SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA — While 2021 will be a year of recovery and as the travel and tourism industry opens up and life begins again, so too with the forested state parks in Santa Cruz County. Specific to this region, just 90 minutes south of San Francisco on the Monterey Bay, Basin Redwoods State Park, California’s oldest state park, was heavily damaged by the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire in summer 2020 which in total burned over 85,000 acres in Santa Cruz County and adjacent San Mateo County and which began as a lightning strike.
As Big Basin begins to recover and regenerate, there are many other opportunities to celebrate and admire the redwoods in Santa Cruz County. The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park in Aptos and Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Felton both offer hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, and are known for their rich history and lush, towering redwoods native to the land. Adjacent to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Roaring Camp Railroads offers a tour of California’s towering redwood trees from two historic trains. Travel on authentic 19th-century steam trains through the Big Trees to the summit of Bear Mountain or ride early 1900s Pullman cars on open-air excursion cars along a scenic river gorge through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park to the beach of Santa Cruz.
For thrill-seekers, Mount Hermon Adventures features a Redwood Canopy Tour and a Sequoia Aerial Adventure which suspend explorers on traverse ropes and timber obstacles high above the forest floor.