Trip Planner:   USA  /  California  /  Santa Cruz  /  Nature  /  Wilder Ranch State Park

Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz

(180+ reviews on the web)
State Park Nature / Park
Wilder Ranch State Park is a California State Park on the Pacific Ocean coast north of Santa Cruz, California. The park was formerly a dairy ranch, and many of the ranch buildings have been restored for use as a museum. There are no campgrounds; a day-use parking lot provides access to the museum. Dogs are prohibited on the trails, but many trails allow bikes and/or horses. The long trails and ocean views make the area a favorite of hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers.HistoryThe first European land exploration of Alta California, the Spanish PortolĂ  expedition, followed the coast in this area on its way north, camping at today's Majors Creek (now the northern park boundary) on October 18, 1769. On its way through today's Santa Cruz County, the explorers bestowed a few important names which survive today: Pajaro River, San Lorenzo River and Santa Cruz. On the return journey to San Diego, the party camped at the same spot on November 21. Franciscan missionary Juan Crespi noted in his diary the difficulty of moving along this part of the coast: "The road on this march was very troublesome, on account of the frequent gulches along the way."When Mission Santa Cruz was established in 1791, the area became part of the mission pasture lands. Secularization of the missions in 1834 divided the mission lands into large land grants called "ranchos". Wilder Ranch was part of Rancho Refugio, a Mexican land grant of 1839. Historic buildings include part of the adobe rancho house built around that time by rancho grantee Jose Bolcoff.
Plan to visit Wilder Ranch State Park and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Santa Cruz attractions using our Santa Cruz vacation generator.
Source
Create a full Santa Cruz itinerary
map

Plan your trip to Santa Cruz

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans in Santa Cruz by other users

19 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 18 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, outdoors, beaches, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 17 days in West Coast BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 14 days in United States BY A USER FROM CANADA August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in California BY A USER FROM PORTUGAL July, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, relaxing, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 29 days in United States BY A USER FROM SPAIN June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 30 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, kids, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 30 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, kids, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids, culture, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 7 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in San Jose & Santa Cruz BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, kids, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Santa Cruz BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, kids, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We were driving to Wilder Ranch State Park and noted an entrance off the highway that had a small parking area (where two lines of cars could park-all parallel). We chose to take it and followed some ...  more »
  • Great all day place to explore, watch the ocean, see the waves, ride bikes , sit on a bench and Ponder. beautiful views!! pack a lunch. Discover some California History and first Families.  more »
  • Great place for a hike or a casual stroll. Beautiful views and nature to enjoy. Your daily parking pass is good at any of the other state parks for that day. After we visited here, we scooted up to He...  more »
Google
  • This state park features a historic house and farm that is great for a quick visit with family. The main attraction, however, is the extension mountain biking and hiking system that extends from the coast up into the hills. The parking is a bit expensive but it helps fund and maintain the park. Winter is generally not a good time for the trails as they can get quite muddy in some areas.
  • Three fantastic beaches in this park - Four Mile, Three Mile and Strawberry Beach. You will have the sand almost to your self on a week day.
  • Beautiful trails along the coast and coastal forest. Great place for hiking or biking!
  • Awesome trails to hike or mountain bike. Tons of wildlife. Pristine open fields, wooded areas, and trails.
  • Gorgeous place for picnic and families. Cute chicken coop and beautiful barn houses! Can book a tour of the farm with the main office phone, I believe.