|Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park|
|Location||Santa Cruz County, California, United States|
|Nearest town||Felton, California|
|Area||4,623 acres (18.71 km2)|
|Governing body||California Department of Parks and Recreation|
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a state park of California, United States, preserving mainly forest and riparian areas in the watershed of the San Lorenzo River, including a grove of old-growth coast redwood. 4,623-acre (1,871 ha) park was established in 1954.It is located in Santa Cruz County, primarily in the area between the cities of Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley, near the community of Felton and the University of California at Santa Cruz. The park includes a non-contiguous extension in the Fall Creek area north of Felton. The
The main park covers approximately 1,750 acres (7.1 km2), and the separate Fall Creek (not to be confused with the Fall Creek farther north in San Mateo County) unit contains an additional 2,390 acres (9.7 km2). The park lies within the southern end of the Northern California coastal forests ecoregion. In the numerous stream canyons live large populations of coast redwood, coast Douglas fir, California bay laurel, tanbark oak, California hazelnut, bigleaf maple and many other native species.
Up-slope from the redwood forest are found transitional tree species such as Pacific madrone, along with a stand of Ponderosa pine, rare at such a low elevation. Some of the highest and driest ridge slopes in the park support fairly unusual chaparral communities known as "elfin forests" in addition to the rare and unique Santa Cruz Sandhills community. The old-growth grove of coast redwood, approximately 40 acres (16 ha) in size, is located entirely in the original section of the park, surrounded by many species of fern and plentiful redwood sorrel. Surrounding areas, including the non-contiguous Fall Creek unit, were logged extensively in the mid-to-late 1800s for lumber and as fuel for the many lime kilns that used to operate in the area, such as the ones preserved at nearby Cowell Lime Works. Logging activities mostly ceased by the 1920s, and the second growth redwoods are now up to several feet in diameter.
Both portions of the park have much to offer vacationing families or nature enthusiasts. Hiking, fishing (depending on season), seasonal camping (including RV), birdwatching, and a few horse dog-friendly and mountain biking trails, and shopping at the Mountain Parks Nature Store await visitors to this park. Next door to the main parking lot is the Roaring Camp and Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad.
There are over 15 miles (24 km) of hiking trails, some of which lead to small, isolated sandy beaches on the San Lorenzo River, and others with overlook views of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with peeks at Monterey Bay.
The park has a more modern visitor center, which is open year-round to the public, and is staffed by California Parks employees and volunteer docents. Additionally, the Mountain Parks Nature Store is open during most park hours, and there is a direct entrance from the park's main parking lot to the grounds of Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad.
The Redwood Grove comprises old-growth "virgin" redwoods, the oldest trees of which are approximately 1,400–1,800 years old and grow to approximately 300 feet (91 m) tall and over 16 feet (4.9 m) in diameter. Referred to by locals as "the loop," the grove is primarily a self-guided walk—but on most summer weekends, and many other times year-round, free guided walks led by docents or park employees are available. Featured on the loop are unique old-growth redwoods, including one with albino growth lignotubers and the John C. Fremont tree (a tree hollowed out by fire that was once used as a resort honeymoon room). Next to the park's entrance kiosk, all three known types of redwood trees, the Coast Redwood, the Giant Sequoia, and the Dawn Redwood (the latter two not native to the area) are planted together, providing a unique place to instantly compare and contrast the members of this family of trees.
This park provides a good environment for the study of different habitats. Habitats in this park, often changing back and forth within a few hundred feet of one another, include riparian, sandhill community, mixed evergreen, and redwood forests. Anglers fish for Steelhead and salmon during the winter. There is a picnic area overlooking the San Lorenzo River.
Besides roads, the park may also be reached by the Santa Cruz, Big Trees and Pacific Railway. Tent and RV camping with no hook ups are available several miles from the main entrance to the park.
The Garden of Eden is a popular swimming hole in the San Lorenzo River within Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
It is accessible via Ox Fire Road off Highway 9 and has a parking area located 0.75 miles south of the park's main entrance. This route requires approximately 1.5 miles of hiking, roundtrip, with an elevation change of 200 feet.
