Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is in the Santa Cruz Mountains on California’s central coast. It’s an expansive park with 40 acre grove of old growth redwoods trees, trickling streams, lovely trails to hike or stroll, and perfect spots for picnicking. Other recreational opportunities here include horseback riding, biking, swimming, and camping. You can even head over to Roaring Camp and hitch a ride on a historic steam train from the 1880s.
The main section of the park is where you’ll find the Redwood Grove Loop trail and the visitors center, but a few miles north, an additional day use area is available at the Fall Creek Unit, a section of the park with lush forests, 20 miles of hiking trails, and the Fall Creek Watershed.
Here’s everything you need to know when you’re planning a visit to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Details
Address: 101 Big Trees Park Road, Felton, CA 95018
Hours: Sunrise to Sunset daily
Parking: Day use fee required
Dogs: Dogs are only allowed on a few select trails and in the campground
There are many beautiful hikes to take at Henry Cowell Redwoods. Here are a few to try.
Redwood Grove Loop Trail: Located near the visitor center, the Redwood Grove Loop Trail takes visitors on a path through the 40 acre old growth redwood grove. The trail is flat, accessible, and is just under a mile long, and features interpretive signage.
Cowell Highlights Loop: Beginning at the visitor center, this 6 mile loop takes you past some of the parks favorite features including the observation deck, the overlook bench, the Cathedral Redwoods, and Cable Car Beach.
Kiln Ruins at Fall Creek Unit: This 3-mile out and back takes you through the lush second-growth redwood forest following the creek to the historic kiln ruins. Take Bennett Creek Trail to Fall Creek Trail to South Fork Trail and return the way you came.
Big Ben: To visit this original ancient redwood, one of the few that were not logged in this part of the park, follow the same path as the Kiln Ruins trail above, but continue on the Cape Horn Trail to the Lost Empire Trail. Once you get to Big Ben, you can turn back the way you came. This brings your total hike to about 7.5 miles round trip, with about 1400 feet elevation change.
Camping at Henry Cowell
The Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Campground is located at 2591 Graham Hill Road, Scotts Valley, CA 95060.
There are 107 reservable sites, and reservations are recommended. Campgrounds can accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs, but there are no sewer or water hookups. Campground amenities include coin operated showers, restrooms with flush toilets, ADA accessible sites, potable water, picnic tables, food lockers, fire pits, and grills.
What To See At Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Here are some of the highlights at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
- Redwood Loop Trail – At the visitor center, an .8 mile loop trail that takes you through a 40 acre grove of old growth redwoods with interpretive signage. Stop to see the Fremont Tree while you’re here.
- Observation Deck – One of the parks highest points offers views of Monterey Bay and the surrounding area.
- Fall Creek Unit – Additional section of the park with lush forests, Fall Creek Watershed, and 20 miles of hiking trails. Here you can see Big Ben, Powder Magazine Lime Kiln Ruins, Barrel Mill Area, and Lost Camp.
- Big Ben Tree – One of the remaining old growth redwoods in the Fall Creek Unit.
- Powder Magazine Lime Kilns – Ruins of the lime kilns that operated here until 1919.
- Visitor Center & Mountain Parks Foundation Store – There are great exhibits here to learn about the park with lots of gifts to grab a souvenir.
- Cathedral Redwoods – This grove of redwoods sits in an almost perfect circle.
- Cable Car Beach & Frisbee Beach – Two lovely beach areas along the San Lorenzo River, perfect for wading and swimming.
- Garden of Eden & Big Rock Hole – Two popular spots for jumping into a natural swimming hole along the San Lorenzo River.
- Roaring Camp Railroad – Right next door, Roaring Camp takes visitors on a steam train ride through the redwoods. This is a great family outing!
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Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.