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Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park from the top of a hill

Majestic redwoods, spectacular mountain views, and the historic San Lorenzo River lie within Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, a public recreation area just 32 miles south of San Jose. This scenic California state park, located within the Santa Cruz Mountains, features a 40-acre grove of ancient redwoods that have been admired for generations.

This peaceful 4,650 acres of woodlands, open meadows, sandhills, and river attract many visitors with opportunities to hike, mountain bike, horseback ride, camp, picnic, and birdwatch.

Activities

Searching for a unique getaway? Look no further than Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Here you may explore miles of trails, step fully inside a tree, wade through the San Lorenzo River, and spend a few nights tucked in the woodlands with views of the surrounding mountains.

The park’s Visitor Center features displays and exhibits to help educate guests on some of the native flora and fauna as well as some of the area’s history. Interested in more history? Stop in and check out the 1880’s steam trains at nearby Roaring Camp Railroad.

Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park:

Hiking at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

There are more than 30 miles of nature trails inside Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. These trails wind through the park highlighting some of the most impressive redwoods and breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Maps, guides, and information on guided walks are available at the Visitor Center.

hiking trail through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Here are a couple of the trails at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park:

  • Redwood Grove Loop Trail – This easy 0.8 mile trail is shady and flat throughout. It leads out to the largest tree in the park and the famous Fremont Tree that guests are allowed to step inside of. This trail is wheelchair-accessible but dogs, horses, and bicycles are not permitted on it.
  • Cowell Highlights Loop – A moderate 5.9 mile trail through the redwoods and up to the Observation Deck for spectacular views over the park.

Biking at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park features several multi-use trails that allow bicycles and a bike-in campsite for guests passing through the area by mountain bike.

Here are a couple of mountain biking trails inside Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park:

  • Pipeline – This moderate trail is actually a paved 3.3 mile road that winds throughout the park. It begins near the flat day use areas and climbs up to the Overlook Bench. From there it contains sections of steep climbs both uphill and down.
  • Rincon Fire Road – A difficult 4 mile trail across mixed leaf litter, the river (guests must walk across a shallow section to reach the other side), and up to Cathedral Redwoods.

creek running through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

All riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet. Guests with bicycles must remain on the designated trails and are not allowed to ride inside the Fall Creek Unit or in the Santa Cruz Sandhills habitat.

Horseback Riding at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Several trails inside and around Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park are open for guests traveling with their own horses. One of these trails, the Observation Deck Trail, leads through the Santa Cruz Sandhills and up to the highest point in the park. From the lookout you’ll be able to see Monterey Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains. A drinking fountain exclusively for horses is located along this trail.

Birding at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Grab your binoculars and take a walk along the Meadow Trail inside Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. While surrounded with open grasslands and picturesque woodlands you will have an ideal opportunity to observe many species of wildlife.

Pick up a bird checklist and keep an eye out for osprey, egrets, heron, Northern Flickers, Steller’s Jays, Dark Eyed Juncos, Mountain Chickadees, Brown Creepers, Common Ravens, Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Canyon Wrens, Western Screech-Owls, American Coots, Cinnamon Teals, Common Mergansers, American Kestrels, Cooper’s Hawks, Golden Eagles, Northern Harriers, American Bitterns, Peregrine Falcons, Red-tailed Hawks, and Spot Belted Kingfishers.

bench next to a giant redwood tree at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Nature and Wildlife at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

Get a close up view of the majestic redwoods inside Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. These impressive trees will surely take your breath away! Some of these trees are as high as 277 feet tall and 1,500 years old. There’s even a tree that you can fully step inside of – the famous Fremont Tree.

While you’re here you may also get a chance to see a couple of those infamous banana slugs that seem to be so attracted to these ancient trees. Some other wildlife species that you may cross paths with include Black-tailed Deer, squirrels, coyotes, and bobcats.

Pets

Pets are allowed within designated areas only at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park; these areas include campsites, picnic sites, and certain trails. Dogs should be supervised and kept on a leash no longer than 6-feet.

Camping

Spend a few relaxing nights surrounded by evergreens inside Henry Cowell Redwoods Graham Hill Campground. This peaceful camping area features 107 shaded sites not far from the Santa Cruz Sandhills habitat. All campsites have a picnic table and fire ring. And the campground has a bathhouse with drinking water, flush toilets, and coin-operated showers.

For vehicle access to this campground area, guests must enter via Graham Hill Road in Scotts Valley. The campground area may also be accessed by walking along the 2 mile trail that begins near the park’s day use area.

Park Location

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
101 Big Trees Park Rd
Felton, CA 95018
Phone: 831.335.4598

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park: