By Rachel Endsley
The hustle, bustle, and continual hum of the workweek has everyone craving a weekend reprieve. A time where you can unplug, let go of the usual daily to-dos, relax your mind, and get a change of scenery. Hit your reset button and let the self-care begin with these perfectly peaceful and rejuvenating locales in Santa Cruz County.
By Traci Hukill
The Santa Cruz Mountains are a hiker’s paradise. Hundreds of miles of trail crisscross this section of the Coast Range, which extends from southern Santa Cruz County all the way to San Francisco. Over the past 150 years, the splendid redwood forests blanketing these mountains have lured loggers and inspired environmentalists, who left their legacies along with fascinating stories that you can discover if you know where to go.
Kick-start the new year with an energizing First Day Hike through ancient towering redwoods, sandy coastal stretches, and along soothing mountain streams. On January 1st, state parks across the country are offering free-guided hikes for the sixth year in a row. Get outside, connect with nature, and expand your knowledge of the wildlife, plant life, and people who were here long before us. In order of easiest to most strenuous, we’ve narrowed the list down to a few of our favorites. Whichever one you choose, you’ll start the new year feeling healthy, recharged, and inspired to explore more state parks in Santa Cruz and beyond.
By Garrick Ramirez
For your next outdoor adventure, consider Scotts Valley. Once famed for its roadside attractions—remember kitschy-cute Santa’s Village?—the diminutive community hides oversized scenery and lesser-known trails. Tucked in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the city’s numerous wilderness areas brim with quiet redwood groves and evergreen forests. Plus, a new nature preserve recently made acres of wildflower-filled grasslands available to the public. Here are three Scotts Valley nature spots whose family and pet-friendly trails offer up exceptional scenery and serenity.
By Garrick Ramirez
The newly opened trails at Glenwood Open Space Preserve offer the latest reason to get outside in Santa Cruz County. Situated in Scotts Valley, the preserve recently unveiled five miles of trails, marking the culmination of an 18-year effort. Managed by the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, the 166-acre property brims with diverse habitats such as redwood groves, lush wetlands, and evergreen forests. Plus, there are more trails on the way! Here’s everything you need to know about visiting this scenic new preserve.