Get Out This Thanksgiving at California State Parks

Trot off the turkey in the great outdoors.

All around Menlo Park and Atherton, California's state parks are teeming with plants, animals, and geology of the spectacular coastal bluffs. Here’s a look at some Thanksgiving week hikes and activities at area California State Parks. Why not work off those Thanksgiving day calories and enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family?


Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Located 9 miles outside of Boulder Creek on Hwy 236. (831) 338-8883


Redwood Loop Walk

Every Saturday and Sunday in November at 1 p.m.

AND Friday, November 23 at 1 p.m.

How do these grand redwoods grow to be so old? So tall? How are they important to humans? Join us for this fun and informative guided half-mile stroll through a magnificent old-growth redwood forest. Meet the famous Mother Tree, the Father of the Forest and the incredible Chimney Tree on this 90-minute walk. Stroller and wheelchair accessible. Meet at Park Headquarters.


Coffee Talk and Crafts

Friday, November 23 from 9 to 11 a.m.

Come to the Sempervirens Room next to Park Headquarters for free coffee or hot chocolate! This is a great way to start your day in Big Basin. Docent Norm Beeson will be happy to answer your questions about the park and help get you going on the right trail. And bring the kids for a fun craft activity!


The Road Less Traveled—A Dog-Friendly Walk

Saturday, November 24 at 1 pm

On this dog-friendly walk, we travel on North Escape Road, a paved road closed to traffic. We tour stunning old-growth redwood groves along beautiful Opal Creek. We'll discuss redwood ecology and park history while exploring the deep shade of the redwood forest. This is a fun, easy, three-mile, two-hour roundtrip walk with docent Elise Scripps and her dog Brie. Dogs not required, but welcome! Bring water. Meet at Park Headquarters.


Footsteps of the Founders

Sunday, November 25 at Noon

This moderate five-mile, four-hour loop walk will take you back in time to the origins of our oldest state park. Discover the redwoods and other treasures that inspired the movement to save the trees. Docent Doreen Devorah will share stories of the park’s first human inhabitants, pioneering homesteaders and early redwood conservationists. We’ll pass historical places of interest and enjoy views of Slippery Rock and Sempervirens Falls. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Events made possible by California State Park Docents, California State Parks and Mountain Parks Foundation.

Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park

Located on School St. off of Mission and Emmet Street in Santa Cruz. (831) 425-5849


Adobe Tour

Saturday, November 24 from 1 to 2 p.m.

Join us for a guided tour of the oldest building in Santa Cruz.  Come learn about the many people that have called this 180 year old adobe their home.  Tours are free and are conducted rain or shine.


Events made possible by California State Park Docents, California State Parks and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks.


Wilder Ranch State Park

Located two miles north of Santa Cruz, on Highway 1. (831) 426-0505


Wilder Ranch Living History Demonstrations and Ranch Tours—weekends from 11 a.m.  to 3 p.m.  Tour of the ranch houses at 1 p.m.
Visit an early day dairy ranch in Santa Cruz County and step back in time to the late 1800’s at Wilder Ranch State Park.  Weekends at 1:00p.m., join the 1-hour tour of the 1897 Victorian home, 1896 water-powered machine shop, and other historic buildings.  You can also play Victorian games or bring a picnic to enjoy on the front lawn, visit the farm animals and see what activities are taking place on the ranch this weekend. You may learn about hand quilting, watch blacksmithing, or learn about the Meder Family voyage to California.  Master quilter Carolyn Miller demonstrates hand quilting on November 11 and 25 from 10am to 2 pm. Call (831)426-0505 for more weekend scheduled activities.


Wilder Ranch Coast Nature Walks

Saturday, November 24, at 11  a.m.

On these two-hour natural history excursions you will explore the plants, animals, and geology of the spectacular coastal bluffs. Meet at the Wilder Ranch interpretive center. Bring a snack, water, binoculars, and good walking shoes.  Binoculars are available to borrow.  Rain cancels.


Events made possible by California State Park Docents, California State Parks and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks.


Natural Bridges State Beach

Located at the end of West Cliff Dr. in Santa Cruz. (831) 423-4609


Tours of the Monarch Grove

All Saturdays and Sundays now through January at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Join a Docent Naturalist for a tour of a state designated insect preserve. Thousands of monarch butterflies return each fall to one of the larger over-wintering sites along the California coast. Learn the story of this beautiful creature and its fascinating seasonal migration. Public tours are offered on weekends and no reservations are necessary, or you may call 423-4609 to arrange a tour for a group of 10 or more. Meet at the Visitor Center for the hour-long program.

Events made possible by California State Park Docents, California State Parks and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks.

commuter November 22, 2012 at 03:20 AM
My favorite Bay Area park is Angel Island State Park. Great scenery, nature, history, and exercise. You can get there using public transportation.


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