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.
By Molly Ressler
It happens every spring, but the transformation of a green hillside to a bright carpet of orange, purple, or golden blooms never gets old. The fields bordering Highway 1 north of Santa Cruz turn bright yellow with sour grass and mustard. Cheery orange California poppies pop up along the San Lorenzo River and striking spires of lupine create varying brush strokes of amethyst, violet, and fuchsia along the coast and in the mountains.
Henry Cowell is one of my favorite parks in Santa Cruz County. You get the quintessential redwood experience but you also get sunny sandhill ridges, grasslands (often roamed by deer), the peaceful San Lorenzo River, and the not-so distant sounds of steam train whistles echoing through the forest. It’s quite a magical place and anyone who’s been there knows just what I’m talking about.
By Molly Ressler
You haven’t fully experienced Santa Cruz County until you’ve hiked through a redwood forest still dripping from a hard rain. The canyons are filled with the sound of rushing water. Wrens flit between the lichen-draped brush of the understory, and the silvery warble of a Swainson’s thrush filters down from the latticework of branches spiraling hundreds of feet above your head. As a hiker, however, the most fascinating part of a rain-soaked coastal redwood forest is right beneath your feet. When the ground is well saturated, you don’t have to look hard to spot Santa Cruz’s favorite slimy gastropod, the banana slug. In fact, after a particularly hard rain, you may have to watch your step.
For the second summer in a row, California State Parks is offering Naturalist-Led Backpacking Adventures through the Santa Cruz Mountains! Whether you’re new to backpacking or a seasoned nomad, there’s an adventure waiting for you! This year there will be five excursions throughout June to September with trips varying in length from one to three nights. These adventures will trek through Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Castle Rock State Park, Butano State Park, and Portola Redwoods State Park.