Park Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Visitor Center: 10am-4pm
Mountain Park Foundation Nature Store: 10am-6pm
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
BUCKEYE TRAIL CLOSED BETWEEN RIVER CROSSINGS
The Buckeye Trail is closed between the river crossing due to high water, do NOT attempt to cross the river. Extremely rough terrain makes hiking between Buckeye Trail and Big Rock Hole impassible.
The Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is a popular swimming hole in the San Lorenzo River within Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
For more information, please click here.
Visiting Henry Cowell Redwoods
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains and is most famous for the 40-acre grove of towering old-growth redwood trees. Its historical significance and spectacular scenery draw travelers from around the world. Visitors can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, swimming, and camping on more than 4,650 acres of forested and open land. The skyscraping redwoods here were admired by explorer John C. Frémont and President Theodore Roosevelt. These trees also inspired some of California’s earliest redwood preservation efforts. Take a walk beyond the redwood grove and you’ll find four diverse habitats that this park preserves: grasslands, river/riparian, sandhills, and redwoods. The tallest tree in the park is approximately 277 feet tall, about 16 feet wide, and around 1,500 years old. Keen-eyed visitors may spot banana slugs, black-tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, or steelhead trout.
A few miles north is the Fall Creek Unit– a second-growth redwood forest with a fern-lined river canyon and remnants of a successful lime-processing industry. Fall Creek is open for day use only, and includes almost twenty miles of connecting trails. Parking and trailheads are marked on Felton Empire Road off Highway 9.
The park’s campground is situated in a mixed evergreen forest and is near the Santa Cruz Sandhills – rare ancient marine deposits home to endangered animals and plants. Although the campground is linked to the day-use area by trails, vehiclesmust enter the campground east of Felton, via Graham Hill Road.
Facilities & Activities
The park has approximately 30 miles of trails. Terrain varies from thick forest to chaparral. There is only one seasonal bridge (end of May to mid-October) near the old train trestle that crosses the river.
For a list of suggested hikes and activities, please click here.
Dogs are allowed in the picnic area, the campground, as well as on Pipeline Road, Graham Hill Trail, Powder Mill Fire Road, and the Meadow Trail.
Dogs are not allowed on any other trails or interior roads. Dogs are not allowed in the Fall Creek Unit. Dogs are not permitted on the Old-Growth Redwood Grove Loop Trail. Where dogs are allowed, they must be on a leash at all times and kept in your car or tent at night. They may not be left unattended.
Bicycles are allowed only on Pipeline Road, Rincon Fire Road, Ridge Fire Road, and Powder Mill Fire Road. Bicyclists under 18 must wear a helmet. A bicycle campsite available for cyclists who are touring the area and pedal into the park. Register at the campground kiosk on Graham Hill Road.
Bicycles are not allowed in Fall Creek Unit.
Horses are NOT allowed on the following trails:
Redwood Grove Trail
Pipeline Road south of Rincon Fire Road
Cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles are not permitted on any trails in the park or on Pipeline Road.
The Visitor Center is at the beginning of redwood loop trail in day-use area, located off Highway 9 in Felton. There is a Sandhills Mobile Visitor Center stationed seasonally in the campground.
The Nature Store run by Mountain Parks Foundation is in the day-use area, located off Highway 9 in Felton.
The campground has a separate entrance from the day-use area, located off Graham Hill Road.
The park’s 113-site campground lies in a shady pine and oak forest. It’s about a two-mile walk or a five-minute drive from the campground to the Redwood Grove Loop Trail. It’s a half-mile walk from the campground to the rare Santa Cruz Sandhills habitat and to the highest point in the park, the Observation Deck (elevation 805 feet).
Picnic tables and fire rings are available at each campsite. Flush toilets and showers are a short distance away. (Bring quarters for the showers.)
Click here for a campground map.
Reservations are highly recommended between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Henry Cowell campground closes in the winter season. To make reservations, please visit www.reservecalifornia.com.
Can We Drive Through a Giant Tree?
There are no old-growth redwood trees in the Santa Cruz Mountain Range that you can actually drive an automobile through. One redwood at Big Basin Redwoods State Park is named the "Auto Tree;" visitors would park and pose next to back in the 1920's and 30's.
There are three trees located in northern California that cars can be driven through. All located along US Route 101, far north of Santa Cruz County:
- 1. Chandelier Tree—Leggett, Mendocino County (254 miles north of HCRSP)
- 2. Shrine Drive-Thru Tree—Myer’s Flat, Humboldt County (295 miles north of HCRSP)
- 3. Klamath Tree (or Tour-Thru Tree)—Klamath, Del Norte County (408 miles north of HCRSP)
All field trips at Henry Cowell offer admission/parking at no charge for K-12 school groups that have made reservations a minimum of two weeks in advance and with an approved waiver. For additional information, and to make reservations, please email State Park Interpreter Steven Ellmore at email@example.com.
Old-Growth Redwood Loop Tour: Our school program offers a guided tour of the old-growth redwood loop: an approximately 90-minute program for K-6th grades that includes a short one mile walk among some of the most amazing trees on the planet and includes discussions on redwood ecology and hands-on activities.
Self-guided Tours: Available by prior arrangement. There are many opportunities for self-guided school field trips within the diverse habitats of the park including old growth redwood forest, riverside riparian habitat, sandhills chaparral and grasslands.
Roaring Camp Railroad
Roaring Camp Railroad, a tourist railroad business next to Henry Cowell, is a heritage railway with authentic 1880’s steam locomotives operating on our Redwood Forest Steam Train excursion and 1920's era Beach Trains to Santa Cruz. Visit http://www.roaringcamp.com/ or call 831-335-4484 for more information.
- All natural and cultural features are protected by law; do not disturb them.
- Camping and fires are permitted only in designated areas.
- Dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet and are allowed only in picnic areas and campsites and on the Meadow Trail, Pipeline Road, Graham Hill Trail, and Powder Mill Fire Road. Except for service animals, dogs are not permitted on other trails or fire roads or anywhere in the Fall Creek Unit. Dogs are not permitted on the Redwood Grove Loop trail.
- All pets must be attended at all times and confined in a tent or vehicle at night.
- Camping, bicycles, smoking, and fires are prohibited in the Fall Creek Unit.
- Stay on established trails and out of all undeveloped areas and unlabeled trails.
- Be alert for rattlesnakes and mountain lions. Check for ticks after hiking.
- Poison oak flourishes in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Its leaves grow in groups of three, with gently lobed edges. The plant may appear as a bush, vine, or ground cover with green or reddish leaves. Many people are allergic to its oil.
Available Activities and Facilities at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Drinking Water Available