Santa Cruz Backpacking Tours: Roughing It With an Expert Guide by Your Side

santa cruz backpacking tours

Photo by @genghis_johnn

Are you ready for the quintessential Santa Cruz Mountains experience?

Better yet, want an expert tour guide by your side?

Naturalist-led Santa Cruz backpacking tours are being offered again this year by California State Parks, from June through August. These 1-3 night trips offer the classic Santa Cruz backpacking experience, with the added bonus of being led by a knowledgeable State Park professional.

There are four backpacking trips to choose from, some of which take you through lesser known portions of our state parks.

Last year’s tours sold out, and we expect this year’s to sell out quickly as well. The video below gives a great overview of the tours:

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Take a Hike! 8 Local State Parks Hosting First Day Hikes on Jan. 1st

Santa Cruz First Day Hikes 2018The New Year is knocking and 2017 is ready to take a hike out the door. But 2017 isn’t the only thing that should take a hike…so should you.

If you want to start the new year off fresh with a sense of renewal, exploring California State Parks on New Year’s Day could give you the perfect opportunity to do just that.

On New Year’s Day, 50 state parks will host 80 different hikes and outings, with a chance to see your parks like never before.

We are lucky here along the Central Coast, as there are many parks that are hosting this event this year. In fact, Santa Cruz County is hosting more state park First Day Hikes than any other county in the California State Parks system, with eight different parks here that are hosting events.

There are some really interesting hikes planned such as New Brighton State Beach offering a sunset hike to Capitola that is a rare opportunity with a very low tide. Other parks are offering redwood hikes, secluded tours and nature and bird walks.

Though the guided hikes and events are free, there is a $10 day use fee for parking in most parks. However, if you pay the day use fee in one park, it’s good at any state park for the remainder of that day until closing time. Maybe this will be a chance to go on more than one hike or do some park exploring of your own.

Here is a list of the California State Parks in Santa Cruz County that are offering First Day Hikes. You can find further details and times on the California State Parks website. [Read more…]

UCSC Farm & Garden: How to Enjoy the Farm Year Round

In late July 2017, 500 visitors descended upon the 30 acres of lush, hilly grasslands nestled near the base of the UC Santa Cruz campus.

They weren’t students, although you couldn’t tell by the class-filled days and late night parties that ensued over those three days.

They were former staff, students, and apprentices of the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS), known more affectionately by the Santa Cruz community as the UCSC Farm & Garden, arriving to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the farm’s founding by master gardener Alan Chadwick.

What began in 1967 as a scraggly lot of devoted students assisting Chadwick to build a garden on one of the rockiest hillsides on campus eventually blossomed into a fully functioning organic farm which not only produces over 700 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers but also has become a premier training program for aspiring organic farmers from around the world.

Even if you didn’t get to join in that weekend of workshops, tours, and photo exhibitions, there are plenty of ways for you to take part in the magical wonderland that is the UCSC Farm & Garden. [Read more…]