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Big Basin Redwoods State Park

In 1902, the early environmental movement saw one of its crowning moments come to glorious fruition with the formation of the California Redwood Park. The park, later renamed Big Basin Redwoods State Park, would prove to be the first unit in what would eventually evolve into the modern California State Parks system.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Though it’s not the biggest park in the county, there are hiking, biking, and equestrian options beyond what’s described here. It’s strongly recommended that adventurers go by the Visitor Center and talk to the docents about hike ideas, trail closures, wildlife sightings, and whatever other...

Guide To Goat Rock

Billed as the gateway of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Castle Rock State Park earns that title in spectacular fashion. A great staging ground for a number of adventures, from bouldering to rock climbing, day hiking to backpacking, and even birding. The crown jewel, Goat Rock, is a limestone formation that is typical of the park’s geology...

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Quail Hollow: Santa Cruz Mountains Shangri-La

06 | 12 | 2019

Located between Ben Lomond and Zayante, Quail Hollow Ranch County Park sits in a small, amphitheater-shaped valley ringed by sandy, teardrop-shaped ridges. At roughly 300 acres, it is home to a startlingly diverse array of plant communities, including revitalized grasslands, rare Santa Cruz Sandhills...

Land of Medicine Buddha and the Eight Verses Trail

06 | 02 | 2019

The Eight Verses Trail is a short meditative loop designed to help hikers calm their minds and contemplate Buddhist teachings. Walking under the canopy of redwoods, you’ll find the Eight Verses written in beautiful script on signs posted every 15 or 20 minutes along the trail.

The Santa Cruz Sandhills: Windows into the Miocene

05 | 23 | 2019

In between Bonny Doon and Scotts Valley, small windows into the Miocene Epoch pock the Santa Cruz Mountains. At first glance, they might be easy to dismiss -- barren stretches of sand occupied by hardy, arid chaparral scrub or pine. Yet look a little closer, perhaps as you hike...

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