You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge

California State Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
Central Coast & Central Valley Region
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
start slideshow
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park © Runner1928 / CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Preserved by Samuel H. Cowell and the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors in cooperation with the California State Park Commission. Dedicated August 15, 1954.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park © Marty Aligata / CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Photograph of the base of a coast redwood tree known as The Giant located at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, in Santa Cruz County, California photo taken June 2022
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park © Larry McElhiney / CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Redwood Grove. Tale of the Rings sign explaining the slice of a 2200-year-old Redwood tree.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park © Runner1928 / CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Bridge over San Lorenzo River
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park © Runner1928 / CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Very old tree with rings. As old as the birth of Jesus Christ.
Availability Search
2591 Graham Hill Road
Scotts Valley, California   95060

Phone: 831-438-2396
Reservations: 831-335-4598
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, located's Santa Cruz Mountains, is a natural sanctuary boasting 1,750 acres of old-growth redwood trees. The park features stunning landscapes with diverse ecosystems including lush forests and riparian areas along the San Lorenzo River. Visitors can explore over 20 miles of hiking trails or visit the nature center to learn about local wildlife and ecology. It also offers picnic spots, camping facilities as well as seasonal fishing opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.
Nature of the Area
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, located in California's Santa Cruz Mountains, is a natural sanctuary characterized by its towering old-growth redwood forest. The park spans over 4,650 acres of diverse ecosystems including riparian zones along the San Lorenzo River and sandy beaches that offer stunning views of Monterey Bay. It also features grasslands dotted with oaks and pines as well as chaparral-covered ridges offering panoramic vistas. Wildlife such as deer, bobcats and various bird species are commonly spotted within this serene environment which offers visitors an array of outdoor activities like hiking through trails winding amidst majestic trees or exploring limestone caves formed from marine deposits millions years ago.
History of the Area
Located in Santa Cruz County, the park was established in 1954. It's named after Henry Cowell, a local businessman and philanthropist.

Cowell owned Big Trees Ranch where he operated a successful lime kiln business during the late 19th century.

After his death in 1903, his family sold some of their land to S.H. Cowell Foundation who donated it for public use.

The state purchased additional adjacent lands over time expanding its size to approximately 1,750 acres today.

It is renowned for its old-growth redwood grove which includes trees that are more than two millennia old.

In addition to preserving these ancient giants, this area also protects grasslands and riparian habitats along with diverse wildlife species.

Today it offers recreational activities like hiking trails through towering Redwoods as well as educational programs about nature conservation efforts at visitor centers.
Day-UseHiking Trailyes
1. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Campground: Offers 113 campsites for tents, trailers and RVs with picnic tables and fire rings.

2. Garden of Eden: A day-use area only; overnight camping is not allowed but it's perfect for picnicking or swimming.

3. Observation Deck Camping Area: Allows tent-only camping in a secluded spot near the observation deck overlooking Santa Cruz Mountains.

4. Pipeline Road Backcountry Sites: These are primitive sites accessible by hiking trails, offering solitude amidst redwood groves (no amenities).

5. Sempervirens Campground - Big Basin Redwoods SP: Located nearby; offers family-friendly campgrounds within towering ancient redwoods.

6. Pine Mountain Tent-Only Site: Nearby Butano State Park provides this serene site surrounded by pine forest canopy.

7. Sunset Trail Campsites: Castle Rock State park located closeby has these backcountry campsites that require hike-in access.

The park offers fishing in the San Lorenzo River, home to steelhead trout and coho salmon. A valid California fishing license is required for anglers aged 16 or older. The best time to fish is during winter months when these species migrate upstream from the ocean.

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park offers picnic areas with tables, BBQ grills and restrooms. Alcohol consumption is allowed in designated areas only.
1. Redwood Grove Loop Trail: This is a 0.8-mile easy trail that takes hikers through an ancient grove of old-growth redwoods, featuring the tallest tree in the park which stands at over 277 feet.

2. River Trail: A moderate difficulty level trail stretching for about five miles along the San Lorenzo river, offering scenic views and opportunities to spot wildlife like otters or kingfishers.

3. Pipeline Road: An approximately six mile long multi-use fire road with gentle inclines and declines making it suitable for hiking as well as mountain biking; offers panoramic views of Santa Cruz Mountains.

4. Observation Deck Loop: At just under one mile round trip from Park Headquarters this short hike leads up to a deck providing expansive vistas across Monterey Bay on clear days.

5. Eagle Creek Trail: It's around two miles long leading uphill into more remote areas of Henry Cowell State Park where you can enjoy solitude amidst towering trees and lush vegetation.

6. Pine Tree Trail: Approximately three-quarters-of-a-mile loop starting near campground entrance showcasing different types of pine species found within California's coastal region including Knobcone Pine & Bishop Pine among others.

