Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park


Where? : The Park is located in the small town of Felton, 8 miles north of Santa Cruz on hwy 9.

Google Map Link


What? : Large Redwood park with a running stream and train attraction nearby.


When? : year round, at summer you can enjoy the river.


Due note 1: This is a state park so there is a 10$ paying station at the main park entrance so many people park their car on the side of hwy 9 road.


Due note 2: There are some trails that are dog friendly.


My thoughts: The park is nice although it can be crowded with many visitors during weekends. It is friendly to strollers and some trails are available to mountain bikers. There is even camping sites at the higher park section.

The visit:

Park at the main parking lot, you will find here the visitor center and the bookstore. From here you will have easy access to the Redwood Grove Loop Trail: 0.8 mile well maintained, stroller accessible, loop trail that is will take into the large Redwood trees grove.

You can also go to the river below and hike a short section of the easy going and paved Pipeline road.


From the end of the redwood grove loop you can keep hiking into the main park section, just keep going to Pipeline road and walk under the train bridge.

A safety note about the railroad: this is an active track with the steam train passing from time to time, the bridge itself is not safe for hiking and there aren’t any side platforms to escape into if a train coming when you are in the middle of the bridge.


From the train bridge you have few options to hike:

1.      Take the Pipeline road, this paved road (good for bike and strollers) climb the ridge and after 1.1 mile from the train bridge you will reach a small bench and a viewing opening in the trees. From here you can see all the way to Santa Cruz. You can keep walking another 1.4 mile on Pipeline road all the way to it end at Graham Hill Rd. Once you are done you will need to go back on the same trail.

2.      Take the River Trail that for it first section is in parallel to the Pipeline road, at Cable Car Beach (easy river access) take the unnamed trail that going up and connect to Rincon Fire Road trail. Take the way back on Pipeline Road back to the starting point.

3.      Start as option #2, at Cable Car Beach take Eagle Creek Trail up to the Pipeline road, keep going up all the way to the Campground area. From here you have few options, I will recommend taking the Pine Trail right, after 0.6 mile you will reach the deck viewing point. From here take the Ridge Fire Rd down to Pipeline road or hike along the river in the same direction.


There are other trails that can provide river access mainly by using Rincon Fire Road (wide trail), need to check what are the river crossing options.


Overall, this is large nearby redwood forest that offer many options for hikes. After visiting the park, you can go and eat at Santa Cruz and enjoy the afternoon over there.

Roaring Camp and the Steam engines:

Just across the main parking lot you can visit the privately owned Steam engine train.

This is nice full functioning and working steam engine that is doing train rides along the old tracks. It is nice to see this steam engine still working and the kids will also enjoy seeing the blacksmith in action and some other activities.