Hiking the Santa Cruz Mountains
Soft adventure in a quiet destination.
Located about a 45-minute drive north of the coastal city of Santa Cruz, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California’s oldest, and encompasses 80 miles of trails that crisscross 20,000 acres of forest. There’s one for hikers of every skill level, and the weather ranges from foggy to sunny (tip: dress in layers). The park boasts not one but three gorgeous cascades on one trail—and, of course, redwoods.
Berry Creek Falls Trail
Although the 12-mile trail takes about six hours, moderate hikers can easily handle it (pick up a map at the ranger station before starting out).
Old Mountain Inn
On the way into the park, stop at the Old Mountain Inn in Boulder Creek for breakfast.
New Leaf Community Market
Stock up on house-made sausages and organic greens to bring with you on the hike.
Inn at Saratoga, California
At the end of the day, backtrack 13 miles to the spiffy San Jose-foothills suburb of Saratoga and the upscale 46-room inn. It’s a bit businessy and sedate, but the beds are big and comfortable.