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Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

From old-growth redwoods to sandhills and grasslands

Amongst Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park’s 4,650 acres of grasslands, San Lorenzo River habitat, rare sandhills, and forests near Felton in the Santa Cruz Mountains is a 40-acre grove of old-growth redwood trees that inspired the redwood preservation movement and the founding of Sempervirens Fund in 1900 to do just that. The Park’s diverse habitats support many plants and wildlife including banana slugs, black-tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, endangered steelhead trout, and the endangered Zayante band-winged grasshopper and Mt. Hermon June beetle which don’t live anywhere else in the world. Sempervirens Fund continues to preserve land to expand Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park for people and wildlife to enjoy for generations to come.

The Redwood Grove Loop Trail

See the grove that launched a movement! This shady, accessible 0.8 mile loop hike offers a unique Santa Cruz Mountain experience. A visit to this ancient redwood grove, by photographer Andrew P. Hill, more than a century ago reportedly helped launch the Sempervirens Club (now, yours truly) and the redwood preservation movement. Amid the hush of old-growth redwood trees, the sounds of trains can occasionally be heard from the nearby Roaring Camp Railroad. To enjoy this delightful mix of history, park in the lot on North Big Trees Park Road. To get the most out of your adventure, you can head to the Visitors Center to pick up a trail map filled with facts that correspond to numbered markers along the trail. The Redwood Grove Loop Trail begins right next to the Visitors Center. Keep an eye out for bright yellow banana slugs which can often spotted here if it’s not too hot and dry. At the halfway point of the loop, you can find the historic Fremont Tree, named for Lt. John C. Fremont who is said to have camped in the tree’s large hollowed out base when exploring the area in 1846. You can step inside and marvel at the living, resilient redwood tree. Look for a gate near the south end of the loop trail, to take a short detour to the San Lorenzo River. Follow the gated dirt road a few yards to the river for a lovely view with lots of vegetation and a railroad bridge crossing over the water. Once back on the Redwood Grove Loop, the trail will lead you among the towering trees back to the parking lot.

Henry Cowell Redwood Grove Loop Trail Ken Lund
Henry Cowell Redwood Hollow Chris Goldberg

Alternate Hikes

If you can endure a moderate grade, the Observation Deck Hike yields a spectacular reward. This hike is 4 miles long with a 550 ft. elevation gain. The trail leads through Santa Cruz Sandhills habitat and to the Observation Deck, the highest point in the park.

Lime Kilns Trail, a popular 5-mile loop through the lush redwood forest and along Fall Creek. The loop brings visitors close to what’s left of the lime kilns. This hike is in the park’s Fall Creek Unit, located a few miles north of the main park.

Plan Your Hike

Address: Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, 101 Big Trees Park Road, Felton, CA 95018

Hours: Park: Sunrise to Sunset, Visitor Center: 10am-4pm, Mountain Parks Foundation Nature Store: 10am-6pm

Directions: click here for Google maps directions

Park Activities

  • Bike Trails
  • Hiking Trails
  • Horseback Riding
  • Picknicking
  • Camping
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Nature & Wildlife Viewing
  • Geocaching

Park Amenities

  • Restrooms
  • Drinking Water Available
  • Picnic Areas
  • Nature Store

Volunteer

Throughout the year, Sempervirens Fund holds a variety of volunteer events, including invasive species removal, trail clean ups, and more! Check out our Volunteer Page for more information.

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