Walking & Bike Trails | Visit Santa Cruz Coutny

Walking & Bike Trails

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Follow paths to incredible vistas along coastal edges and high mountain trails that overlook the Monterey Bay and Pacific ocean. Take a peek into the area's people and history on routes that travel to Santa Cruz's 300 historic homes from the 1850s through 1930 and its 247 structures of architectural significance that date from 1930 through 1950. Here are just a few of the paths found here that offer interesting and scenic sights.

A walk on the beach is always fun and there are numerous posted access points along coastal roads. Bike racks are located at several of the trail heads. For a long walk, begin at New Brighton State Beach and head toward Watsonville for about 13 miles. Be aware of tide conditions as some points become very narrow during high tide.

Santa Cruz Mission Hill is an important first settlement site dating from 1791. On this path you visit a Mission-period structure, replicated Mission Church, and Holy Cross Church.

Walnut Ave. displays several residences with architectural styles that span the Victorian 1870s through Art Deco of the 1930s.

Ocean View Ave. has several historic homes that were the summer residences of affluent San Jose and San Joaquin Valley families.

Beach Hill's 2nd and 3rd St's. have various seaside architectural styles. Look for a seacaptain's beach cottage bungalows and historic estate residences.

West Cliff Dr. has two- and a-half-miles of paved path offering spectacular views of the Monterey Bay and marine life.

UCSC Campus sits high on the hillside overlooking the Monterey Bay region. The on-campus trail system travels through forests, and across open fi elds and natural habitats.

Santa Cruz Wharf has a northern view of the city's Main Beach and Boardwalk, and a southern view of the Steamers Lane surfi ng area.

East Cliff Esplanade has a wide pathway from 17th Ave., past Corcoran Lagoon and Moran Lake, to 41st Ave.

Capitola Village has a map to 12 historic sites. Other routes include the Opal Cliff Dr. paved two mile ocean-side path between Esplanade Park and Pleasure Point Park, and the ocean side path along the cliffs that is accessed at the end of Central Ave. Capitola's Wharf is a great place to wind up a stroll through the village.

Watsonville Wetlands in Ramsay Park. The 800 acre habitat has a four-mile trail offering 23 trail heads along its route.

Weekly Walks

1st Fri. from 5-8 p.m. SOWAT Art Walk in downtown Santa Cruz, maps at Pacific Ave. Visitors Center.
831-459-9486, www.scica.org

1st Sat. (July-Sept.) 11 a.m. UCSC Arboretum Guided Garden Tours 1156 High. St., Santa Cruz.
831-427-2998, arboretum.ucsc.edu

1st Sat. 8:30 a.m. (rain or shine) Elkhorn Slough Bird Walk 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville.
831-728-2822, www.elkhornslough.org

Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. Elkhorn Slough Nature Walk 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville
831-728-2822, www.elkhornslough.org

Sunday, 1:30 p.m. Watsonville Wetlands wildlife walk Wetlands Nature Center, Ramsay Park

Walking Tour Map resources

Santa Cruz City

Capitola History Museum

Wetlands of Watsonville Center

State Parks and Beaches Guided Walk Trail Maps

UCSC Campus Natural Reserve Bike and trail maps

Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz Maps, trail rules and events

Santa Cruz County Bikeways
831-460-3200, www.sccrtc.org/bikemap.html

Lend a helping hand

Join local volunteer trail workers in helping to keep trails open. For current schedule and work sites, visit: www.trailworkers.com