Henry Cowell Redwoods

Park Brochure

brochure Henry Cowell Redwoods - Park Brochure
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Our Mission The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. This lush redwood forest, with sunlight glimmering through trees along the San Lorenzo River, California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (831) 335-4598. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact interp@parks.ca.gov. CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service www.parks.ca.gov SaveTheRedwoods.org/csp Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park Day Use: 101 North Big Trees Park Road Felton, CA 95018 (831) 335-4598 Campground: 2591 Graham Hill Road Scotts Valley, CA 95060 (831) 438-2396 © 2011 California State Parks (Rev. 2017) offers visitors a peaceful retreat. H enry Cowell Redwoods State Park inspires calm reflection among ancient giant redwoods and sunny sandhill ridges. The park’s historical significance and its spectacular scenery draw travelers from around the world. Visitors can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, swimming, camping, and fishing on more than 4,650 acres of forested and open land in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The park’s groves of old- and secondgrowth redwoods flank the San Lorenzo River. In the serene Fall Creek Unit, a few miles north of the main park, hikers experience a verdant, fern-lined river canyon and encounter the remnants of a successful lime-processing industry. PARK HISTORY Native People The Sayante tribe, a subgroup of the Ohlone culture, lived in this area before Spanish rule. They found plentiful shelter, water, and food both on the land and in the river. The San Lorenzo River was a major source of fish for the Sayante people, allowing them to exchange steelhead and salmon with neighboring tribes for acorns, obsidian, and other resources. Early Entrepreneurs Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is located on several former Mexican land grants known as Rancho Rincon, Rancho Zayante, and Rancho Carbonera. Ownership of the land changed hands many times as pioneers arrived — introducing logging, tanoak-bark harvesting, lime manufacturing, and even gold mining in the area. In 1867 Joseph Warren Welch Sr. purchased 350 acres here. Although much of the surrounding land had been logged, the large tract of old-growth redwoods we enjoy today still stood. He advertised the grove of uncut giants, and the Welch Big Trees Grove became a famous tourist destination. After his death in 1876, Welch’s widow, Anna Isabella, leased the land to entrepreneur J.M. Hooper, who ran the resort that included a small hotel and dance floor near the Frémont Tree. Famous people such as Andrew Carnegie and Presidents Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt visited. General Frémont Tree: (left to right) General John C. Frémont, his wife Jessie Benton Frémont, and their daughter Elizabeth Explorer John C. Frémont reputedly camped in this tree’s fire-hollowed base when he and legendary scout Kit Carson visited Isaac Graham in 1846. When he returned to the grove in 1888, then-General Frémont was reported to have said, “It’s a good story; let it stand.” Creating the Park On a fateful afternoon in 1900, Andrew P. Hill photographed “The Giant” redwood tree in the Welch Big Trees Grove. When the proprietor objected to the unauthorized pictures, demanding the negatives, Hill angrily refused. Hill resolved that there should be a public park where the trees belonged to everyone. He reported the incident to journalist Josephine Clifford McCrackin, who followed up with a letter to the Santa Cruz Sentinel urging Californians to “Save the redwoods.” The movement led to the creation of nearby California Redwood Park in 1902 (now called Big Basin Redwoods State Park), where the Sempervirens Club was founded. The Big Trees Grove resort operated here for another 30 years. William T. Jeter, with the help of his wife Jennie Bliss Jeter and friend Joseph Welch Jr., worked tirelessly to ensure the creation of Santa Cruz County Big Trees Park in 1930. Citizens dedicated the Jeter Tree in his