Although our coastal city is best known for its surf, sand, and sunshine, Santa Cruz has much to offer those who crave the rush of a technical descent or casual climb on two wheels. You don’t have to be a veteran rider to take advantage of many great trail networks in the area, many of which are just a short drive from the city’s center, although it’s most certainly easier if you can ride to the trail from your front door. From rugged to smooth and flowy to technical, you’ll find it all in the mountains surrounding Santa Cruz.
West Santa Cruz
Wilder Ranch State Park
Residents of West Santa Cruz are just a short bike ride or car trip from some of the most breathtaking riding in the area. West Santa Cruz offers a quick loop through several settings. First, you’ll start with a slow and relaxed climb through the grasslands with the ocean visibly behind you on the Baldwin Loop. As you approach the Enchanted loop, you’ll come to a sheltered forest with lush foliage and plenty of shade from the trees overhead.
Homes in West Santa Cruz are among the most sought-after in Santa Cruz, and some of the most eclectic. Towards the ocean, you’ll find newly developed luxury homes with beautiful high-end touches, whereas more inland there’s a mix of charming Ranchers and historic two-story residences. Just minutes from everything the city has to offer, including biking and surfing, West Santa Cruz is the place to be if you’re looking to live in the middle of it all!
Forest of Nisene Marks
Nestled between towering redwoods and cool Ocean waters is Aptos, a charming seaside town with a wide selection of homes and a profound sense of community. Unlike Santa Cruz, homes in Aptos tend to enjoy a little more privacy and a larger lot size, in addition to being newer and often more affordable. Many of its neighborhoods were developed around the area’s natural history to preserve greenbelts and natural landscaping where possible.
Buyers have a great selection of housing options in Aptos. Those in search of home close to the ocean will find homes and townhomes south of Cabrillo Highway. Those who prefer a sense of privacy can find it in the secluded wooded lots north of the highway, on sloped hillsides with the ocean in the distance.
When it comes to biking, residents of Aptos have access to a small selection of singletrack in Marcel’s Forest. Those who aren’t daunted by a mere 13-mile climb of 3,733 ft. can take the access road up north, through the state park, which feeds directly into the Soquel Demonstration Forest.
Soquel Demonstration Forest (Demo)
Known as Demo by locals, the Soquel Demonstration Forest is situated in the heart of the biodiverse Santa Cruz Mountains, just 35-minutes north of Soquel. It’s a working forest that’s open to a variety of uses, so it’s not uncommon to run into hikers, horseback riders, students, foresters, biologists, and of course, other mountain bikers on a day-to-day basis. Trails in this area are ideal for those with a little more experience on two wheels, who are comfortable with rocky descents, steep climbs, and adrenaline-pumping downhill.
Looking for a nicely equipped home in the woods? Your search ends in Soquel. This area is best-known for its collection of large homes on generous, hillside lots. Hands down, these homes are the hidden gems of the Santa Cruz county real estate market. For less than $1 million you can find a spacious 4-bedroom house with over 2,000 sq. ft. of living space on over an acre of forested land. To top it all off, most of the homes in Soquel are only 15-minutes from Santa Cruz.
Looking for the perfect place to lay down your roots in Santa Cruz County? With over 30 years of experience helping buyers and sellers right here in Santa Cruz, I can help you make your dreams a reality. Give me a call today at 800.226.4717 to find out more about the market and start your home search today!