Many state parks in Santa Cruz County feature unbroken trails which begin in redwood-covered mountains and end on the rugged, windswept beaches of the Pacific Coast. The vast preserves of open spaces in Santa Cruz County are a tribute to conservation efforts that began over a century ago. Today, Santa Cruz County has an extraordinary
As summer comes to an end, most of us look forward to stunning displays of fall foliage, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and drinking our fill of pumpkin spice lattes. But there’s another reason to get excited for shorter, crisper days and less persistent fog banks. Fall is migration season along California’s Central Coast, and one of the top places for birds to get some much-needed R&R before they continue their long flight south is right here in Santa Cruz County.
Santa Cruz County delivers added value once summer ends, when mild temperatures, fewer crowds, and lower hotel rates help make travel more affordable. This season, there are plenty of free activities and events that won’t cost a penny. Below are a few of our favorite tips! For more info, check out our Top 12 Free Things to Do in Santa Cruz County for Fall and Winter.
Perched atop one of the highest ridges in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Castle Rock State Park offers expansive views of the San Lorenzo Valley. Miles of forested peaks stretch out below, fading from chartreuse and emerald green to sage, the furthest peaks a hazy blue that meet the fog-shrouded Pacific. Although not as famous as its neighbor, Big Basin State Park, Castle Rock has its own grove of redwoods, a 75-foot waterfall, miles of hiking along open ridges and through shady forests, and a playground of sandstone rock formations attracting both world-class climbers and amateur scramblers.
Have you been to Elkhorn Slough? This peaceful reserve is full of beauty and wildlife, plus you can choose how to explore, via waterways or on-foot on the 5 miles of trails. Check out these inspiring photos taken at this natural wonder and plan your own visit to Elkhorn Slough!