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.
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.
Post-rainy day hikes are kinda the best. Creatures are out, the forest is fresh, and the streams and falls are flowing! Check out a few of our favorite falls in the Santa Cruz 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.