The San Lorenzo River begins in the Santa Cruz Mountains, winding its way through Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, Brookdale and Felton before spilling into the Monterey Bay. Once home to a bustling logging industry, the mountains returned to their natural state, where old and second-growth redwood trees have sprung back to life.
The Felton Covered Bridge, considered to be the tallest covered bridge in the United States, was the main entry point for Felton for 45 years and spans 80 feet over the San Lorenzo River.
Roaring Camp Railroads hosts nostalgic rides through the redwoods aboard vintage steam locomotives. Roaring Camp also hosts year-round, family-friendly festivities like a Starlight Evening, a visit from Thomas the Tank Engine, a Civil War re-enactment over Memorial Day Weekend, and a Fourth of July Celebration.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California’s oldest – established in 1902 – and is home to the largest continuous stand of ancient Coast Redwoods south of San Francisco.
Visiting skate boarders can grind at the 8,500 square-foot Jim Keefe Skate Park at Highlands County Park in Ben Lomond.
The Redwood Loop Trail at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. This stroller and wheelchair-friendly trail is just shy of a mile long, and is lush with old growth redwood trees. Nearby are horse and dog-friendly trails.
San Lorenzo Valley Top Five
- Hit a round at the Boulder Creek Golf & Country Club, surrounded by majestic redwood trees.
- Borrow a flashlight from the visitor center at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and crawl inside the John C. Fremont tree, hollowed out by fire and once used as a resort honeymoon room.
- Visit the secluded lake at the Loch Lomond Recreation Area, where vistas and trails abound.
- Look for the remains of old logging operations, lime quarries and kilns of bygone days at Fall Creek in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
- Find the sea fossils embedded in the side of the mountain as you ride the steam train at Roaring Camp up Bear Mountain, evidence that millions of years ago this region was under the sea.