Register for a Trail Pass:
Map credit: Land Trust of Santa Cruz County
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I access San Vicente Redwoods?
The property opens to the public on December 3, 2022
Address: 12001 Empire Grade Santa Cruz, CA
Directions: From Santa Cruz, take High Street, which becomes Empire Grade near the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum & Botanic Garden. The entrance to San Vicente Redwoods is about 12.5 miles up Empire Grade on the left.
Hours of Operation: April – September: 8am-7pm, October – March: 9am-5pm
All visitors must register ahead of time and carry a trail pass. Register for yours here.
Do I need a reservation?
Nope! Access is first-come, first-served. Parking is limited to 72 spaces; please only park in the designated lot.
About the property:
San Vicente Redwoods is owned and managed by four local land trusts. The trail system is their gift to the community, and we’re excited to build it! Phase 1 is now open and includes 7.5 miles of trail to hikers, bikers, and horses.
San Vicente Redwoods is, first and foremost, a conservation property. The forest contains endangered marbled murrelet habitat, mountain lion denning, and other sensitive species. That’s why the Land Trust hired us to design and build their trails – they knew they could trust us (and our community) to treat the property with the care and sensitivity it deserves.
The Land Trust of Santa Cruz's Public Access at plan for San Vicente Redwoods includes the potential of 30 more miles of trails and a connection to Coast Dairies National Monument. These future phases can be built only if users follow access guidelines within the property.
We are all excited to experience this property–whether on foot, wheel, or hoof—and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, along with their three partners, Peninsula Open Space Trust, Sempervirens Fund, and Save the Redwoods League, look forward to welcoming us all later this year.
Key project info:
- How many miles of trail is SCMTS building?
This project is broken down into three phases of construction. We are breaking ground on Phase 1 trails now, and expect to open them to the public this fall. Completion of Phase 2 and 3 trails is contingent upon further monitoring and visitor respect for this beautiful forest.
Phase 1 of the main trail network off Empire Grade, which we’re breaking ground on now, includes 6.5 miles of new trail and 1.3 miles of trail on a repurposed existing road.
Additionally, .3 miles of new trail and 1 mile of trail will be opened for hiking only at the Laguna Creek (accessed via Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve).
- What will the trails be like?
Phase 1 trails will be winding singletrack with some narrow, technical, and natural sections. They’ll consist of several stacked loops at the top of the property closest to Empire Grade, with about 200’ elevation change total.
These trails will weave through Douglas Firs, Madrones, and various Oaks (Shreve, Live, Tan), at the top of the property. Trails will highlight the rolling terrain, showcase natural granite from Ben Lomond Mountain, and offer ocean views in select locations. We will build 10 bridges as a part of Phase 1 trail development.
Fun fact: these trails will be dual purpose - they’ll both provide recreation and serve as shaded fuel breaks to ease wildfire response throughout the area.
Additional Info About the Property
- Where is San Vicente Redwoods located?
The San Vicente Redwoods property is a contiguous block of 8,532 acres of forest situated between Bonny Doon and Davenport. It’s unique in that this land has never been split up into multiple parcels - it’s always been one parcel since the Spanish days when it was a rancho! Today, it’s still the largest privately-owned parcel in Santa Cruz County, and one of the largest in California.
- Who owns the land?
The land is owned by the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and Sempervirens Fund. Alongside these co-owners, the San Vicente Redwoods Property’s management and protection are handled by the Save the Redwoods League, and public access is managed by the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. Collectively, the land’s owners and managers are referred to as the Conservation Partners.
- How can I get involved?
We’re hosting ongoing Dig Days and volunteer events at San Vicente Redwoods starting in April of 2022. Check out our events page here for all listings.
- How are these new trails funded?
This is a project of The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. The planning, permitting and construction of Phase 1 trails will exceed $5M which comes from Land Trust donors and members with additional funding from the Wildlife Conservation Board.
- When will the project be finished?
Phase 1 trails will open in December 2022.
Completion of Phase 2 and 3 trails is contingent upon further monitoring and visitor respect for this beautiful forest.
The bottom line: If you want to see these trails built quickly, please respect all access guidelines and do not trespass on the SVR property!
Where can I find more information on the property & future public access?
Check out the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County's San Vicente Redwoods webpage here.