Attractions, Preserves, State Parks & More!
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California is known for its granite, but Castle Rock is an all sandstone climbing destination. Most climbers visit Castle Rock from April to September, when there is the least likelihood of rain. The sandstone is grippier than it looks, and the wild features of this rock give it a unique pocketed appearance unlike any other formations in California.
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...
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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Named for the explorer Gaspar de Portola, whose 18th-century overland expedition passed nearby, the rich ecology of the area once supported one of the largest Ohlone tribelets, the Quiroste. Now it’s a mainstay for savvy mountain visitors who’ve already gotten their fill of other, more popular parks in the area.
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...
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.
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