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Rancho del Oso Events

The Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center,  is located on the south side of the Waddell Creek Bridge, 17 miles north of Santa Cruz, at 3600 Highway 1 in Davenport.

The Rancho del Oso Ranger Station is located on the north side of the Waddell Creek Bridge, ¼ mile inland from the yellow gate across from Waddell State Beach parking lot.

For more information, please call (831) 427-2288 or email Events made possible by California State Parks Volunteers and Waddell Creek Association.




Wildflower Hike
Friday, June 8 at 10am
Join docent botanist Bryce Stauble 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 takes a leisurely pace that is great for learning the native habitat we are experiencing. Bring lunch, questions and curiosity! Meet at the yellow gate across from the Waddell State Beach parking area.

Birding for Beginners in Waddell Valley
Saturday, June 16 at 8am
Join Park Interpreter Jeremy Lin on a two-mile hike to observe and enjoy morning wildlife at Rancho del Oso. We will take our time and explore the beautiful coastal valley. No previous experience necessary. It is helpful to bring binoculars, bird guides, and a readiness for patient observation as we witness wildlife awakening on a crisp Waddell Valley morning. This free event meets at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center, located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz along Highway 1 in Davenport.

Nature Wander
Sunday, June 10 at 1pm
Find out what’s 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. This free hike starts at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.
Snake Park Saturday
Saturday, June 9 at 2pm
Why are snakes important to us? How do they see, smell, taste, hear? What and how do they eat? What does a snake feel like? Visit the Rancho del Oso Ranger Station to learn about the fascinating world of snakes. Several snakes will be on display and we will discuss native reptile adaptations in the beautiful backdrop of Waddell Valley. The Rancho del Oso Ranger Station is located 0.25 mile inland from the yellow gate across from Waddell State Beach parking lot off Highway 1 in Davenport. 

Waddell Valley Watercolor Workshop Series
Saturday, April 28 at 10am
Saturday, May 26 at 10am
Saturday, June 23 at 10am
Saturday, July 28 at 10am

Registration is required for this four-part series at (831) 427-2288 or Space is limited.

Begin your watercolor journey in the inspiration Waddell Valley with Joyce Rosenstiel in this four-day watercolor workshop series for beginner and almost intermediate artists. Students focus on watercolor basics, assembling your painting kit, and fundamentals for landscape and nature painting. Learn to assemble a sketch and paint travel kit for summer adventures. No materials required for the first class but curiosity and a wish to learn more. This free event meets at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.


California State Parks Backpacking

CLICK HERE for more information.



Annual Special Events

Salamander Saturday
Saturday March 3, 2018 from Noon to 4pm
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. Live amphibians will be available for viewing. Ranger led salamander hike will start at 3pm on the mile long Marsh Trail. This free event is appropriate for all ages.

Wildflower Weekend
Saturday May 5, 2018 from 10am to 4 pm
Sunday May 6, 2018 from 10am to 4 pm
Guided hikes at 10am and 1pm on both Saturday and Sunday
Rancho del Oso’s annual Wildflower Weekend event displays over 80 plants in bloom including species found in the Waddell Valley, the coastal portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The 10am hike is a moderately paced 4.5-mile hike along the Marsh Trail to the Skyline to the Sea Bypass Trail. The 1pm hike is a 1-mile wildflower excursion through multiple habitats along the Hoover Nature Trail.