The San Lorenzo River begins in the Santa Cruz Mountains, winding its way through Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, Brookdale, and Felton before spilling into the Monterey Bay. Once home to a bustling logging industry, the mountains returned to their natural state, where old and second-growth redwood trees have sprung back to life.
The Felton Covered Bridge, considered to be the tallest covered bridge in the United States, was the main entry point for Felton for 45 years and spans 80 feet over the San Lorenzo River.
Roaring Camp Railroads hosts nostalgic rides through the redwoods aboard vintage steam locomotives. Roaring Camp also hosts year-round, family-friendly festivities like a Starlight Evening, a visit from Thomas the Tank Engine, a Civil War re-enactment over Memorial Day Weekend, and a Fourth of July Celebration.
Visiting skateboarders can grind at the 8,500 square-foot Jim Keefe Skate Park at Highlands County Park in Ben Lomond.
The Redwood Loop Trail at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. This stroller and the wheelchair-friendly trail is just shy of a mile long and is lush with old-growth redwood trees. Nearby are horse and dog-friendly trails.
The tidy ranch house at Quail Hollow Ranch County Park is home to the original Sunset Magazine test kitchen, and the surrounding hills and meadows host a whopping 15 different plant communities, including some extremely rare flowers.
SAN LORENZO VALLEY TOP FIVE
- Bring a flashlight to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and crawl inside the John C. Fremont tree, hollowed out by fire, and once used as a resort honeymoon room.
- Visit the secluded lake at the Loch Lomond Recreation Area, where vistas and trails abound.
- Take the 5-mile round-trip hike through redwood forest and sandhills to the Observation Deck at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park for a breathtaking view of the surrounding Santa Cruz Mountains and the sparkling Monterey Bay. For intermediate hikers.
- Find the sea fossils embedded in the side of the mountain as you ride the steam train at Roaring Camp up Bear Mountain, evidence that millions of years ago this region was under the sea.
- Enjoy a picnic at bucolic Quail Hollow Ranch and browse the displays, period furnishings and restored magazine test kitchen in the charming ranch house-turned-visitor center.
Updated September 2020