The water depth at the Garden of Eden is insufficient to cushion the many large, sharp rocks on the pool's bottom and, as such, diving is not permitted. Likewise, alcohol, dogs, fires, and glass containers are also prohibited in the area.
The northern extension of Henry Cowell State Park, called Fall Creek Unit, contains over 20 miles (30 km) of hiking trails, mostly along the creeks that flow year-round and make beautiful mini waterfalls during the rainy season (November–March). There is also an 18-hole Disc Golf course run by a local school (Nature Academy). Along Fall Creek are the ruins of a 19th-century lime manufacturing operation, including a quarry and lime kilns built by I.X.L. Lime Company (established in 1874). The lime works were later acquired by industrialist Henry Cowell.
The Fall Creek in Santa Cruz County originates near Empire Grade Road, and flows 4–5 miles South and South-East before it meets San Lorenzo River, east of Highway 9.
Dogs and bicycles are not allowed in the Fall Creek Unit.
During the 1830s and 40s, when California was still part of Mexico, large land grants were created, called "ranchos". The lands now included in the State Park were once parts of three different ranchos. Rancho Cañada del Rincon en el Rio San Lorenzo, Rancho Zayante and Rancho Carbonera. By 1865, most of the former rancho lands had been subdivided. Industrialist Henry Cowell purchased 6,500 acres (26 km2) of the former Rancho Cañada del Rincon en el Rio San Lorenzo, including 1,600 acres (6 km2) of forest, in 1865, adding to his quarrying and lime operations in the vicinity. A significant number of buildings in San Francisco were built using the redwood and limestone products from this area. In the 1920s the owners of a large resort adjacent to Henry Cowell's holdings raised support for the County of Santa Cruz to buy and preserve their pristine redwood lands, an action finally approved of, in large part thanks to the work of California Lieutenant Governor, the Hon. William Jeter, in 1930. Eventually philanthropist Samuel Cowell, aged 90, last of the Cowell line, (and endower for Cowell Hall at the University of San Francisco), donated the rest of what became the Park to the State, but only under the condition that Santa Cruz County also give up its nearby portion of the land (Big Trees Park) to the State so that it could all be managed together. Thus, the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park was officially created on August 15, 1954. The separate Fall Creek unit was added later.
In February 1973, serial killer Herbert Mullin killed 4 teens who were camping at the state park.
The Santa Cruz Mountains, part of the Pacific Coast Ranges, are a mountain range in central and northern California, United States. They form a ridge down the San Francisco Peninsula, south of San Francisco. They separate the Pacific Ocean from the San Francisco Bay and the Santa Clara Valley, and continue south to the Central Coast, bordering Monterey Bay and ending at the Salinas Valley. The range passes through the counties of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey, with the Pajaro River forming the southern boundary.
Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a state park of California, United States, containing Rockefeller Forest, the world's largest remaining contiguous old-growth forest of coast redwoods. It is located 30 miles (48 km) south of Eureka, California, near Weott in southern Humboldt County, within Northern California, named after the great nineteenth-century scientist, Alexander von Humboldt. The park was established by the Save the Redwoods League in 1921 largely from lands purchased from the Pacific Lumber Company. Beginning with the dedication of the Raynal Bolling Memorial Grove, it has grown to become the third-largest park in the California State Park system, now containing 51,651 acres (20,902 ha) through acquisitions and gifts to the state.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of California, located in Santa Cruz County, about 36 km (22 mi) northwest of Santa Cruz. The park contains almost all of the Waddell Creek watershed, which was formed by the seismic uplift of its rim, and the erosion of its center by the many streams in its bowl-shaped depression.
The San Lorenzo River is a 29.3 miles (47.2 km) long river whose headwaters originate in Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains and flow south by southeast through the San Lorenzo Valley before passing through Santa Cruz and emptying into Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Portola Redwoods State Park is a 2800-acre state park in Northern California situated in San Mateo County. The parks' primary watercourses - Peters Creek, Pescadero Creek and their associated tributaries -converge at Portola Redwoods State Park. Tip Toe Falls is a small waterfall along Fall Creek, a tributary of Pescadero Creek.
