Hidden deep within Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz, California, is a gorgeous hideaway dubbed by college kids and locals alike as The Garden of Eden. Surrounded by some of the tallest redwood trees in the world, this stream is one of Santa Cruz’ lesser known attractions.
Even though I happened to visit on a particularly rainy day, I found the spot extremely beautiful, and would return gladly at any time. However, it would be preferable to return sometime in the summer, as the Garden of Eden makes for an amazing cliff jumping spot during Santa Cruz’ warmer months.
To get there, we did some research by stalking Instagram hashtags and googling of a few key terms.
After reading that the Ox trail was our best bet, we drove to the trailhead from another section of the park.
Once we got onto the Ox trail, we followed it straight down a hill until the trail ended and our only option was to turn right onto an abandoned railroad. We walked for about a half mile until we came across a no diving sign, and followed a crude trail down into the canyon.
This was surprisingly one of the easier hikes I’ve come across in California. The tracks are flat and extremely tranquil, and although there are a couple hills to go down to get into the ravine, it’s not as steep as one would expect, and is manageable both ways.
In the end, we were glad to find the gorgeous, off the beaten track spot. It reminded me of Box Canyon in Carlsbad, but more legal and peaceful for sure, as the redwood surroundings give a fairytale forest vibe to the whole thing.
I would recommend going in summer so as to take advantage of the cliff jumping opportunities, but as I said before, we came in the dead of winter during the pouring rain and still had an absolutely amazing time. The Garden of Eden and Santa Cruz in general is a breathtaking place to be.