Unbeknownst to me before I moved to California was how there were California Coastal Redwoods south of the Bay Area. While these aren’t as tall or numerous as those in the north, it was still beautiful to spend the day at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. I loved how green and lush it was. Plus, the smells created a sense of peace within.
Best of all, it is only 15 minutes from downtown Santa Cruz and an easy place to check out when you’re in the area.
Your Guide to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Commonly asked questions
Is Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park worth visiting?
Most definitely. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a gem, and I loved strolling through the redwoods, straining my next to see the tops of the trees. It’s a stunning area, and you’ll love stopping by to check it out.
How far of a drive is it from the Bay Area?
It’s a two-hour drive from San Francisco to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. From San Jose, it’s only an hour.
Are dogs allowed?
Yes, dogs are allowed in campsites, picnic areas, and select trails. Confirm with the state park staff when you enter
What are the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park hours?
The state park is open from sunrise to sunset every day of the week. The Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park visitor center is open 10 am – 3 pm Friday through Sunday.
Where else can I see Coastal Redwoods in the area?
There are a few places to see Coastal Redwoods outside of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
- Big Basin Redwoods State Park
- Portola Redwoods State Park
- Bear Creek Redwoods Preserve
- Purisima Creed Redwoods
Where can you stay while in the Henry Cowell area?
The two most popular places to see in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Redwood Grove Loop
The hiking area of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park isn’t too big, making it perfect for a half-day excursion. Starting at the visitor center, hop on the Redwood Grove Loop Trail. This 1-mile walk is flat and suitable for the entire family. It is not paved, though.
Additionally, there will be a wooden fence halfway through with a walkway that leads further into the forest. I’d recommend heading out a bit more to extend the hike and hopefully get away from the crowds.
Garden of Eden
The next big attraction is the Garden of Eden which brings you down to the river. Park here, and then you’ll follow the trail down and then alongside train tracks for about 1.5 miles. You’ll then see a few signs warning people not to dive or jump into the water.
Take this down to the river inside Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. I can only imagine this place is uber-popular with the UC – Santa Cruz kids. I found it nice and peaceful – there were only two others here – but nothing special.
Estimated time needed to enjoy Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park: 2 hours
There’s no need to make Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park a full-day trip or the focal part of any road trip. It’s lovely, but with only a few trails available (there are more by the campground we didn’t get to hike), you can get in and out in no time.
Photography Tips for Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park:
- Bring your widest lens possible or a GoPro. These trees are tall in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and you’ll want to capture all of them.
- Consider a tripod. Under the tree canopy, the light won’t be a luxury. To keep your ISO down, using a tripod and slowing your shutter speed will allow you to create beautiful work without the potential for added noise.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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