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Rancho del Oso Guided Hikes, Talks, & Events

Rancho del Oso is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway One
Directions to the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center: follow the dirt road in from the south side of Waddell Creek Bridge where you see the sign for Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center. 
Directions to the Ranger Station: The ranger station is about a mile in from the green gate directly across the street from the Waddell Beach parking lot.  

July Activities Schedule

Please click here for a monthly downloadable list of programmed events at in area California State Parks.



Let us be your guide on an adventure like no other…

California State Parks Guided Backpacking Adventures

1 Night Trip: Saturday, August 1 to Sunday, August 2

            From Big Basin Redwoods State Park to Waddell Beach

            Cost $80

(Mandatory Pre-Meeting: Monday, July 13 from 6:30 pm to 8 pm)

3 Night Trip: Friday, August 21 to Monday, August 24

            From Castle Rock State Park to Waddell Beach

(Mandatory Pre-Meeting: Wednesday, August 5 from 6:30 pm to 8 pm)

Cost $190

Who better to lead you through our parks than California State Park professionals? Travel from spectacular ridgelines, through old growth redwood forests, to sandy shores with our knowledgeable team of naturalists. Imagine if the Santa Cruz Mountains could speak, and the stories they could tell. Our guides will share the secrets of this precious wilderness and give you a window into the lives of the people who lived here for thousands of years. There is no limit to the personal growth and amazing natural beauty you will experience on your backcountry adventure. For both trips, space is extremely limited   Sign up is on a first-come, first-served basis. Register by calling Cathryn Boult at Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (831) 429-1840 or emailing cathryn@thatsmypark.org. For more detailed information please call (831) 335-6391 or (831) 427-2288 or visit www.thatsmypark.org.

1 Night, 2 Day Trip from August 1 to August 2:

Route: You will begin at Jay Camp, Big Basin Redwoods State Park and travel along the Skyline to Sea Trail and arrive at Waddell Beach, 17 miles North of Santa Cruz on Hwy 1. This trip is approximately 13 miles long, with a net elevation change of 1,000 feet. We will be hiking no more than 8 miles per day. Families are welcome, but please no children under the age of 13. All children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

 

Transportation: You will be required to organize your own transportation for both drop off and pick up.

Cost: $80

*You will be responsible for providing your own food and gear

 

3 Night, 4 Day Trip from August 21 to August 24

Route: You will begin at Castle Rock State Park and travel through the mountains, eventually arriving at Waddell Beach, 17 miles North of Santa Cruz on Hwy 1. This adventure is approximately 30 miles long with a net elevation change of 3,000 feet. We will be hiking no more than 10 miles per day. Families are welcome, but please no children under the age of 13. All children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Transportation: You will be required to organize your own transportation for both drop off and pick up.

Cost: $190

*You will be responsible for providing your own food and gear

 

July Activities

Wildflower Walk

Saturday, July 11 at 10 am

Join docent Scott Peden and learn to identify many of Waddell Valley’s flowering plants within Rancho del Oso’s seven diverse habitats. This walk is a leisurely 4 mile, 4 hour amble that is great for those interested in the natural history of our local flora. Bring lunch, water and spirited fervor! Meet at Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.

 

Snake Park Saturday

Saturday, July 11 at 2 pm

Why are snakes important to us? How do they see, smell, taste, hear? What and how do they eat? What does a snake feel like? Come to the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center to meet Docent Diane Shaw and learn about the fascinating world of snakes. Diane will give a talk about snakes and Naturalist Jeremy Lin will lead a short informative hike to find snakes and other reptiles!

 

Nature Wander

Sunday, July 12 at 1 pm

Find out what’s growing and blooming right now in the Waddell Valley on this approximately 1 mile, 1.5 hour guided walk with docent naturalist Ann Garside. She will share information about the plants of Rancho del Oso as the group walks from coastal scrub through one of the last native stands of Monterey Pine left in the world.  Hike starts at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.

 

Family Days

Saturday, July 18 at 2 pm

Children of all ages welcome! Join us for an afternoon of storytelling, creative crafts and an adventurous nature hike. One of our talented docents will engage all ages with an entertaining story about the natural world. Stay for hands-on craft projects and enjoy an educational jaunt in the forest to observe and learn about local plants and animals. This event will meet at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.

 

Events made possible by California State Park Docents, California State Parks and Coastside State Parks Foundation. Visit us on the web at www.CoastsideStateParks.org and Facebook.com/CoastsideStateParks or www.parks.ca.gov

 

 

Annual Special Events - 2015 


Salamander Saturday featuring Newt Night!

Saturday, March 7, 2015 from 11 am to 7 pm
* Salamander Story time at 11 am
* Drop-in FREE Salamander Critter Crafts from Noon to 4 pm 
* Salamander Scavenger Hunt at 1 pm
* Newt Night! at 5 pm
Join us as the Ranch of the Bear becomes “Ranch of the Newt,” celebrating our amphibian friends that make their way from beneath rocks and under logs to the creeks, wetlands and puddles of the park.  Start out your day with Salamander Story time at 11 am where children will learn about salamanders and their habitats around the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center fireplace! Drop in at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center from Noon to 4 pm for a FREE family-friendly Salamander craft.  At 1 pm, meet at the gate across Highway One from Waddell Beach for a 3-mile guided Salamander Scavenger Hunt on the trail! Later, join us at the Nature and History Center for “Newt Night” at 5 pm to hear tales and songs of toes growing back, barking salamanders and poison so deadly it could kill you! Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz along Highway One, at Waddell Creek at 3600 Hwy 1, Davenport, CA 95017.  Free. For more information, call (831) 427-2288.

Wildflower Weekend
Saturday, April 25, 2015 from Noon to 4 pm
Sunday, April 26, 2015 from Noon to 4 pm
Winter rains promise a profusion of spring wildflowers in the Waddell Valley. Come see them on display in the Rancho del Oso Nature Center and visit them on the park's trails during the Rancho del Oso Wildflower Weekend. You’ll see buttercups, shooting stars and western wake robin included in this annual exhibit of over fifty native plants in flower and several non-native species that are found in the western portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The assortment of shapes, sizes, colors and forms are a delight to the senses.

Grizzly Bear Festival
Saturday, August 15, 2015 from Noon to 4 pm
Come to Rancho del Oso for a day of commemorating the once-abundant predator that roamed this "Ranch of the Bear." Discover what they ate, how they lived, and what made this area famous for its grizzly population.  Throughout the day there will be crafts and activities for all ages. Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz along Highway One, at Waddell Creek This event is appropriate for all ages.