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Location: Lorenzo River, Garden of Eden near Santa Cruz, California

The Henry Cowell Redwood State Park entrance is about 10 miles north of Santa Cruz on highway 9. But you will probably not want to enter this way unless you want to hike a couple of miles before finding a spot suitable for nude use. This is a forested steep river valley several miles long with trails running throughout. Highway 9 follows the valley at a higher altitude. Hot summer days will always find a few nude users here and there. Officially the Park does not allow nudity but it is tolerated as long as there are no complaints. The setting is gorgeous. The river can be crossed in most places by wading. There are a couple of access points along the highway from which a 10-15 minute walk will get you next to the river.

These photos were taken in February on a grey wet day. valley of san lorenzo river

valley of san lorenzo river

valley of san lorenzo river

To get there by car from San Francisco or San Jose:

On a road map find highway 17 heading south from San Jose to Santa Cruz. It could take 45 minutes because of the winding sceneic parts and possible heavy traffic. As you arrive at Santa Cruz you will see signs for Highway 1 and highway 9. As you hit the first stoplight, stick to the right and you will turn right (north) onto highway 9 (also River St). Set your odometer to zero here (if you miss doing this it might be worthwhile to turn around and do it again).

At 2.5 miles there is a small pull-out parking area called "Rincon Trail". You might even find a small sign that states this.

At 3.8 miles there is turnout with a high view down into the valley. It's worth a look but there is no access from here.

At 4.5 miles is the "Ox Trail" parking lot

At 5.8 miles is the official Park entrance. You have come too far.

If you travel a different route and come from the north on highway 9 through Felton, pause at the State park entrance south of Felton and zero your odometer. Now...

1.3 miles to the Ox Trail parking lot

3.2 miles to the Rincon Trail parking lot

These are your only 2 real practical choices for parking and taking trails down to the river.

              valley of san lorenzo river

valley of san lorenzo river

Rincon Trail
Once parked, head down the trail. It is a leisurely walk through the redwoods and about 10 minutes to reach the river. Keep on the trail, maybe at least another 10 minutes before deciding you have found a spot and want to strip. You can keep going on the trail - it goes uphill for a bit again but then comes down and you can cross the river to a spot called "Frisbee Beach" which is a big enough area to call a beach and to throw a Frisbee. Refer to the Map. The red dot shows where the parking area is. Notice the winding trail down to the river and the location of "Frisbee Beach" if that is where you are headed.

map

valley of san lorenzo river     valley of san lorenzo river

Ox Trail
Park and follow the trail until you get to the railway tracks. Follow the tracks south (you are turning to the right). You will continue maybe 15 minutes before you might start seeing the odd nude user on the opposite river bank. If you follow the beaten path long enough you will reach a spot by the river called the "Garden of Eden". If there are a lot of textilers, just keep hiking until you feel you are remote enough not to bother anyone.

Refer to the Map. The red dot shows where the parking area is. Notice the red "Ox Trail" leading down to the "Garden of Eden".

map


valley of san lorenzo river



None of these photos were taken on the Ox Bow Trail. But it all looks very similar.