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Tags:
Level: Beginner
Length: 34 mi (54.7 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +1,106/1 ft
Total: 280 riders
 

Mountain Biking Wilder Ranch State Park

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#587 of 987 mountain bike trails in California
#8134 in the world

The park has 34 miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails winding through coastal terraces and valleys.

From the parking lot, start down the dirt path north the bathrooms. At the bottom of the hill, you will have to walk your bike through the ranch. Once on the trails, there is good signage at the intersections. Start on the Englesman Loop Trail, a gradual and exposed climb. After about a mile, instead of going on the rest of the loop, turn off to the left onto Wild Boar Trail where the singletrack fun begins. Continue on Old Cabin Trail - sweet singletrack through the forest. There are even a few rooty technical sections, but don't worry, they're easy enough to just roll over cuz you will be going fast. At the next intersection, take the Eucalyptus Loop Trail (more open fireroad) and head for Enchanted Loop trail. I hear the Enchanted loop trail has some technical singletrack downhill, but it was closed probably due to wet conditions. Now you have two options - Wilder Ridge Loop trail has some cut-offs and is mostly singletrack, then head back to the parking lot. Or you can take the lower part of Enchanted Loop and get on Baldwin Loop. Baldwin Loop is all downhill towards the ocean. Near the bottom of Baldwin Loop, there is a narrow trail that veers off to right where it eventually ends up at Hwy1. Cross Hwy1 and ride towards the beach. Once on the beach, the trail is a little difficult to find. On your left there are some steep hills you will have to carry your bike up and get on the doubletrack. Cruise on the doubletrack (I think the trail is called Old Cove Landing Trail) that rims the cliffside and take in the views of the Pacific Ocean. This trail eventually spits you out at the parking lot.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • No Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
From the Hwy1 and Hwy 17 junction in Santa Cruz, travel ~5 miles west on Hwy 1. Turn left into the park entrance. There is a $5 day-parking fee. You can also buy a map of the area at the attendant booth.
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Eddie D (on Jan 28, 2020)
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Good (on Oct 6, 2019)
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Baldwin Trail
 
Wilder Ranch Mtn Bike Ride
 

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Reviews

  • h8ower
    ****

    Great day testing a Santa Cruz bike! took me a moment to find the trail. Signs are not the best, but staff in at Santa Cruz handed out a map which was really useful.
    The rest outside of the trail was just riding the scenic spots of the pacific ocean

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  • bikerboy15
    ****

    Loved the ride here! Deff. will come back. I did all the best trails in the park (I believe) Enchanted loop is very fun, and the first half of the Wilder Ranch Loop is flowy, and fun up until the Zane Grey Trail. When you come to your first fork in the trail take the left one! Great for those of us who aren't the most intense riders on the planet. You can rent a Santa Cruz, from the factory up the road. I recommend it as you will enjoy the ride more.

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  • ACree
    ***

    Conveniently within riding distance of the Santa Cruz and Ibis HQ locations for demo purposes. The singletrack to doubletrack ratio is not good, and the trails were on the tame side. I'd ride it daily if I lived next door but can't imagine it being worth of driving to.

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  • Matthew Bonner
    *****

    Awesome! The climbs were perfect for me. They were technical, but not to big for my Wisconsin lungs and legs to handle. Some of the descents were overgrown, but that was more than made up for by their FAST nature and trails like the Enchanted Loop (Now my favorite trail EVER). If you are in the area this is a great trail. To sweeten the deal, you can always reserve a bike from the nearby Santa Cruz Bicycles. They make some pretty amazing bikes, and are located minutes from the trailhead.

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  • Gary Schomberger
    ****

    A mix of legal trails (a rare thing in this area) there are lots of fireroad climbs but he true gem is the enchanted loop in the north west corner for some black diamond descending.

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  • Greg Heil
    ***

    There are a couple of ok trails here but overall, this place isn't anything to write home about. Some nice views, and some good connectivity into other rad trails in the area.

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  • justin70
    ***

    A-plus for the Enchanted Loop (clockwise) with lots of redwoods and technical root-covered descents.

    The coast is pretty, though the riding there is non-technical.

    On the whole, worth at least 1 lap of the place, if you are in the area. Does get quite busy on the weekends.

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  • Jon Campbell
    ****

    Pretty but lacking excitement for most of the riding. The enchanted forest loop is the highlight and is worth riding the area just for a lap or two on it.

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  • jkey6
    ***

    The majority of this trail system was very boring with a few very brief quality sections through redwood groves. The Enchanted Loop and Old Cabin Trail were very impressive but they both constitute a very very small portion of the largely boring service road trail system. A-plus for the Enchanted Loop (clockwise) with lots of redwoods and technical root-covered descents.

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  • Dave Wilson
    ****

    Rode the double track road from Wilder Ranch entry station along the coastline heading north untill it meet up with hwy 1, there were two spots that start heading back inland you need to follow the old railline for a short distance untill it meets back up with the main trail,then you make your way back to the coast line, no climbing it just follows the coastline for about 6 miles one way. A very relaxing ride you can watch the surfers in a few spots easy trip great for the kids.

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  • stillfat
    ****

    I was pleasantly surprised by this place. There's actually a good deal of singletrack if you take the time to find it. Also, really varied trail surface and scenery - redwood groves, open meadows, dry oak forest, ocean views, etc.

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  • abegold
    ***

    I didn't find much for signage to help find the singletracks so only found one good ride down the gentle grade. Soil is loose in places.

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  • oneillst
    ****

    Great trail for the beginning rider and those looking for great views. Trails near the cliffs of Santa Cruz, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The trail is mainly simple gravel singletrack/doubletrack, with no obstacles. Signage on trail is minimal, and turn-offs and junctions can be confusing so take a map to avoid wasting time figuring out where you are and where you're going.

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  • josh_manning@live.com
    ****

    cool cant go wrong you can climb on fire roads and jam down on some sweet single track, you can find something to keep you entertained a local showed me an unmarked single track that was awesome.

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  • eleddy

    Went on Feb 27th and the east side was closed but the bluffs trails are still open and extremely muddy.

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  • lacordes
    ****

    so much variety on the terrain at this place, it really has something for everyone!

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  • tontonuy5
    ****

    Good climbs, Nice views. You gotta do the Enchanted Loop. I went down to Baldwin Loop from there and ended up back down on Highway One. I guess no one uses that part a lot coz the weeds and flora were all over the trail trying to get a hold of me. From there I went to 4 Mile Beach and took the Ohlone Bluff Trail back to the parking lot. Beautiful.

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  • Fatguyonbike73
    ****

    This was our first Santa Cruz trip, and my wife's first ride on her new bike...and it turned out great. The eastside of hwy1 seemed had a lot of good trails and good scenery.

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  • Danc

    Easy trail in in most places, some places may require a walk around the obstacle for safety. However, the best is under the redwood single tracks, the great meadow views of the ocean, and cooled ocean air. Some of the best times to ride wilder is
    the fall and spring just after a rain. The forest comes alive with colors. This also is a place to bring a small camera--lots of deer, bobcat, and wild turkeys. * Review edited 7/26/2008* Review edited 7/26/2008

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