South Felton to Wilder Ranch State Park Woodcutter Trail

Just the facts:  8 miles, 1500-2000 elevation gain.  Paved one lane roads, dirt roads, dirt trails.  4 hours.

I started from my home in South Felton (near Jackson Ave and San Lorenzo Ave) walked up to Scenic Drive. This area is private but lots of folks walk around the one-lane paved roads that meander through the redwoods.  Start down Jackson Avenue until it ends and then turn right on Manzanita Avenue (no sign here).  Walk a couple of blocks and turn left on McKinley Way and head down the steep road to Gold Ave.  Walk the U of Gold Ave to Brookside Way and go left until it ends at Lakeview Dr.  Turn left and walk about a half mile to Scenic Drive.  Go left up Scenic Drive, a quiet paved road that climbs around a mile.  Near the top there is a dirt road with a gate after 100 feet.   At the gate a sign tells you that you are entering the upper campus of University of Santa Cruz. This road, named Marshall Trail is not marked from this side but there is a metal gate with a pedestrian walk-through.  Walk along Marshall Road until you come to an open meadow at the top and connect to Chinquapin Fire Road.

If you take a left here you will end up in Santa Cruz’s Pogonip Park to Fuel Break Road.   In 1999 Santa Cruz, the State and the University joined together to complete a trail from Henry Cowell State park to the Pacific Ocean. I want to hike this trail but not in winter — it crosses the San Lorenzo River in Henry Cowell State Park with no bridge.  For this hike you take a right on Chiquapin Fire Road and cross Empire Grade Road and  enter Wilder Ranch State Park. Stay on Chinquapin Trail about a half mile until Woodcutter Trail. Take Woodercutter to right and it is a pretty trail that stays near the ridge and ends 1.9 miles at Smith Grade.  Back track to your car and feel free to choose different paved roads back (like Willow instead of Lakeview).


3 thoughts on “South Felton to Wilder Ranch State Park Woodcutter Trail

  1. Hey, we live right up the hill from you: 1395 Felton Quarry Road (San Lorenzo turns into Felton Quarry, but there’s no sign). We just used one of your entries today to find they way into Fall Creek behind the High School – looking for a brand new geocache that it turns out had faulty coordinates – it was right at the little dammed pool area, but we end up .4 miles away and 600 feet up before we came back to really find it – quite the adventure, especially with a 6 year old!

    Anyway, I wanted to say thanks for the directions on how to get to the High School trail, and say hi to you as a neighbor! Maybe we could hike together sometime. Especially if you’d have an interest in picking up some geocaches along the way (or at least wouldn’t hate it ). Maybe even from here to the sea through Wilder?

    Happy hiking!

    • I would love to hike sometime. I am always looking for new roads/trails. I heard you can hike through the Quarry to Empire Grade Road during the weekends but I haven’t tried it yet! I don’t geocache but I know folks who do and I don’t mind waiting.

  2. I think it would be fun! You can hike through the Quarry (can even drive during work hours if you drive a truck and look like you know what you’re doing), not sure if it is allowed, but I don’t think they’d mind too much. The only thing worth seeing up there is the pond, though, which isn’t natural but does often have herons and such. But I think through upper Forest Lakes is probably a lot nicer and easier going too.

    We are going to the Sierra on Friday for about 10 days – hiking, geocaching, boating, ah! But email me (you have that from my reply, right?) and we could get together to hike after that!

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