Wilder Ranch State Park

#8 in Best Things To Do in Santa Cruz
Wilder Ranch State Park picture
Courtesy of Visit Santa Cruz County and Greg Pio

Key Info

1401 Coast Rd.

Details

Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Located just west of central Santa Cruz, Wilder Ranch State Park is a 1800s-era dairy ranch, home to a Victorian homestead and a water-powered machine shop (both of which travelers can tour). Visitors can also stretch their legs on the property's more than 35 miles of trails, which crisscross the Santa Cruz Mountains and line the coastal bluffs. 

Recent travelers said the ranch's buildings are interesting, but that the real treasure is the ability to hike, bike or horseback ride on the trails, which feature beautiful views unfettered by passing cars. 

The park is open daily from 8 a.m. until sunset. Although admission is free, parking at the state park costs $10. You'll find Wilder Ranch State Park just west of central Santa Cruz. For more information, check out the California Department of Parks and Recreation's website.

See all Hotels in Santa Cruz »

More Best Things To Do in Santa Cruz

West Cliff Drive1 of 8
Santa Cruz Main Beach2 of 8
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
See full list of Best Things To Do in Santa Cruz »

Explore More of Santa Cruz

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 12 Best Niagara Falls Tours

Explore one of North America's most impressive natural sights and the surrounding region on a tour.

Lyn MettlerJuly 19, 2019

The Cheapest Ways to Travel: 15 Tips to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

These cheap travel tips can help you save big on your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonJuly 18, 2019

The 9 Best San Francisco Wine Tours

Taste some of America's finest wines on one of these daytrips.

John RodwanJuly 18, 2019

The 6 Best Sedona Jeep Tours

Take a rollicking ride through Sedona's natural beauty in a rugged SUV.

Holly JohnsonJuly 16, 2019

The 12 Top Florida Keys Beaches

Relax on the sandy shorelines from Key West to Key Largo.

Gwen PratesiJuly 15, 2019

The 15 Best New Orleans Walking Tours

Take on the Big Easy with a stroll through its streets.

Lyn MettlerJuly 15, 2019

The 8 Best Charleston Ghost Tours

Experience the Holy City's history and haunts on one of these excursions.

Holly JohnsonJuly 12, 2019

The 5 Best Oahu Helicopter Tours

Tour this picturesque island from the air on one of these excursions.

John RodwanJuly 11, 2019

The 15 Best Los Angeles Tours

Maximize your time in Los Angeles with the insider tips and historical context provided by the best local tours.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 3, 2019

The 15 Best Las Vegas Tours

See a different side of Sin City – its attractions go beyond gambling.

John RodwanJuly 2, 2019