Trip Planner:   USA  /  California  /  Santa Cruz  /  Nature  /  Wilder Ranch State Park
Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz
(4.7/5 based on 160+ reviews on the web)
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 Portolà 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

15 days in United States BY A USER FROM TURKEY May, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 4 days in Santa Cruz BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, outdoors, romantic, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, outdoors, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 4 days in Santa Cruz BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 4 days in Santa Cruz BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, outdoors, romantic, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, outdoors, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 22 days in California BY A USER FROM SLOVENIA July, teens, kids, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in California BY A USER FROM SLOVENIA July, teens, kids, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Santa Cruz BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, relaxing, romantic, shopping, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: December, culture, relaxing, romantic, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 40 days in California BY A USER FROM CHINA December, outdoors, relaxing, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, outdoors, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 4 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: December, culture, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 29 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in United States BY A USER FROM CHILE December, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 18 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, teens, kids, popular PREFERENCES: January, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Santa Cruz CA1 North about 10 minutes drive from can and is worth a visit, where children have not. Tree Park put Gages Malo tree branches, he then played over time. Even though Wilder ranch just goats, cattle, horses, not so much fun. Well, where local people would be.
    View original
  • Not as famous as Point Lobos but still very nice (easy) trail to walk besides the amazing cliffs and bluffs. Go all the way to the cave (going down to the beach is easy) and later to the seal colony. 
  • Beautiful coastal setting with hiking & bicycle trails for all ages and abilities...where we followed a beach side trail hike with a picnic in the historical ranch area...Never tire of this extraordin...  more »
Google
  • Wilde Ranch is a beautiful place to bike or hike. It has both historic ranch buildings including the original rancho home, Victorian home, barns/stables, and old farm equipment. You can hike along the California coastline with beautiful views and sandy but typically windy beaches. It's perfect for a solo or family outing and conveniently located off of Hwy 1.
  • Great little coastal hike with the added bonus of some grottos on the way. Very easy and flat, and the perfect temperature.There was fresh water flowing into the caves allowing some cool ferns to grow. I suspect the water came from the brussel sprout farms nearby. Apparently this ranch is responsible for 12% of the domestic crop, making it number one on many children's hit lists.
  • Wonderful low-key hiking amongst gorgeous scenery and adorable fauna.
  • Walking around the ranch buildings and environs is great with small children. We like to explore the climbing trees by the road, the overgrown aloe plant mazes, and see the farm animals. The tours are wonderful for history enthusiasts.
  • Great for mountain biking, demoed a bike from Santa Cruz bikes and was able to ride for 2 hours and covered most of the different loops in the park. Great time and nice views, scenery and trails for different levels of mountain biking.