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A Hike along the Santa Cruz Coast

Last weekend my husband and I hiked with some friends along a five-mile loop trail on the Santa Cruz coast. We had gorgeous views of the ocean, fields, and farmland. Here is a map of the route and some photos in case you’d like to go there one day:

We parked on Shaffer Road off of HWY 1 (Mission Street)

Shaffer Road has plenty of parking if you get there early enough.

Facing HYW 1 from Shaffer, you turn left onto the walking/biking path.

Here’s the route we took–clockwise:

This is a remnant of the original Pacific Coast HWY. Notice the faded lane divider.

Wilder Ranch State Park is worth a separate visit and blog!


We took the foot path down to Fern Grotto and beach.

At the back side of the beach, under the cliffs, is a tiny cave called Fern Grotto.

Dripping water and ferns at the cave’s entrance.

Little treasures inside the cave.

Looking into the cave. It’s very short and ends where you see the darkness.

We left the beach and went back up to the path along the cliff, then crossed inland and saw more farmland.

Rosemary and Wild Mustard.

Along came a rider . .

I believe this is one of the ladies who runs the Sæstaðir Icelandic Horses Training and Breeding Center.

She was very friendly and her Icelandic horse was beautiful!

After our hike we drove to downtown Santa Cruz and found a place to eat. It was a lively scene but I didn’t take pictures.

Hope you enjoyed these photos and they inspire you to walk a coastal trail!




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