Trails in Santa Cruz

Map from Trailforks.com

We are blessed with a multitude of options for riding here in Santa Cruz County. You can ride from the bluffs overlooking the mighty Pacific, through coastal prairies, up redwood-studded canyons to oak- and madrone-covered hilltops.

Wilder Ranch State Park – map

Wilder Ranch is home to some of Santa Cruz’s most iconic riding. On the coastal side of Highway One, trails wind along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific. On the inland side of the highway, trails climb up rolling grasslands that overlook the ocean, and dip down into verdant redwood-timbered drainages. Wilder offers miles of fire roads and singletrack options. Visit the official Wilder Ranch State Park website here.

Pogonip – map

Pogonip is a City of Santa Cruz Open Space and offers some singletrack trail access for bikes. Of the eight miles of singletrack and fire roads in Pogonip, approximately 2.5 miles are open to bikes: Rincon Connector, Rincon Road, and U-Con Trail plus the MBOSC-built Emma McCrary Trail, a beginner-friendly, 1.5-mile multi-use trail that provides vehicle-free access to UCSC from downtown Santa Cruz. Visit the parks website here.

Delaveaga Park – map

This City of Santa Cruz park offers multi-use trails that are easily accessible right from the heart of Santa Cruz and includes some great bike-friendly singletrack options. MBOSC is currently working with the city on a plan to improve and expand mountain bike access to the park. Visit the parks website here.

Soquel Demonstration State Forest – map

Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF, colloquially known as Demo), a 2,681-acre working forest established in 1990 and managed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). SDSF is a favorite destination for Bay Area and Santa Cruz County mountain bikers and contains trails for intermediate and advanced riders, with long climbs and challenging technical descents. Existing trails include Braille, Sawpit, Corral, and Ridge, and the MBOSC-constructed flow trail. Download the SDSF brochure and trail map here.

University of California Santa Cruz – map

University of California, Santa Cruz’s upper campus preserve provides fire road connectivity between Pogonip, Henry Cowell, and Wilder Ranch State Park.  Bikes are currently allowed on access roads only and prohibited on singletrack trails. MBOSC is advocating with UCSC for a trail plan that would incorporate mountain bike use.

Henry Cowell State Park – map

Bicycles are allowed on fire roads only at Henry Cowell State Park and are prohibited on singletrack trails. Routes include Pipeline Road, Rincon Fire Road, Ridge Fire Road, and Powder Mill Fire Road. Visit Henry Cowell State Parks website here.

The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park – map

There is a small network of singletrack open to bikes in the lower part of the park closest to Aptos. The singletrack in the park’s upper reaches is closed to bikes. However Aptos Creek Fire Road provides access to the trail system in Soquel Demonstration State Forest if you have the legs to pedal the 13-mile climb from town. Learn more about The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park – map

While singletrack trails within Big Basin State Park are currently closed to bikes, the park offers great dirt road riding in some of the most remote areas of Santa Cruz County. Some popular rides include the lower portion of the Skyline to Sea Trail, Gazos Creek Road, and Chalks Road.

Learn more about Big Basin Redwoods State Park.