State Park main entrance off Highway 35/ Skyline Boulevard. Please bring comfortable closed toe shoes, water, and snacks. Event is free; vehicle day use fee is $8. For more information, please call (831) 291-8273. Events made possible by Portola and Castle Rock Foundation and California State Parks.

Portola Redwoods State Park
First Day Hike
Monday, Jan. 1 at 11 am
Start the New Year off amongst the redwoods with us on a six-mile hike through pristine forest and along Slate Creek. This moderate hike begins at the Portola Redwoods Visitor Center. Please bring appropriate hiking footwear, an extra layer of clothing (in case of rain or heavy fog), water, lunch, and snacks. Event is free; vehicle day-use fee is $10. Events made possible by Portola and Castle Rock Foundation and California State Parks.

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