Panther Beach (cont'd)

Rock climbers can’t resist the sandstone cliffs here and the arch itself, where Santa Cruz-born climbing deity Chris Sharma used to practice bouldering back when he was still mortal. He’s also rumored to have set some tough routes up the cliffs.

The very trippy, melty sandstone formations at Panther Beach make it a natural destination for psychedelic activity, which probably accounts for its popularity as an after-dark party spot. Well, that plus the fact that rangers and cops can’t see the beach from the highway.

Panther Beach is officially part of the Coast Dairies State Park, a 400-acre swath of protected land that includes seven beaches along Hwy 1 north of Santa Cruz.

Oh Yeah, And About That Name
According to Gary Griggs,director of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Long Marine Laboratory at UC Santa Cruz, Panther Beach was known historically as Yellow Bank Beach because of the yellowish color of the sandstone that's mixed in with the Santa Cruz mudstone (which makes up most of the sea cliffs between Natural Bridges and Waddell Creek). But as Griggs writes in a Santa Cruz Sentinel article about Panther Beach, "Since the 1960s, however, some people with enhanced visual acuity have recognized the outline of a large cat-like creature in the cliff face as you descend to the beach and refer to the area as Panther Beach."

If you've spotted the panther in the cliffs, let us know about it!

Back to Panther Beach.

Field Notes

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The beach and the picturesque mountain gave me a sweet memory of my childhood when me and my friends tried to cross the mountain across the beach shore. The had written a story on this quite ten years back which got very good response online.


This beach is so good, I think. Love the cliffs! Lovely yellowish color of the sandstone too! This site can explain you how to write better articles, more good, as you can now!


The beach is a marvelous place to have a rest at. Sea is fascoinating and so powerful. Once I submitted my academic project which I got from My paper was so greta P:)