Park Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Visitor Center: 10am-4pm
Mountain Parks Foundation Nature Store: 10am-6pm
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
The Buckeye Trail is closed between river crossings due to extremely rough terrain, making hiking between Buckeye Trail and Big Rock Hole impassible.
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. These skyscraping redwoods were admired by explorer John C. Frémont, President Theodore Roosevelt, and 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 habitat – a rare ancient marine deposits home to endangered animals and plants. Although the campground is linked to the day-use area by trails, vehicles must enter the campground east of Felton, via Graham Hill Road.
Things To Do
EXPERIENCE THE REDWOODS – Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park preserves a 40-acre old-growth redwood grove. This unique ecosystem of ancient coast redwood trees has captured the interest and dedication of many people throughout time. On this 0.8-mile (1.2km) flat loop trail, you will discover the survival adaptation of the coast redwood and the inspiration this grove holds that led to its protection. The largest tree is approximately 277 feet tall and about 1,500 years old. Take a flashlight and step inside the famous Fremont Tree. There’s room for the whole family! Stop by the Visitor Center for a self-guided brochure, click here for a downloadable audio tour, or join us on Saturdays at 11am for a guided tour.
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.
HIKING - For a list of recomended hikes, please click here.
BICYCLING - For a list of recomended bicycle routes, please click here.
PARK EVENTS–We offer a variety of free interpretive programs throughout the year. To see a list of upcoming events and activities, please click here.
CAMPING–The park’s 107-site lies in a shady pine and oak forest, and a separate entrance from the day-use area, which is located off Graham Hill Road in Scotts Valley. Reservations are highly recommended between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Henry Cowell campground closes in the winter season. For more information, please click here. To make reservations, please visit www.reservecalifornia.com.
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 www.roaringcamp.com or call 831-335-4484 for more information.
CAN WE DRIVE THROUGH A GIANT TREE? There are no trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains that you can drive a vehicle through.
There are three trees in northern California that you can drive through. All are located along US Route 101, far north of Santa Cruz County:
1. Chandelier Tree—Leggett, Mendocino County
2. Shrine Drive-Thru Tree—Myer’s Flat, Humboldt County
3. Klamath Tree (or Tour-Thru Tree)—Klamath, Del Norte County
Basic Park Information
FEES - There is a vehicle day-use fee for the day-use area and the campground: Regular sized autos ($10), seniors age 62 or older ($9), bus parking 10-24 passengers ($50), and bus parking for 25+ passengers ($100).
FALL CREEK UNIT 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. Camping, bicycles, smoking, and fires are prohibited in the Fall Creek unit.
DOGS are allowed in the picnic areas and campsites and on the Meadow Trail, Pipeline Road, Graham Hill Trail, and Powder Mill Fire Road. Dogs are not allowed in the Fall Creek Unit. Dogs are not permitted on the old-growth Redwood Grove Loop Trail. Dogs may not be left unattended and must be on a leash no longer than six feet. For a list of locations you can take your dog in Santa Cruz County, please click here.
BICYCLES are allowed 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. For recommended routes, please click here.
HORSES are not allowed on the following trails: Redwood Grove Trail, River Trail, Ox Trail, and Pipeline Road south of Rincon Fire Road.
DRONES are not allowed in the park. To protect wildlife and cultural resources, and for the safety and welfare of visitors and staff, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is closed to the use of Model Aircraft, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and Gliders in flight.
POISON OAK flourishes and is native 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.
PROFESSIONAL/COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY AND FILMING requires a permit through the California Film Commision. For more information, please click here.
WEDDINGS, PARTIES, AND SPECIAL EVENT PERMITS please call (831) 335-6324 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schedule your class for a field trip to Henry Cowell Redwoods for a guided walk through the old-growth redwood forest. For more information, please click here.
Kids2Parks is an innovative park-equity program to bring students from Title 1 schools to State Park field trips. The program, a partnership between California State Parks and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, increases the number of students who have visited a state park or beach by reducing barriers to access. The program offers transportation funding for field trips to select Title 1 schools in Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. For more information, and to apply please visit www.thatsmypark.org/visit/k2p/.
Do you enjoy nature and being outdoors? Do you feel a strong sense of giving to the community, promoting conservation and stewardship, and sharing knowledge with others? You can join our stewardship team and help connect park visitors to our natural and cultural resources. For more information, please click here.