Hiking in Santa Cruz means a morning or afternoon spent in redwood country, and the terrain is varied as is the scenery. Trees and coastline are just part of what you will see when you hike in this area. From iconic hikes to secluded diverse landscapes, you will find a little bit of everything when you hike near Santa Cruz. Here are five of the best hikes in the area that you can reach when you reserve a camping area on private land with Tentrr.

West Cliff Drive

Although you are not hiking out in the forest or in the wilderness, West Cliff Drive takes advantage of the majestic Santa Cruz shoreline. This three-mile hike is directly on the Pacific Ocean and is a great spot if you like to take Santa Cruz hikes with dogs. There are many different spots where you can let your dog roam off their leash. You can also enjoy a number of different spots along this hike where you can stop for a selfie. With this hike, you are never too far removed from civilization, which can be a pleasant change of pace during a camping vacation. If it is a hot day and you get tired, you can always cool off with a dip in the ocean. It's always close by on this path.

berry creek falls trail

Berry Creek Falls

This is one of the best waterfall hikes near Santa Cruz. Not only do you get to spend an entire day in the Santa Cruz redwoods, but you also get to experience numerous waterfalls along your hike for a naturally appealing vista. This hike will take you the better part of the day since it is over 10 miles. There is also some elevation change on this path as well as several long climbs. Your reward is the lush greenery in the forest that will accompany you on almost your entire journey. If you do not want to attempt the entire 10 miles, there is a shorter out-and-back that you can choose to experience part of the trail. This hike is difficult, but it is well worth the effort.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

If you want to experience the redwoods at their finest, this park is the place to go based on one particular spot. There is a 40-acre grove of the tallest redwood trees, which Theodore Roosevelt has even admired. One tree in the park is approximately 1,500 years old. The park has a short trail that focuses just on this area as well as longer trails. This park also includes the more difficult Big Ben and Fall Creek Trail, which stretches to eight miles. You can hike and swim here where the trees are as tall as skyscrapers. Keep your eyes peeled and stay alert because there is diverse wildlife in this park, including bobcats and coyotes.

Loma Prieta Grade Trail

This trail is a great option if you want to enjoy the waterfalls in Santa Cruz without overly taxing yourself. The trail is roughly four miles long through an old railroad bed. It offers a relatively flat path with easier terrain. The scenery also includes a generous mix of history as you can see what remains of an old logging camp from more than a century ago. There are two waterfalls in the park, including the soaring Maple Falls.

Pacific to Redwoods Loop

Think of this trail as almost like a "greatest hits" album of the Santa Cruz area. There is a little bit of everything on this 12-mile loop. The distance alone will make this a strenuous hike without even factoring in the climbs. This trail will have you passing from beach to forest to meadows to bluffs. By the time you get into the forest, you will be able to experience the serenity of the area. Not only will you see varied terrain, but you will also get a sense of the breadth of the biodiversity in the Santa Cruz area with wildflowers along much of the loop. The ocean views alone make all of the effort of this strenuous hike well worth the time.


If you want to be at the center of it all, check out the unique option to camp on private land in the Santa Cruz area that Tentrr offers. Our private camping Artemis site is right next to a state park! You don't need to tote your camping gear, and you'll be connected with a unique location inside a state park or on private land. Make your reservations today!

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