Trails & Hikes

Discover the beauty of Santa Cruz County by exploring County Parks! From ocean bluff strolls, to redwood forests, these featured hikes are ideal for safe and fun outings with friends and family. Happy trails!

Featured Hikes at County Parks

Anna Jean Cummings County Park: Athletic Fields Loop

This 0.5 mile trail loops around the athletic fields on the upper bench of Anna Jean Cummings County Park. The trail is made of both compacted dirt and concrete paving. The whole family will enjoy the open grassy lawn area, picnic tables, and lovely trees that are planted along the trail!

  • Restrooms available.
  • Large playground.
  • Good for strollers, walkers, wheelchairs.
  • Dogs allowed on leash.

Carmichael Trail

Carmichael Trail is an approximately 1 mile out-and-back trail located near Nisene Marks State Park in Aptos. Popular with mountain bikers and hikers, the trail features a mixed woodland setting and allows dogs on leash. The trail is unpaved, compacted soil and is perfect for an escape to nature! Access the trail from Kamian Way in Aptos, CA.

  • No restrooms available.
  • Trail is popular with mountain bikers.
  • Not recommended for strollers or wheelchairs.
  • Dogs allowed on leash.

East Cliff Drive County Parkway

This 0.5-mile trail takes you on a gorgeous stroll along the world-famous Pleasure Point surf destination. The East Cliff Drive County Parkway trail of decomposed granite and paved concrete can get quite busy with locals and tourists. The whole family will enjoy the beautiful view of the Monterey Bay and the surfers in the water along the coastline. Seabirds and marine mammals such as cormorants, otters, harbor seals, and dolphins can sometimes be spotted as you stroll down the parkway!

Pinto Lake County Park

The trail at Pinto Lake County Park is 2.7 miles, has lots of shade and is relatively flat. Families will love this trail that winds its way around Pinto Lake and weaves through a large meadow and disc-golf area. On this hike you will see mature coast live oak trees, a large meadow, eucalyptus trees and gorgeous waterbirds on the lake. Also at the park is a bike jump track that is suitable for beginner bikers!

Seascape County Park: Coastal Bluff Trail

This 0.5-mile trail at Seascape County Park shows off the gorgeous coastal bluff above Rio del Mar beach in Aptos. The trail is made of decomposed granite and offers beautiful views. The entire family can enjoy this trail as it winds its way through the 6-acres of park. With benches stationed along the bluff trail, families can rest and have a snack while watching for marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, whales, and otters!

Heart of Soquel County Park: Soquel Creek Linear Parkway

This recently completed 0.25-mile trail at Heart of Soquel County Park takes you on a creekside stroll of the beautiful Soquel Creek. The trail is ADA accessible and has interpretive signage that teaches visitors about the historic Indigenous settlements surrounding the creek, as well as the abundance of species that dwell in the area. This shady and peaceful trail is perfect for the family and is nearby local restaurants in Soquel Village.

Moran Lake County Park: Lagoon Trail

This 0.5-mile trail at Moran Lake County Park is a Live Oak neighborhood favorite. This stroll will take you along Moran Lagoon which is home to two endangered species: the tidewater goby and the monarch butterfly. The trail is relatively flat with compacted dirt and not ADA accessible. Coastal access is available across the street from the parking lot. Planning efforts are currently underway to improve the park! Stay updated bu checking out Current Projects page.

  • Permanent restrooms available.
  • Not good for strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs.
  • Dogs allowed on leash.
  • Coastal access available.

Polo Grounds County Park: Perimeter Trail

This 1.5-mile trail at Polo Grounds County Park meanders along the landscaped lawn of the park. The trail is made of compacted dirt and offers a scenic landscape speckled with mature trees. With benches stationed along the trail, you can rest and have a snack while watching for wildlife.

  • Permanent restrooms available.
  • Not good for strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs.
  • Dogs allowed on leash.

Quail Hollow Ranch County Park: Discovery Loop

Beginning behind the historic Quail Hollow Ranch County Park house, this one-mile hike is relatively flat on a compacted trail. You will discover xixed evergreen, ponderosa pine, willow riparian, and coast live oak forests, sandhill parkland, California mixed and maritime chaparral, grassland, pasture, eucalyptus grove, and pond ecosystem communities. You may find turtles, ducks, geese and other aquatic birds on or near the pond. The westside is boggy after rains, and generally offers shade and a view of Quail Hollow Creek!

  • Porta-potty is available.
  • Good for strollers, not recommended for wheelchairs.
  • No dogs allowed on trails.

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