Quail Hollow Ranch Trails


No dogs on trails please, to make QHR a safer and friendlier place for wildlife and horses.  Many of our visitors report seeing deer, wild turkeys, and many bird species; and it's one big reason QHR is special.  We love dogs but our critters don't.  So here's a great site for places your canine friends are welcome!

Park Office TrailHead: Trailhead sign is on the far side of the lawn behind the visitor center.  Walk East from the picnic tables or from parking lot on driveway;  house on your left; barns & corral on your right; watch for Trails map for trailhead next to the old/collapsed blacksmith shop.

Trail name Total Distance Elevation gain Description (all trails start at the Park Office Trailhead)
Discovery – loop 1 mile 150'

An almost-flat mile, 30 - 40 minutes.  You will discover Mixed Evergreen, Ponderosa Pine, Willow Riparian, and Coast Live Oak forests, Sand parkland, California mixed and Maritime chaparral, Grassland, Pasture, Eucalyptus grove, and Pond communities.  Lupines bloom on the east side in late spring just past the stables if you take a clock-wise stroll.  You may find turtles, ducks, geese and occasionally, other aquatic birds on or near the pond.  The westside is boggy after rains, and generally offers shade and a view of Quail Hollow Creek. Hikers and equestrians. Easiest trail to keep social distancing. Easiest hike with a stroller.

Italian + Lower Chaparral - loop 1 mile 200'

An easy stroll.  You will find many old Oaks, and plenty of shade for hot days.  Includes Mixed Evergreen, and Coast Live Oak forests, Eucalyptus grove, California mixed chaparral, Grassland, and Pasture communities. The Italian trail was built by the Bonetti brothers where they had two cabins which were washed away in the 1982 flood.  On the Lower Chaparral, you’ll pass the remains of an old water tank, with its corrugated steel roof. Hikers and equestrians. Easy to keep social distancing. New Guide!

Woodrat* to Sunset Vista, continuing on Sunset + Lower Chaparral or Italian - loop 2.5 - 3.0 miles 500' - 600'

A moderate, classic Quail Hollow hike.  Offers the best views in the park (4+ vistas), both sun and shade, benches, and picnic tables.  This trail includes nine of our fifteen plant communities, including mixed Evergreen, Coast Redwood, Dwarf Redwood, Knobcone Pine, Coast Live Oak, and Ponderosa Pine forests, plus Sand Parkland, mixed Chaparral, and Eucalyptus Grove communities. Plus, great wildflowers in the spring, including Lupine on the Lower Chaparral section.  If you take the spur hike to the top of Sunset and the Italian trail option, it's 3 miles.  Skip the spur and take the Lower Chaparral for a 2.5 mile version. Hikers-only on Woodrat, joined by equestrians on the Sunset and Chaparral sections.

Woodrat* to Sunset Vista Point – out and back 2.6 miles 540'

Moderate hike with a mix of shade at the bottom and sun as you go higher. Best wildflower trail; combined with great vistas.  Includes five of our fifteen plant communities, including Eucalyptus Grove, Mixed Evergreen, Ponderosa Pine, and Coast Live Oak forests, and mixed Chaparral communities. Hikers only on the Woodrat, joined by equestrians at the very top.

Woodrat* to Woodrat Vista Point – out and back 1.1 miles 250'

Easy – moderate stroll, though you will be walking up and down hill.  Shortest hike in the park to a great view (at the Woodrat Vista Point). Same plant communities as Woodrat to Sunset Vista Point trail. Hikers-only trail.  If you have less than an hour and you want a view, this is it.

Santa Cruz County Department of Parks, Open Space and Cultural Services
979 17th Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
General Information (Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.)
Phone: (831) 454-7901PRCweb@santacruzcountyca.gov