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Best Family-Friendly Hikes Near Brookdale Lodge

Santa Cruz Trails - Hike near Brookdale Lodge

Hiking Trails near Santa Cruz

Believe it or not, Earth Day is just around the corner (April 20, to be exact). And what better way to celebrate the planet than by spending time outdoors? If you’re visiting Santa Cruz this April as a family, get outside and use the area’s many scenic hiking trails to explore nature’s beauty. More details about family-friendly local trails, below.

Trails for Tots

Home to rugged coastline, regal redwoods and hidden beaches, Santa Cruz is definitely an ideal hiking location. But, with little ones we can imagine that hiking isn’t always a walk in the park. Thankfully, there’s several trails in the area fit for families with strollers or toddlers willing to walk. At Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, try trekking the Redwood Grove Loop Trail. It’s a 0.8-mile easy loop with a wheelchair/stroller-accessible path below ancient forest canopy. The surrounding redwoods offer great shade in the summer and the trailhead is conveniently located across from the park’s Visitor Center. Or, visit nearby Quail Hollow Ranch and walk the mile-long Discovery Loop Trail. The trail is relatively flat with glimpses of wildflowers along the way. Click here for a map of Quail Hollow Ranch.

Trails for Teens

Families with tweens and teens: skip the flat trails and explore some that are a little more challenging. At Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, trek the Cowell Highlights Loop. This trail is nearly six miles long and has views of virtually everything. Think: redwoods, aerial views and water. Stop at the Observation Deck along the way and on the way back, stop at Cable Car Beach for an afternoon swim! The Kiln Ruins are also worth a visit. They’re the ruins of entrepreneur Henry Cowell’s limestone kilns and can be visited via a few different park trails. At Quail Hollow Ranch, hike the Sunset Trail. It’s a 2.8-mile loop with moderate elevation and scenic views. Along the way, look for oak forests and endangered Western pond turtles.

Trails for Titans

For those that are experienced adventurers, explore some of the more daring trails in Santa Cruz. Trek 7.5 miles to Big Ben, one of the only remaining ancient redwoods in Fall Creek. To get there, travelers must navigate several connecting trails, scaling a total elevation change of 1,400 feet. Another strenuous, but worthwhile hiking trail is Four Crossings, also in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. The trail is a 5-mile loop with four challenging river crossings. It’s recommended that visitors hike this trail with a map and be extra cautious near the rivers. If Santa Cruz is experiencing a rainy season, opt for a different trail.

Stay at the Nearby Brookdale Lodge

After hiking Santa Cruz’s beautiful terrain, why not stay awhile and relax? And what better place to stay in Santa Cruz than in a mountainous retreat like Brookdale Lodge? This newly renovated property is the epitome of a relaxing retreat, complete with spacious rooms and forest views.

Santa Cruz County is home to much more than just beautiful sandy beaches. Take a hike or two this April to explore the area’s towering redwoods and scenic views. Afterwards, stay a night or two at the equally beautiful, relaxing Brookdale Lodge.


Brookdale Lodge
Retreat to the mountains just above Santa Cruz and unwind at this newly renovated property. 11570 Hwy 9, Brookdale, CA 95007. 831.609.6010