a VirtualTourist member from San Rafael
We're planning a weekend getaway in the Santa Cruz mountains in September. Where are the best hikes? Anybody have recommendations for romantic restaurants in the mountains or in Santa Cruz?
there is a nice trail from los gatos going over the hills towards santa cruz.
That sounds like a description of Highway 9 from Saratoga to Santa Cruz.
Try Big Basin Redwoods State Park. It has a variety of different habitats there, an impressive collection of ancient redwood trees, 80 miles of trails, and the park intersects a couple of other trails leading to surrounding areas and parks.
For a restaurant recommendation, try La Bruschetta in Felton or Scopazzi's in Boulder Creek. Both restaurants are considered upscale Italian cuisine. If that's not to your tastes, there isn't much else around in the area that I would categorize as romantic. The next closest place having that sort of restaurants would be Scotts Valley on Highway 17, which is a bit of a drive off of Highway 9.
the trail i went on was a little dirt track tyrail leading over the hills.
only suitable for people by foot or mountainbike.
Oh, I'll have to look into that. Do you know where it starts or ends?
it starts in los gatos, pretty much in the middle of the town next to the busy highway going over the hills to santa cruz and passes a big dam on the way.
i ended up taking it as the main road was very unsuitable for cycling.
and it was a good choice.
ohhhh.. ok, I know what you are talking about. It parallels Highway 17 and passes Lexington Reservoir. Got it. Yeah, the highway can be a bit of a nightmare even for drivers esp. in bad or foggy weather.
lexington was the name of the resevoir.
from there i took a small country road to the coast passing a little grocery store with a very very pretty girl behind the counter :O)
I also would recommend Big Basin Redwood State Park. You can get a trail map when you get there for3.
The cafes in the town of Boulder Creek are great for a nice cup of coffee and breakfast too.
Big Basin sounds perfect for our short weekend getaway. Thanks everyone!
For a romantic reataurant we would suggest the Shadowbrook in Santa Cruz.
Thanks, Deannatravel! We've definitely decided on Shadowbrook and hiking at Big Basin.
To all of you who took the time to reply: your forum replies have been so helpful in planning my getaway (which is also my wedding anniversary). VT is a wonderful thing!
You won't be disappointed with Big Basin in September; the height of the tourist rush is over.
Another good choice is Henry Cowell State park in Felton, close to Santa Cruz. The park has two separate parcels: the main one, with a main entrance on highway 9 and the campground entrance on Graham Hill road, and the second parcel off Felton Empire road west of highway 9. The latter parcel is used almost exclusively by locals (which I was for ten years). There is a small, easy to miss parking lot on the right past the equally small old graveyard. From there hiking trails follow the creek and go up past abandoned lime kilns up to the ridge near Bonny Doon. While not nearly as extensive as Big Basin, it would still take many days of hiking to discover all the trails up here - and you won't encounter very many other humans. There are no services at this parcel, but you can get information at the information center/store at the main section of the park (this is easier to find - look for the big sign made from a redwood tree on the east side of hwy 9, just south of Felton. Oh, while you're in Felton, you can check out one of California's few old covered bridges.
Henry Cowell State Park sounds wonderful. I like the part about not running into too many people. We'll likely have time to do two hikes. I will put this one on the To Do list! Thanks so much!
Thank you, everyone who replied to my Forum posting. I took your ideas and we did most of them - hiked in Big Basin Redwoods and Henry Cowell Redwoods and ate dinner at Shadowbrook. It was a fantastic weekend. Thank you so much for your tips that really made this a perfect getaway.
Go check out Tortilla Flats in historic downtown Soquel. They have delicious food with very unique, different recipes. The service is also great and the ambience is amazing. Tortilla flats is a great restaurant for a romantic getaway. They have a website at www.tortillaflatsdining.com