Roaring Camp Railroads

#5 in Best Things To Do in Santa Cruz
Roaring Camp Railroads picture
Courtesy Roaring Camp Railroads

Key Info

5401 Graham Hill Rd.

Details

Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Tours Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.2

scorecard

  • 3.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

The same redwoods that awed passengers back in 1875 when the Roaring Camp Railroads opened are still doing so today. Roaring Camp, headquartered in Felton, California, takes visitors on train rides through the towering trees up to the summit of Bear Mountain or to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Visitors can also tour the train depot's grounds, which include an old-fashioned general store, playing fields, a stage for special events and more. 

Although the train tickets are pricey, most recent travelers said the breathtaking views of the redwoods are worth every penny (some described the experience as "magical"). Some reviewers recommend visiting during Roaring Camp Railroads' special events, including Thomas and Percy's Halloween Party and the Holiday Tree Walk. 

Roaring Camp Railroads is open on the weekends in the fall and spring, and is open daily in the summer. The trains take two different routes – the Redwood Forest Steam Train is a 75-minute round-trip ride up Bear Mountain; the Santa Cruz Beach Train is a three-hour round-trip ride from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Tickets cost $29 for adults and $22 for children for the Redwood Forest Steam Train, and $31 for adults and $25 for children for the Santa Cruz Beach Train. Kids younger than 2 ride for free. Keep in mind that there are also parking fees for both the Santa Cruz and the Felton (Roaring Camp headquarters) train departures – $12 and $10, respectively. Felton is situated about 7 miles northwest of downtown Santa Cruz. For more information, consult Roaring Camp's website.

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 West Cliff Drive

This 3-mile walking and biking path offers some of the best views of the county – and it's a great workout too. Along the way, you'll be treated to pristine vistas of the Pacific Ocean and you might even spot some surfers riding the waves at Steamer Lane or whales and dolphins cresting the water at Lighthouse Point. You can also stop in to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum along your stroll, which is stationed inside the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse.

Recent travelers and locals said West Cliff Drive is a must-do. According to reviewers, the beauty is unparalleled, and the benches that line the path are a nice pit stop along the 6-mile round-trip walk. To avoid crowded paths, some travelers recommend visiting on a weekday and also note parking can be difficult to come by on weekends. 

Read more
Courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County and Paul Schraub
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