memory; the County managed the park for more than 20 years. It became part of a new state park in 1954, when Samuel (Harry) Cowell donated 1,600 adjoining acres on the condition that the combined park be named for his father Henry. The Cowell Family Foundation deeded the Fall Creek Unit to the State in 1972. Since then, Save the Redwoods League helped to add more than 800 acres to the park. Fall Creek and Henry Cowell Fall Creek Unit, the northern section of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, is located about ¼ mile west of the town of Felton. The 2,390-acre area contains nearly the entire Fall Creek watershed, extending southeast from Ben Lomond Mountain. The Ben Lomond Fault runs along the base of the mountain, exposing huge amounts of limestone. This limestone was formed by pressure that crystallized layers of tiny sea creatures’ fossilized remains. Heating raw limestone in kilns for several days yielded lime used in mortar and plaster — staples of the building industry. At the time of peak demand, 80% of lime came from Santa Cruz County. Kilns were built on the North Fork of Fall Creek to convert the quarried rock into usable material. Hundreds of thousands of cords of redwood were burned over the years to keep the kiln fires blazing — baring the hills. Eventually, raw limestone and log supplies dwindled as concerns about deforestation arose; lime processing here ceased. The Fall Creek kilns closed in 1919. Today, the old lime kilns can be seen along the South Fork Trail. The second-growth redwoods nearby testify to nature’s resilience as the hillsides become forested once again. NATURAL HISTORY Geology Located in the rugged Santa Cruz Mountains, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park provides a fascinating geologic view into the landscape. The San Lorenzo River flows through the park, roughly following the path of the Ben Lomond Fault. Stream erosion and fault movement are the primary forces that have helped shape this land. The northern part of the park is composed of soft sandstone and mudstone, with fossil evidence that it was once a shallow inland sea, including sand dollars and shark teeth. The southern portion of the park consists of harder granite and schist formed from magma. These geologic factors determine the vast diversity of flora and fauna that inhabit the park. Three of the park’s four main ecosystems — redwood, riparian (streamside), and sandhill chaparral —  were shaped as a result of these processes. The human-made grassland is the park’s fourth main ecosystem. Wildlife The park’s four distinct ecosystems allow for many wildlife viewing opportunities. Watch for white-tailed kites and white-crowned sparrows flying above the grasslands looking for their next meal. Along the San Lorenzo River, listen for the belted kingfisher and catch a glimpse of the great blue heron. This year-round river is home to endangered steelhead trout, providing a nourishing place for the fish to spawn. In the forest, the melody of the Pacific wren and the clicking sounds of the darkeyed junco echo through the forest. Banana slugs slide along the path, and western gray squirrels leap from limb to limb. The wrentit’s lilting song and the scrub jay’s screeching calls fill the air in the sandhill chaparral ecosystem. Two rare endemic insect species, the endangered Zayante band-winged grasshopper and the Mt. Hermon June beetle, inhabit this area of the park. Coyotes, bobcats, and black-tail deer roam freely throughout the park searching for food, water, and shelter. Plant Communities Among the world’s tallest old-growth coast redwoods, the largest trees surrounding the Redwood Grove Loop Trail may be up to 280 feet (85m) tall and 1,500 years old. Climate change is diminishing the plentiful rain and moist fog that sustained the redwoods’ growth. California bay trees, tanoaks, and hazelnut shrubs adapt to the shade beneath the redwoods. Clover-like redwood sorrel carpets the forest floor, along with wild ginger, trillium, and milk maids. The nearby San Lorenzo River supports a remarkable riparian ecosystem. Large western sycamore, black cottonwood, white alder, and California box-elder