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Hike, Bike and Ride the Santa Cruz Mountains

Explore Redwood Forests, Rolling Grasslands, and Rocky Ridgelines

Crisscrossing the Santa Cruz Mountains are miles of trails offering opportunities for hikers, bikers and horseback riders to experience the coast redwoods up close in some of the best Bay Area parks. Many of these trails were created thanks to Sempervirens Fund supporters, like the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, to help you explore deeper into the redwood forests and diverse terrain of the Santa Cruz Mountains. You can travel through serene woods, across picturesque grasslands and along rocky ridgelines connecting public parks and other protected lands in the region.

Whether you enjoy leisurely strolls through the forest, riding down steep hillsides or backpacking through remote areas, come explore the Santa Cruz Mountains for some of the best Bay Area trails!

NOTE: Due to both COVID-19 restrictions and the recovery efforts from the 2020 wildfires, many parks may be closed or access may be limited. Whenever possible, consider how you can recreate responsibly and always check park websites for the latest information on available amenities, access, or closures.

Most of Big Basin and Butano State Parks and Skyline-to-Sea Trail are closed. You can donate to Big Basin's Future Fund and help California State Parks with Reimagining Big Basin and keep connected with progress to re-open these parks and trails.

Plan Your Activity

Featured Santa Cruz Mountains Trails

Mounatin Biking Santa Cruz Mountains by Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious
Mounatin Biking Santa Cruz Mountains by Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious
Climbing Castle Rock by Shelley Ratay
Climbing Castle Rock by Shelley Ratay


  • National Geographic’s map of the Santa Cruz Mountains has trails, campgrounds, detailed topography, park access points, roads, hundreds of points of interest and much more. To survive years of adventuring, it’s waterproof, tear-proof and useful.
  • Sempervirens Fund trail Map 1 includes the entire network of trails connecting Castle Rock, Big Basin Redwoods, and Portola Redwoods State Parks.
  • Sempervirens Fund trail Map 2 includes Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Butano Redwoods State Park, Año Nuevo State Reserve, and all internal and connecting trails.

Call us at (650) 949-1453 to order a map today!


  • Best Short Hikes in Redwood National and State Parks including Humboldt State Park by Jerry and Gisela Rohde. Mountaineers Books, 2004. Hikes throughout northern California are detailed in this guide book.
  • The Santa Cruz Mountain Trail Book by Tom Taber. Publisher’s Group West, 2002. This guide, a long-time favorite, includes information about local history, geology, and camping as well as biking and equine trail access.
  • Peninsula Trails by Jean Rusmore, Betsy Crowder, and Frances Spangle. Wilderness Press, 2000. This trail guide covers walks in parks and trails along the Bay, in the foothills and mountains, the forests of southwest San Mateo County, the parks and beaches along its coast, and routes leading to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
  • Southbay Trails by Jean Rusmore, Betsy Crowder, and Frances Spangle. Wilderness Press, 2001. Many Santa Cruz Mountains redwood hikes are included in this trail guide that ranges from the Diablo Range to the Pacific Ocean. Hikes are clearly described with simple maps and black and white photographs.
  • Bay Area Ridge Trail By Elizabeth Byers & Jean Rusmore. Wilderness Press, 2019. The fully updated official guide to the 375-mile route that spans nine counties and provides easy access to hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding across oak-studded grasslands and through tranquil forests.


It takes many people to help protect, restore, and connect the Santa Cruz Mountains for us, wildlife and future generations to enjoy. From trail work to office work, we’d love to have your help! Check out our Volunteer page.

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