The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park is a state park of California, United States, protecting a secondary forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is located outside Aptos, California and contains over 40 miles (64 km) of hiking trails and fire roads through 10,223 acres (4,137 ha) of variable terrain.
Waddell Creek is the name given to both the creek and the watershed that run through Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz County, California. The Waddell Creek mainstem is formed by the confluence of East and West Waddell Creeks, and empties into the Pacific Ocean at Waddell Beach, just south of Año Nuevo Point.
Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve, which includes Waddell Marsh, is located at the mouth of Waddell Creek, a coastal freshwater marsh that is one of the rarest habitats on the Central Coast of California. This marsh is one of the few relatively undisturbed bodies of fresh water left along the West coast. The land is 23 acres of wetland habitat. It is part of the Rancho del Oso Big Basin Redwoods State Park, located approximately 65 miles south of San Francisco. The elevation in the park ranges from sea level to over 2,000 feet. The area was named after William W. Waddell, who established the last of his four sawmills there in 1868. The sawmill ran down after his death in 1875. All the boilers were left in the area; they are now completely surrounded by second-growth redwoods. Other trees found in the park are conifers, and oaks. Within the park there are different vegetation types to be seen, such as chaparral, redwood forests, and riparian habitats.
Sempervirens Fund, originally established in 1900 as Sempervirens Club, is California's oldest land trust. Founder Andrew P. Hill’s goal was to preserve the old-growth forest that became Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the first California state park in 1902. Sempervirens Fund's mission is to protect and permanently preserve coast redwood forests, wildlife habitat, watersheds, and other important natural features of California's Santa Cruz Mountains, and to encourage people to appreciate and enjoy this environment. Sempervirens Fund does this by purchasing land for protection and transferring it to state or local agencies. Sempervirens Fund has also worked to establish conservation easements and trail linkages between parks and coastal marine preserves. As of 2013, Sempervirens Fund has saved more than 34,000 acres of redwood lands.
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is a state park, located in Humboldt County, California, near the town of Orick and 50 miles (80 km) north of Eureka. The 14,000 acre (57 km²) park is a coastal sanctuary for old-growth Coast Redwood trees.
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The Redwood Grove of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, which is located in Santa Cruz County in Northern California, is a grove of Coast Redwoods with member trees extending into the 1400- to 1800-year-old range. This grove is notable because it allows for the use of self-guided tours of the flat, 0.8-mile (1.3 km) loop trail which is easily accessible. Dozens of large, old Redwood trees are located within a few feet of the walking trail.
Rancho San Antonio County Park and Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve are a conjoined public recreational area in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in the northwest quadrant of Santa Clara County, California. The County Park is bordered by Los Altos with some parts of the eastern part of the County Park in western Cupertino. The Open Space Preserve is on the west side of the County Park, also bordered by Los Altos Hills, Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, and the Permanente Quarry.
The Cowell Lime Works, in Santa Cruz, California, was a manufacturing complex that quarried limestone, produced lime and other limestone products, and manufactured wood barrels for transporting the finished lime. Part of its area is preserved as the Cowell Lime Works Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. In addition to the four lime kilns, cooperage and other features relating to lime manufacture, the Historic District also includes other structures associated with the Cowell Ranch, including barns, a blacksmith shop, ranch house, cook house and workers' cabins. The 32-acre Historic District is located within the University of California, Santa Cruz campus, to either side of the main campus entrance.
Zayante is a census-designated place (CDP) in Santa Cruz County, California. It is a residential area located on Zayante Creek. Zayante sits at an elevation of 699 feet (213 m). The 2010 United States census reported Zayante's population was 705.
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. Public beaches continue to the north in Coast Dairies State Park.
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San Vicente Redwoods is an emerging 8,500 acres (34 km2) mixed-use open space in Davenport, California. It is the largest privately owned parcel in Santa Cruz County and one of the largest in California.
The Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is a public open space preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The preserve is located along both sides of Bear Creek Road, west of State Route 17 and Lexington Reservoir, and mostly north and east of the Skyline Boulevard and Summit Road sections of State Route 35. It surrounds the Presentation Center, a conference and retreat facility run by the Sisters of Presentation.
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