trees offer cooling shade for river inhabitants. Arroyo willows stabilize the river’s banks. On the ridgetops of the sandhill ecosystem, drought-tolerant plants with long taproots flourish in the sandy soil. Here, in one of the world’s five marine ponderosa pine communities, ponderosa and knobcone pines grow along the ridge tops and surround the park’s observation deck. Manzanita, bush poppy, chamise, sticky monkeyflower, and ceanothus all bloom in spring. The Ben Lomond spineflower and Ben Lomond buckwheat, found only in this area, add to the distinctive Santa Cruz sandhills ecosystem. Native plants such as California poppy, coyote brush, and lupine endure among non-native grasses, thistle, and sweet pea in the grassland. The riparian forest that once covered this area is now reclaiming its former territory. RECREATION Weather changes quickly in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Winter temperatures range from the upper 30s to mid-50s and from the high 40s to the 80s in summer. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park offers camping and a large day-use area. Limited catch-and-release steelhead fishing attracts anglers to the San Lorenzo River. Visit www.wildlife.ca.gov for updates, licensing regulations, and fishing restrictions. Equestrians may use the main park trails as posted. Bicycles are allowed only on Pipeline, Rincon, Ridge, and Powder Mill fire roads. Bicycles are not allowed in the Fall Creek Unit. Observe all trail postings. The privately owned Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad adjoins the property outside the main park. For a fee, the train takes passengers on a rail tour through the forested area of the park. Camping Sites are open seasonally. For details and site-specific advance reservations, call (800) 444-7275 or visit www.parks.ca.gov. Henry Cowell Trails: Redwood Grove Loop Trail — Along the .8mile, self-guided, accessible loop stands the tree named for “The Pathfinder,” Lieutenant John C. Frémont. Ridge Fire Road near Pine Trail — The observation deck at 805 feet, one of the park’s highest points, offers vistas of Monterey Bay. Fall Creek Unit Open for day use only, Fall Creek includes almost twenty miles of connecting trails. Parking and trailheads are marked on Felton Empire Road off Highway 9. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES The Redwood Grove Loop Trail is accessible. The campground has accessible sites with restrooms and showers. The Visitor Center and Mountain Parks Store are both accessible; curbside pickup and dropoff is recommended for people with mobility issues. For accessibility updates, visit http://access.parks.ca.gov. NEARBY STATE PARKS • Big Basin Redwoods State Park 21600 Big Basin Way Boulder Creek 95006 (831) 338-8860 • Wilder Ranch State Park 1401 Coast Road Santa Cruz 95060 (831) 423-9703 PLEASE REMEMBER • All natural and cultural features are protected by law; do not disturb them. • Camping and fires are permitted only in designated areas. • Dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet and are allowed only in picnic areas and campsites and on the Meadow Trail, Pipeline Road, Graham Hill Trail, and Powder Mill Fire Road. • Except for service animals, dogs are not permitted to use other trails, fire roads, or the Fall Creek Unit. • All pets must be attended at all times and confined in a tent or vehicle at night. • Camping, bicycles, smoking, and fires are prohibited in the Fall Creek Unit. • Stay on established trails and out of all undeveloped areas and unlabeled trails. • Be alert for rattlesnakes and mountain lions. Check for ticks after hiking. • Poison oak can be identified by its leaves — they grow in groups of three with gently lobed edges. The plant may appear as a bush, vine, or ground cover with green “Leaves of three or reddish leaves. — let it be.” Many people are allergic to its oil. This park is supported in part through the Mountain Parks Foundation 525 N. Big Trees Park Road Felton, CA 95018 · (831) 335-3174 www.mountainparks.org 0 Seasonal Bridge 9 Love e ek il Tra F Ox ire P 9 John C. Fremont Tree bi um ol il C Tra 600 Trai ne l Gr ov ad Ln L oc Creek 60 ad Rd il