Santa Cruz Mountains

Finding Frank Norris in the Santa Cruz Mountains

A memorial to a pioneer of American literature sits unseen 10 miles west of Gilroy.

A gargantuan spiderweb hangs across the steep dirt road. It shimmers, translucent in the sunlight, slack lines nearly imperceptible. As I duck the web and trudge further up the road's corkscrew turn, the thick brush, thistle, weeds and poison oak part, revealing an ancient looking stone bench on the shoulder above the road.

No Left Turn Unstoned in La Honda

Ken Kesey's infamous house today.

The rolling grasslands of La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve are like a sublime hallucination this time of year; their contours, a sensuous geometry. A breeze sweeps through the clearing and the lush green shivers with life. The velvety slopes make me want to strip off my clothes and perform wild, flailing somersaults down the hill.

How To Capture A Mountain Lion

Cajun, a Plott hound, and his two English coonhound counterparts, Sage and Randy, wait for their chance to track a mountain lion.  Brendan Bane photo.

Biology and age-old instinct make hounds the perfect tool to help researchers capture elusive mountain lions. But the practice has come under pressure since the 2012 ban on hunting with dogs.

The Tallest Redwoods in The Great Park

Ten of the 14 biggest trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains are found in Big Basin. Photo: Allie Caulfield

The loftiest trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains are more than 300 feet tall—and you'll find them all inside the Great Park.

The Horrors of the Summit Tunnel

The history of Wrights Tunnel in the Santa Cruz Mountains—once the second longest railroad tunnel in California—is a tale of death, greed and bigotry.

Hike The Great Park: Whitehouse Ridge

View of Point Ano Nuevo from Whitehouse Ridge Trail. Photo by Allison Titus.

This short and sweet—but very steep—trail in Año Nuevo State Park climbs 800 feet in just over a mile.

Hike The Great Park: Ocean View Summit

The view from Ocean View Summit is very similar to this one from McCrary Ridge: forested ridges leading to the sparkling Pacific. Photo by Miguel Vieira on Wikimedia Commons.

This Big Basin hike offers a stunning summit-to-sea perspective on the Great Park, a 200-square-mile swath of Santa Cruz Mountain redwood forest.

The Geologist And The Case of The Scotts Valley Ruins

Prof. emeritus Robert Garrison and historian Frank Perry next to the largest remaining "Ruins" chimney. Photo courtesy Hilde Schwartz.

Mysterious rock formations in the Santa Cruz Mountains inspired early tales of lost treasure and gold. UCSC geologist Hilde Schwartz investigated and found evidence of natural wonders at work.

Another Big Step Toward Wildlife Crossing

The big guy approves. Photo by Bas Lammers.

The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County has optioned 280 acres on the west side of Highway 17 as part of its plans for a wildlife crossing at Laurel Curve.

Puma Crossing Clears Key Hurdle

In a key step toward building a passage for mountain lions and other wildlife beneath Highway 17, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County has finalized the purchase of 10 acres on the east side of the highway near Laurel Curve.

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