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Travel BLOG
December 26, 2014

Kick Off 2015 in Your Hiking Boots!

Do your New Year’s resolutions include moving more in 2015? Being healthier? Spending more quality time with Mother Nature (and the family) and less in front of a screen or fiddling with your smart device(s)? If this sounds familiar – get going and kick off the new year with a First Day Hike. Redwood in Big Basin On January 1st, 2015, state parks across Santa Cruz County – and the entire U.S. – invite you to start the new year with a hike. The annual First Day Hikes initiative, happening in all 50 states, is an ideal opportunity to join like-minded folks on the trails to connect with the outdoors, spend some well-deserved time with family and friends, and exercise while admiring what nature has to offer in your neck of the woods. And you don’t even have to wake up at the crack of dawn (or stay awake after your New Year’s party) – most of the First Day Hikes from coastal bluffs to the mountains start at a later hour allowing you to sleep in and leaving enough time to grab an invigorating breakfast before taking off.   FROM THE SEASHORE… Wilder Ranch_Bluffs Wilder Ranch Coast Nature Walk Step into 2015 at the seashore on this guided hike along the Old Cove Landing Trail to explore the plants, animals, and geology of the scenic coastal bluffs. When: 11:00am-1:00pm Distance: 2.5 miles Time: 2 hours Level: Easy Suitable for: All ages Bring: Good walking shoes, snacks, water, binoculars. Meet at: Wilder Ranch State Park Interpretive Center Location: 1401 Coast Road, off Hwy 1, Santa Cruz Additional info: Rain cancels. Call 831.426.0505 for more information. Changes and Challenges: The Future of Our Parks With Año Nuevo meaning “new year”, this really is an aptly-named park for a First Day Hike. Join interpretive specialist Joseph Carr Ritchie for this exploration of the changes and challenges waiting for us over the years to come, and some of the best views on the Coastside. When: 10:00am Distance: 0.6 miles Time: approx. 90 minutes Level: Easy to moderate Suitable for: Ages 10 and up. Bring: Good walking shoes. Dress for changing weather & walking surfaces, such as shifting sand and slick boardwalks Meet at: Año Nuevo State Park, Franklin Point Trailhead Location: North of Davenport, off Hwy 1 (south of Gazos Creek Rd, north of Rossi Rd) Additional info: Rain or shine. Call 650.879.2025 for more information.   …TO GIANT TREES! Henry Cowell Trail New Year’s Day Cathedral Redwoods Hike at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Venture to Cathedral Redwoods, a breath-taking and often unvisited location in this beautiful park. Taking Rincon Fire Road, follow along the river and make a climb through some of the park’s “back-country” on multiple scenic trails. When: 12:00pm Distance: 4 miles Time: n/a Level: Moderate Suitable for: Adults and youth who are diligent hikers Bring: Walking shoes, water, sun protection and snacks. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Meet: in front of the Visitor center at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Location: 101 N. Big Trees Park Road, Felton Additional info: Please leave pets at home. Heavy rain cancels. Henry Cowell Mushrooms New Year’s Day Fall Creek Hike at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Hike along the Fall Creek Trail, explore the riparian ecosystem of this beautiful park, and visit the lime kilns, some of the remnants of a once successful lime processing industry. When: 2:00pm Distance: 3 to 4 miles Time: n/a Level: Moderate Suitable for: Adults and youth who are diligent hikers. Bring: Walking shoes, water, sun protection and snacks. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Meet at: Fall Creek Parking Lot, located off Felton Empire Road, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Location: 1400 Felton Empire Rd, Felton (about 0.5 miles after turn from Hwy 9; parking area may not be visible in Google Maps) Additional info: Please leave pets at home. Heavy rain cancels. Trail not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs. First Day Shadowbrook Stroll at Big Basin Redwoods State Park Join Docent Hal Anjo as he guides you on a less-traveled trail that takes you by Union Creek, to the Sempervirens Falls and back through the redwoods. When: 10:30am Distance: 4 miles Time: 3.5 hours Level: Moderate Suitable for: Adults and youth who are diligent hikers. Bring: Water and good hiking shoes. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Meet at: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Park Headquarters Location: 21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek Additional info: Heavy rain cancels. Call 831.338.8883 for more information. Discover Big Basin’s Redwoods on a First Day Hike Explore some of the park’s less traveled back-country with docent naturalist Barry Grimm. This hike will be individually tailored to your group, so distance can vary from 2 to 8 miles. The pace is always moderate, with occasional short stops to discover the park’s unique animals, plants and other natural features. Based on group size, experience level and weather conditions, your guide will choose from the many trails that explore the park’s most scenic areas. When: 12:00pm Distance: Can vary from 2 to 8 miles Time: n/a Level: Moderate Suitable for: Depends on group experience. Bring: Sturdy walking shoes, water and trail snacks. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Meet at: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Park Headquarters Location: 21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek Additional info: Heavy rain cancels. Call 831.338.8883 for more information. New Year’s Day Redwood Loop Walk at Big Basin Redwoods State Park Spend your new year’s day among the famous Mother Tree, the Father of the Forest and the incredible Chimney Tree on a fun and informative stroll through a magnificent old-growth redwood forest. When: 1:00pm Distance: 0.5 miles Time: 90 minutes Level: Easy Suitable for: All ages, trail is stroller and wheelchair accessible. Bring: Walking shoes. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Meet at: Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Park Headquarters Location: 21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek Additional info: Rain cancels. Please leave pets at home. Call 831.338.8883 for more information. Plan Your First Day Hike with Coffee Talk and Crafts at Big Basin Redwoods State Park Come to the Sempervirens Room for free coffee or hot chocolate! A Big Basin Docent will be happy to answer your questions about the park and help get you going on the right trail. And there’s a fun craft activity for the kids! When: drop in from 9:30am-12:30pm Bring: Walking shoes, water and snacks. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Meet at: Sempervirens Room, next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park Park Headquarters Location: 21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek Additional info: Call 831.338.8883 for more information. The Rockstars of Castle Rock State Park First Day Hike Come see the towering, cavernous rock formations called “tafoni.” Marvel in their beauty and savor their delicate splendor. You will learn how these radical rockstars were born, and what you can do to keep them rocking out for generations to come. When: 1:00-2:30pm Distance: 0.9 miles Time: 90 minutes Level: Moderate Suitable for: Adults and youth who are diligent hikers. Bring: Good walking/hiking shoes, water and snacks. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Meet at: Castle Rock State Park, Day use parking lot off of Highway 35 (south of the intersection of Hwy 35 and Hwy 9) Location: Skyline Blvd., Los Gatos Additional info: Please contact Audrey Stapleton with any questions.

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