Ro er Ro e 0 e lin 40 lin Tr a d Riv r d ll R Trail Creek pe ve oo Hi 800 Loch Lomond pe er Ri Creek iv Alba op il 9 Lo a Tr Pi dw am 600 Pi R Re Road ah P FELTON Visitor Center a 600 0 Campground Kiosk Cable Car Beach Campground Entrance 600 60 Fire Creek ge R in c o P in 400 Graham Hill Rd Di ve D rs Tr am ion ai l Pow de Fire r Mill Rd Big Rock Hole Trail e Tr ail Rid 0 40 ell New n ek Cre 400 mH to San Jose ill R 17 0 d 00 Graha 0 1200 on m er d t HRoa 80 14 M n e pir Ro 40 UC S A N TA see detail map above CRUZ to Santa Cruz ek Rd Creek an nt e 400 400 Gr ah am Felton Covered Bridge Hil lR County Park MOUNT HERMON 9 ll Cre R Be mo n Za Her ya d Fall C reek D r lto Em 0 Fe Mt ad 0 1.5 Kilometers 1000 Creek Bu 1 Mile 0.75 1.0 e 0 60 Barr 0.5 nte 0.5 0.25 ad d P 0 Zaya t ire Bennet k ree ll C d Fa ire R F Bennett Creek Tra il Creek 40 oa eek Cr l Mil ail lit Tr Sun el 0 00 WILDER RANCH S T AT E PA R K Gr 40 Summit Drive Alba e Tra Flat il Pin 0 00 il Tra 40 80 k Trail 600 Trail 0 e 40 Road Creek Trail e 18 800 Rd Hill Hill 600 elin 0 ol dg 00 0 © 2011 California State Parks (Rev. 2017) Pip 60 ho re e il Tra 16 16 Campground Entrance ire Sc Fall C 1800 R oad E mp h Ri e H E N RY COWELL REDWOODS 9 S TAT E Main P A R K Entrance Em p FELTON Hig or kT ra il Rd 101 1 to Monterey er son re Road ad k Trail th F BEN LOMOND see detail map to the left Cree Empire So u on 600 San Lorenzo Valley High School Fa l l Creek rn Trail Powder Magazine Lime Kilns Fi Santa Cruz Riv an No bikes or dogs are permitted in Fall Creek Unit. ln Los T M SC Tr ape ail e Ho 15 Kilometers 0 h 9 Fe l t BONNY DOON ECOLOGICAL R E S E RV E Ca p 10 60 ut ad FA L L CREEK UNIT k Ki 5 Wilder Ranch SP 00 O 10 Miles 12 IC 0 AN 5 ee BROOKDALE Ro 9 Cr F el t Gr to Los Gatos BONN Y D OAngeles ON 17 ECOLOGICAL Big Basin 9 Redwoods R E S E R V E SP Henry Cowell SP Sims Road a Creek ll st on IF CE Fa re PA C Año Nuevo SP Castle Rock SP P Horse Showgrounds P R O P E RT Y 00 pi Butano SP 9 Lo Em 1 35 Barrel Mill Area Fall 680 San José 84 0 880 280 Portola Redwoods SP 12 Alb P R I V AT E Lost Camp So 00 00 Half Moon Bay 16 101 zo E ir 18 to Oakland San Mateo Fremont 92 e G Viewpoint il N Telephone Locked Gate Tra A Horse Staging Area to San Francisco R Seasonal Bridge E mp 0 00 re Dogs allowed on Leash 0 pi Restrooms st Trail Em Picnic Area Campground Road 0 POGONI P CI TY PARK k na Parking UNIT il Tra gu Trail: Hike & Horse Only Accessible Feature 20 Rincon Connector Trail e No Parking La No Horses Trail: Hike & Bike Only ee Cr ek Trail: Accessible Lo t nli Su Ln 80 10 1200 Cre No Dogs l ll Big Ben Tree Unpaved Road Trail: Hiking Only Mil 200 Rd 600 Fa e n N 0 00 Paved Road ad 600 40 Big Rock Hole le I 140 20 Freeway Gr Fire 400 800 il R i nco Tra il Private Property Stay on Trail pir e ional Reg A 1600 Trail Em 1200 00 1800 Legend P r T 14 9 de N CREEK e ck k Ben re Th il Tra ac Big ire Sh Tru p Em oad Flat R 0 U 1000 ra Ho 20 O ll 00 we M ek Wi l 400 Frisbee Beach 10 Co Powder ren Z Cre 1600 key U 0 ne S Big k Roc il Tra R Note: The trails down to the river are steep and slippery when wet. There are no bridges at these river crossings. Lo C Buc A ll 0 200 180 2200 Pi Lost e an T Pi p eli n Overlook Bench Cathedral Redwoods ad 00 N Deck 805 ft Ro 14 1600 Fa FA L L A UC S A N TA CRUZ 800 S 0 00 m 100 12 Garden of Eden Mill 1200 Rd e Fir Observation ham Creek P R O P E RT Y Old H E N RY COWELL REDWOODS S TAT E PA R K all Gra Marsh P R I V AT E Graha der ad Pow Ro 0 1000 Roa d 600 P e P ek 1.5 Kilometers 1.0 Pin Cre Mountain Parks Foundation Store 1 Mile 0.75 0.5 P Roaring BROOKDALE Camp 1 P 0.5 0.25 0 Park Office & Entrance Station 800 Clear ek P2 4 P 3 P Note: Railroad tracks are private property. Keep off tracks and trestles. 0 0 Cre r Cre P Overflow Trail ive ar L or e n ith r Park Office & San Entrance Station w Trai l 60 Gr Sm oR ve see detail map at left zo enz Ri 40 0 ea Lor Cle do MOUNT HERMON ail 40 M Sa n 9 e Tr o od t Zayan N. B ig Trees Park Rd State Park Alb 9 k ew ad Service Ro cess) c Ac (No Publi Eagle Zayante Trail Henry Cowell Redwoods to Santa Cruz Henry Cowell map continues above 60 0 60 0

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