Santa Cruz Mountains

Finding Frank Norris in the Santa Cruz Mountains

A memorial to a pioneer of American literature sits unseen 10 miles west of Gilroy.

A gargantuan spiderweb hangs across the steep dirt road. It shimmers, translucent in the sunlight, slack lines nearly imperceptible. As I duck the web and trudge further up the road's corkscrew turn, the thick brush, thistle, weeds and poison oak part, revealing an ancient looking stone bench on the shoulder above the road.

Rancho San Antonio

On Sunday afternoons, trails in the lower section of the park double as community promenade. Traci Hukill photo.

Maybe the Peninsula's most beloved park.

Fascinating Facts About Mountain Lions

Mountain lion kitten known as '40F' in the arms of a researcher from the Santa Cruz Puma Project. Photo by Yiwei Wang.

Pumas thrive in the mountains above Silicon Valley.

No Left Turn Unstoned in La Honda

Ken Kesey's infamous house today.

The rolling grasslands of La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve are like a sublime hallucination this time of year; their contours, a sensuous geometry. A breeze sweeps through the clearing and the lush green shivers with life. The velvety slopes make me want to strip off my clothes and perform wild, flailing somersaults down the hill.

Pescadero Creek Park

Mule's ear at Pescadero Creek County Park. Photo by Miguel Vieira/CC.

Remote redwood hikes and trail camps.

How To Capture A Mountain Lion

Cajun, a Plott hound, and his two English coonhound counterparts, Sage and Randy, wait for their chance to track a mountain lion.  Brendan Bane photo.

Biology and age-old instinct make hounds the perfect tool to help researchers capture elusive mountain lions. But the practice has come under pressure since the 2012 ban on hunting with dogs.

The Tallest Redwoods in The Great Park

Ten of the 14 biggest trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains are found in Big Basin. Photo: Allie Caulfield

The loftiest trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains are more than 300 feet tall—and you'll find them all inside the Great Park.

The Horrors of the Summit Tunnel

The history of Wrights Tunnel in the Santa Cruz Mountains—once the second longest railroad tunnel in California—is a tale of death, greed and bigotry.

Hike The Great Park: Ocean View Summit

The view from Ocean View Summit is very similar to this one from McCrary Ridge: forested ridges leading to the sparkling Pacific. Photo by Miguel Vieira on Wikimedia Commons.

This Big Basin hike offers a stunning summit-to-sea perspective on the Great Park, a 200-square-mile swath of Santa Cruz Mountain redwood forest.

UCSC Researchers Have a Mountain Lion Kitten

Mountain lion kitten known as '40F' in the arms of a researcher from the Santa Cruz Puma Project. Photo by Yiwei Wang.

The Santa Cruz Puma Project will study human impact on newborn cougars.