Rancho del Oso Guided Hikes, Talks, & 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. The ranger station is about a mile in from the green gate directly across the street from the Waddell Beach parking lot.  


Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center
Located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz, at 3600 Highway One, Davenport, California 95017
Open Saturday through Monday Noon to 4 pm.  For more information or to schedule a group call (831) 427-2288. 

Way up to Westridge Hike
Sunday, July 6, 2014 at 10 am
Join us on a hike up the Clark Connection Trail to where it meets the Westridge Trail. We’ll travel from sea level to views of Ano Nuevo and coastal valleys atop the ridge on this strenuous, 4-hour, 6-mile hike.  Arrive early at the Highway 1 gate across from Waddell Beach, and then walk in approximately 1 mile to the Ranger Station to meet your guide. Bring plenty of water, lunch, and energy to hike!

Wildflower Hike
Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 10 am
Take a hike among the wildflowers of Rancho del Oso’s Waddell Valley.  Docent naturalist Scott Peden will lead an approximately 4-mile hike to view a variety of wildflowers – there’s always something exciting in bloom!  Photographers are easily accommodated.  Show up with lunch, water and energy to hike! Hike starts at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.   

Movies at the Ranch
The Gnome-Mobile on Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 7 pm
“Timber was the cry…and hilarity the result” as Rancho del Oso goes Hollywood with a movie night at the Nature and History Center, featuring “The Gnome-Mobile,” made in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. This 1965 fantasy film features a tall tale about very small people, So join a 943 year old gnome in the redwoods (run time is 1 hour, 24 minutes)! Enjoy a picnic on the porch before seeing a part of California’s oldest State Park on the silver screen at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center!

Fireside Stories
Sunday, July 13, 2014 at 11 am
Pretend, play, sing and explore! Bring the family and gather round the fireplace together at the Nature and History Center for a story followed by activities focused on the theme of the story. This 30-minute program will introduce youngsters (recommend children be at least 3) to the wonders of nature! 

C.S.I. - Creekside Investigation!
Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 10 am
Bring the whole family to get down and look around as we become creek detectives out on the trail, searching to solve the aquatic mysteries of Waddell Creek!  We’ll hike to Waddell Creek, and use nets and other tools to discover all the tiny critters that live in the water and learn about why it is so important to keep our streams clean.  Wear shoes that you’re not afraid to get a little wet on this three hour, 3-mile hike and program.  We will meet at the Ranger Station, located approximately one mile from the gate opposite Waddell Beach.

Monday Marsh Mosey
Mondays, July 14 and July 28, 2014 at 10 am
Join us for a family friendly walk as we listen with our deer ears, walk like a fox and use our owl eyes to experience the wonder of the Marsh Trail.  We’ll find evidence of animals, learn about plants, and see Waddell Creek on this one mile, one hour walk.  We will meet at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.

Bike and Hike the Waddell Valley
Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 10 am
Pump up the tires on your bike, grab your helmet and bike lock, and bring a lunch and plenty of water on this guided bike and hike. Together, we’ll ride up the canyon, learning about and seeing the sights of the Waddell Valley, including the Eagle Tree, remnants of William Waddell’s logging operation, banana slugs and more. We will travel up to 14 miles, dependent on the group, and we may even make it all the way to beautiful Berry Creek Falls! This bike and hike requires a bike that can handle rough fire roads.  Participants must provide their own bikes, locks and helmets.  The bike and hike will meet at the Ranger Station, located less than a mile in from the yellow gate opposite Waddell Beach, 17 miles north of Santa Cruz. Call (831)427-2288 with any questions.  

Critter Crafts
Sunday, July 27, 2014 from Noon to 4 pm
Drop in for fun nature-themed craft time at the Nature and History Center. We will have a FREE make-and-take-activity most children can complete independently, although parents may need to assist preschool-aged children. Any age child is welcome to participate!

Wildflower Wanders
Sunday, July 27, 2014 at 10 am and 1 pm
Find out what’s growing and blooming in the Waddell Valley on this approximately 1 mile hike, 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. Show up with questions, curiosity and energy to walk and learn.  Hike starts at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center. 

Events made possible by California State Park Docents, California State Parks and Waddell Creek Association. Visit us on the web at www.ranchodeloso.org or www.facebook.com/RDOSP or www.parks.ca.gov


Newt Night
Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 5:00 pm
Join us as 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.  We’ll learn about newts and salamanders, sing songs, make crafts and even go out searching for newts!  

Wildflower Weekend
Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27from 12 noon to 4:00 p.m.
Winter rains promise a profusion of spring wildflowers in the Waddell Valley. Come see thSaveem 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’ll 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.

Grizzly Bear Festival
August 16, 2014 from 12 noon to 4:00 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. 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.