7. Powder Mill Fire Road - Rincon Fire Road - Big Rock Hole Pathway: A moderately difficult seven-and-half-miles-long route combining several trails/roads taking hikers past historical sites such as lime kilns before ending by serene swimming hole known locally as 'Big Rock Hole'.

8. Sandhill Bluff Overlook Spur: This half-a-mile spur off Eagle Creek Trial provides stunning overlook onto Sandhills habitat area characterized by sandy soil supporting unique flora/fauna adapted specifically to these conditions

9. Fall Creek Unit Trails: Particularly popular during rainy season due its numerous waterfalls/creeks running alongside most paths here; total length varies depending upon chosen routes but generally range between two-to-seven miles per circuit
Bicycling is permitted on paved roads and fire trails. Be cautious, as some areas have steep terrain.

Mountain biking can be challenging due to the park's hilly landscape. Always wear a helmet for safety.

The Pipeline Road offers an easy ride with gentle slopes suitable for beginners or family outings.

Riders should note that bicycles are not allowed in certain sections of the park including all single-track trails.

For those seeking more adventure, Rincon Fire Road provides steeper inclines and rougher terrains but requires advanced skills.

Always respect trail closures; they're often put in place to protect wildlife habitats or prevent erosion damage.

Remember: cyclists must yield right-of-way to pedestrians and horseback riders at all times within this natural reserve area.

Check local regulations before your visit since rules may change depending upon seasonality or specific conservation efforts underway.

Lastly, always carry water during rides because hydration stations might not be readily available throughout these scenic routes.
Unearth hidden treasures in the heart of majestic redwoods. Geocaching here is a thrilling blend of hiking, navigation and treasure hunting.

Discover caches stashed along scenic trails or tucked away near ancient trees. Each cache offers unique trinkets for trade - remember to bring your own!

Navigate through towering forests using GPS coordinates provided by fellow geocachers online; it's like an adventurous scavenger hunt with nature as your playground.

Challenge yourself on more difficult routes that require off-trail exploration and climbing - perfect for seasoned adventurers seeking adrenaline-pumping excitement!

For families, there are easier options too: enjoy gentle hikes while searching for easily accessible caches filled with kid-friendly goodies. It's educational fun wrapped up in adventure!

Remember to respect park rules during this exciting quest: don't disturb wildlife or vegetation, leave no trace behind except footprints...and maybe some new swag inside found caches!

So grab those walking boots and embark on a memorable journey into the wilds where natural beauty meets high-tech hide-and-seek.
The park offers a variety of birding opportunities with over 200 species, including owls and woodpeckers. Birdwatchers can explore different habitats such as redwood groves, riverfront areas, and sandhill environments. The Fall Creek Unit is particularly popular for spotting birds.
Area Attractions
Roaring Camp Big Trees Railroad is next door to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. A brochure with general train information is available at the main entrance kiosk. You can call 831-335-4484 for more information. You can pay the day use fee, park in our parking lot, and walk a hundred yards to Roaring Camp.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
write a review
Share On

Area Campgrounds
Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA Holiday
1186 San Andreas Road
Watsonville, CA
Santa Cruz Ranch Campground
917 Disc Drive
Scotts Valley, CA
Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA
1186 San Andreas Road
La Selva Beach, CA
Beach RV Park
2505 Portola Drive
Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Vida RV Park & Campground
1611 Branciforte Drive
Santa Cruz, CA
Seacliff Center Trailer Park
234 State Park Drive
Aptos, CA
Cotillion Gardens RV Park
300 Old Big Trees Road
Felton, CA
River Grove Resort
4980 Highway 9
Felton, CA
Smithwoods RV Park
4770 Highway 9
Felton, CA
Nearby Hotels
- Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet at all times.
- Dogs are not allowed in the park's backcountry or trails.
- Only service animals can accompany visitors into buildings and non-dog-friendly areas.
- Pet owners should always clean up after their pets, disposing of waste properly.
- Unattended pets are strictly prohibited within the state park boundaries.
- Excessive noise from dogs is discouraged to maintain peace for other guests and wildlife.

Directions from San Francisco:.

- Get on US-101 S.
- Merge onto I-280 S towards San Jose.
- Continue for about 50 miles.

Next steps:

- Take exit 5C to merge onto CA17-S toward Santa Cruz.
- Drive approximately 22 miles southbound on Highway CA17.

Reaching the park:

- Exit at Mt Hermon Rd in Scotts Valley and drive three miles westward until you reach Graham Hill Road junction.
- Turn right into Graham Hill road, then left after a quarter mile into Felton Empire Road which leads directly to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park entrance.

state route ranger badge

California State Parks