easy hikes

Five Fall Santa Cruz Mountain Hikes

The Fall Creek Trail runs right next to the creek covered in lush greenery. © California State Parks.

Enjoy the changing colors of the leaves and the serenity of hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Oh, and a chai recipe to warm you up!

Sequoia Audubon Trail

The wetlands that lie just inland from Pescadero State Beach are pretty easy on the eyes. Be careful, though—the stuff in the foreground is poison oak, and there's lots of it. Hilltromper photo.

Wander through marshes on this one-of-a-kind walk at Pescadero State Beach where nature is king.

River Trail at Henry Cowell

The San Lorenzo River viewed from the River Trail just before the train trestle. Hilltromper photo.

An easy to moderate two-mile trail along the San Lorenzo River in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

Top 5 Rainy Season Hikes

A banana slug inches down a tree trunk in Nisene Marks State Park. Hilltromper photo.

The best places in Santa Cruz County to go hiking in wet weather.

Five Fingers Loop

The striking markings of the bufflehead are a common sight on Five Fingers Loop. Photo by Bill Bouton via Wikimedia.

1.5 miles; 1 hour; easy
An easy foray into a corner of the park favored by avian life.

Spring Trail to Spring Box Trail

The entrance to Spring Trail is festooned with gorgeous coast live oaks. Photo credit: Gwyn Fisher.

An old-growth redwood and a koi pond in Pogonip.

Redwood Grove Loop Trail

The Redwood Grove Loop makes for flat—and awe-inspiring—walking. Photo by Larry McElhiney/Creative Commons.

.8 miles; 30 min; easy

Redwood Trail

The Father of the Forest, a 2,000-year-old redwood tree, is just one of the stupendous sights on Big Basin Park's Redwood Trail. Hilltromper photo.

A short, easy trail in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

South Marsh Loop Trail

An old barn (two, actually) greet you near the start and end of the South Marsh Loop. Hilltromper photo.

Peek in on nature’s tidal rhythms along this gentle semi-loop following the estuary’s forested edge. You can also explore a small island reclaimed years ago from the marsh, now a haven for hummingbirds.

Año Nuevo Point Trail

Año Nuevo Point Trail
3 miles in-and-out; 1 hour plus viewing time.; easy; access limited Dec. 1–Mar. 31