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Santa Cruz Mountains

Fall and Winter Hikes 2021

As thermometers and leaves drop, crisp air and leaves beckon us outside to appreciate a different side of the Santa Cruz mountains’ wild beauty - colorful leaves, sparkling creeks, migrating birds, curious mushrooms, and of course banana slugs and elephant seals. Time in the woods is not only a treat for your eyes, the refreshing air has health boosting phytoncides that can improve our physical and mental wellbeing and help us feel connected with nature and each other.

If recent park closures have left you looking for new trails and places to enjoy the change of seasons this fall and winter, you’re in luck! Our staff are revealing their favorite places to go in the Santa Cruz mountains now. Happy trails to you and please recreate responsibly!

North

Windy Hill Preserve

Trails: Lost Trail, Hamms Gulch, Eagle Trail, Razorback Ridge, Lost Trail
Why We Love It: This loop, with both open air and forested sections, is great for birdwatching and Eagle Trail is especially nice after rains where it follows Corte de Madera Creek.
Difficulty: Moderate/Difficult
Staff Note: All trails but Eagle Creek are also open to equestrians seasonally.
More Info: Visit the Windy Hill Preserve page and scroll down to download a trail map or a trail app.

photo by Don Owens

West

East

South

More to Explore

Still looking for the right nature getaway for you? Here are some more experiences that highlight the unique beauty and resilience of the Santa Cruz mountains - where the redwoods meet the sea.

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