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Rancho del Oso Events

Rancho del Oso is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway One

Directions to the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center: follow the dirt road in from the south side of Waddell Creek Bridge where you see the sign for Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center. 
Directions to the Ranger Station: The ranger station is about a mile in from the yellow gate directly across the street from the Waddell Beach parking lot.  

For more information on event and activities at Rancho del Oso, please call (831) 427-2288, or email parksRDOPIS@parks.ca.gov, or visit www.parks.ca.gov.

May Activities

Photography Workshop:
The Natural Wonders of Rancho del Oso
Saturday, May 28 from 10 am to Sunset

Enroll at www.raaronraymond.com
Cost: $225
Take your photography to the next level and join professional photographer R. Aaron Raymond for a one-day nature and landscape photography workshop on Saturday, May 28 from 10 am to sunset at Rancho del Oso – Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Rancho del Oso is the coastal portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park nestled in the Waddell Valley. With Año Nuevo to the north and Big Basin to the east, from the skyline to the sea, the photographic possibilities are endless. Additionally, State Park Naturalist Jeremy Lin will also be present during the outdoor excursions and will be available to discuss the natural and cultural history of the park.

The workshop will begin with a one-hour lecture and slideshow about basic photography and composition before heading to a range of inspiring settings to practice nature photography. We will meander through the woods on two trails with markedly different environments where Aaron will provide one-on-one guidance to participants, and Jeremy will be our park guide. After a sack lunch, we will drive to a dramatic rocky beach that can entice photographers for hours. Afterwards, we will then return to the Nature Center at Rancho del Oso where Aaron professionally edit one image from each participant, giving everyone the opportunity to both learn digital imaging skills and bring home memento from your day.

The workshop is geared for beginning and intermediate photographers, but advanced photographers are welcome to enjoy the photographic prospects. You should be capable of walking at least 0.5 miles with your equipment. Cost is $225. Class size is limited. To enroll in this workshop, please visit raaronraymond.com and click on the workshops tab. For more information please call R. Aaron Raymond at (323) 393-5435 or email aaron@raaronraymond.com. Rancho del Oso is the coastal portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park and is 17 miles north of Santa Cruz, at 3600 Highway One, Davenport, CA 95017.

What you need:
 All of your camera gear, preferably a camera with interchangeable lenses and at least a wide or mid-range lens and a tripod 
 The manual for you camera 
 ND filters or ND grad filters (optional)
 Dress in layers
A sack lunch
 Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
 Good walking shoes
Headlamp or flashlight
 Water

June Activities

Wildflower and Nature Hike of Waddell Valley
Saturday, June 11 at 10 am

Join docent Scott Peden and learn to identify many of Waddell Valley’s plants within Rancho del Oso’s seven diverse habitats. Observe the monthly change of the ecosystems. Each walk is unique as blooming flowers and pollinators are constantly in flux! This walk is a leisurely four-hour amble that is great for learning the native habitat we are experiencing. Bring lunch, questions and spirited fervor! Hike starts at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.

Snake Park Saturday
Saturday, June 11 at 10 am

Why are snakes important to us? How do they see, smell, taste, and hear? What and how do they eat? What does a snake feel like? Come to the Rancho del Oso Ranger Station to learn about the fascinating world of snakes. Several snakes will be on display and native reptile adaptations will be discussed in the beautiful backdrop of Waddell Valley! Meet at the Ranger Station, located across from the Waddell State Beach parking lot 0.25 miles inland from the yellow gate. 

Birding in Waddell Valley
Saturday, June 11 at 8 am

Birding for all skill levels. Join us for an approximate two mile hike to observe and enjoy morning wildlife in Waddell Valley. We will take our time and move slowly. Bring binoculars, bird guides and readiness for silent observation as we witness wildlife awakening on a crisp winter day. We will meet at the deck in front of the Nature Center.

Nature Wander
Sunday, June 12 at 1 pm
Find out what is growing and blooming right now in the Waddell Valley on this approximately 1 mile, 1.5 hour guided walk with docent naturalist Ann Garside. She will share information about the plants of Rancho del Oso as the group walks from coastal scrub through one of the last native stands of Monterey Pine left in the world.  Meet at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.

Events made possible by California State Park Docents, California State Parks and Coastside State Parks Foundation. Visit us on the web at www.CoastsideStateParks.org and Facebook.com/CoastsideStateParks.

Annual Special Events for 2016

Salamander Saturday
Saturday, March 5, 2016 from Noon to 4 pm

Join us as the “Ranch of the Bear” becomes “Ranch of the Newt,” celebrating our amphibian friends that make their way from beneath rocks and under logs to the creeks, wetlands and puddles of the park.  Participate in our annual celebration honoring the often overlooked, but heroically well adapted amphibian native to the Santa Cruz Mountains and other moist habitats. Live amphibians will be available for viewing. Ranger led salamander hike will start at 3 pm to search for these regal creatures on the mile long Marsh Trail. All age crafts and activities will be available at the Rancho del Oso Nature & History Center. Located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz along Highway One, at Waddell Creek at 3600 Hwy 1, Davenport, CA 95017.  Free. For more information, call (831) 427-2288. 

Wildflower Weekend
Saturday, April 23, 2016 from Noon to 4 pm
Sunday, April 24, 2016 from Noon to 4 pm

Winter rains promise a profusion of spring wildflowers in the Waddell Valley. Come see them on display in the Rancho del Oso Nature Center and visit them on the park's trails during the Rancho del Oso Wildflower Weekend. You will see buttercups, shooting stars and western wake robin included in this annual exhibit of over fifty native plants in flower and several non-native species that are found in the western portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The assortment of shapes, sizes, colors and forms are a delight to the senses. Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz along Highway One, at Waddell Creek For more information, please call (831) 427-2288.  3600 Hwy 1, Davenport, CA 95017

Grizzly Bear Festival
Saturday, August 13, 2016 from Noon to 4 pm

Come to Rancho del Oso for a day of commemorating the once-abundant predator that roamed this "Ranch of the Bear." Discover what they ate, how they lived, and what made this area famous for its grizzly population.  Throughout the day there will be crafts and activities for all ages. Come visit the Nature and History Center to hear stories about this powerful animal! Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz along Highway One, at Waddell Creek This event is appropriate for all ages.  Free.  For more information, call (831) 427-2288.  3600 Hwy 1, Davenport, CA 95017.


Events made possible by California State Park Docents, California State Parks and Coastside State Parks Foundation. Visit us on the web at www.CoastsideStateParks.org and Facebook.com/CoastsideStateParks