The 25-mile long San Lorenzo River threads along the mountain towns of Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, Brookdale, and Felton. Early preservationists championed the ideas of appreciation and protection of nature following barren land left behind by the logging industry. Finally, the mountains returned to their natural state, where trickling streams and graceful waterfalls cohabitate with old and second-growth redwoods. Today, the resiliency of the valley’s natural surroundings is reflected in its hills and towns.
GETTING HERE: Arrive at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and drive approximately 70 miles/113 km south to Santa Cruz County (recommended: drive via Scenic Highway 1 – Pacific Coast Highway).
Felton Covered Bridge
Considered to be the tallest covered bridge in the United States, this landmark – on the National Register of Historic Places – was the main entry point for Felton for 45 years.
Boulder Creek: Small Town America
Local wineries, antique stores, galleries, and a golf course surrounded by majestic redwood trees all add to the charm of this all-American town. Visit the San Lorenzo Valley Historical Museum and pick up a free map for a self-guided walking tour of the area!
Roaring Camp Railroads: Felton
Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton hosts visitors on nostalgic rides through the redwoods aboard vintage steam locomotives. Roaring Camp also hosts year-round celebrations like the Summer Gathering of Mountain Men, where visitors can interact with the characters of the 1800s.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park: Felton
Felton With approximately 20 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, Henry Cowell is home to a centuries old walkable Redwood Grove trail, and 1,800-year old trees. Look for the tallest tree in the park – about 285 feet tall, and about 16 feet wide.
San Lorenzo Valley Museum: Boulder Creek
This charming museum offers historical displays on the valley’s logging, railroads and daily life.
Boulder Creek Golf Course
This challenging 18-hole par 65 Executive Golf course is cloaked in a forested paradise within the Santa Cruz Mountains, surrounded by redwood trees and lakes.
Scenic Highway 9
Connecting Highway 1 in Santa Cruz with Highway 17 in Los Gatos, the 35-mile-long Highway 9 winds through the mountain communities of Felton, Ben Lomond, Brookdale, and Boulder Creek in the San Lorenzo Valley. Running parallel to the San Lorenzo River, Highway 9 takes motorists through forested scenery under a canopy of trees in some stretches, accented by windy curves and turnouts popular with sightseers.
Cafe’s and Rustic Eateries
The San Lorenzo Valley is dotted with cozy bistros and homey cafes: perfect spots to pull over and take a breather from your drive through the redwoods forests of Highway 9.
The rich history and independent spirit of the San Lorenzo Valley is also reflected in signature celebrations. Click here to see year around events in San Lorenzo Valley and beyond.