Santa Cruz is a remarkable place.
When we took the time to include this in our itinerary, we wanted to go straight to the coastline and sit under the sun with the rustling waves in front of us. Of course, we realized there was a lot more on offer for those who wanted to find a hidden gem in California to adventure in.
This is when the Garden of Eden came up.
We heard about this location in the Santa Cruz Mountains and it was obvious this was just the place for us. We are adventurers and like being outdoors, so it made sense to get to the Garden of Eden in Santa Cruz as soon as we could.
Most people are not going to be aware of this beautiful swimming hole and the experience you can have here.
It’s warm, charming, and a great spot for a trip out to the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Let’s take a look at what the Garden of Eden in Santa Cruz encompasses and what we love about it.
The Best Time To Visit The Garden Of Eden
We recommend going on a weekday because this is going to help with any type of rush that you would see at the swimming hole.
While this is still a hidden gem, it is getting more and more popular with time.
We found it to be relatively empty and quiet during the week, so we would recommend coming during this time. Plus, you will want to make sure to come earlier in the day, especially if you are going on the weekend.
In our eyes, the warmer it is, the more fun you are going to have swimming here. It is the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer’s day in California.
How To Get To The Garden of Eden
Most people are going to be unaware of the Garden of Eden.
After all, it’s a hidden gem!
If you want to get to the Garden of Eden, you are going to have to go to the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
The easiest option is to get to the Ox Trailhead as that’s where the trail is going to begin for you to get to the Garden of Eden. You are going to walk through this beautiful area and get to the train tracks. At this point, the tracks are going to take you to the swimming hole.
Why We Love The Garden Of Eden In California
It’s a swimming hole.
This means you are going to want to take a dip in the water!
We found it to be a unique experience because it’s fresh water and you are going to love it on a warm day. It is cozy and you are going to get to swim in water from the San Lorenzo River. It was a fascinating moment to be able to dip our toes into the water and just experience such a natural setting.
You are likely not going to be alone when you get here.
It’s a tourist spot for some people and those who come to the park will want to swim here. However, if you come on a weekday, you should be good to go.
One of the best parts of going to a river in California is being able to enjoy tubing.
Yes, you can go tubing in the San Lorenzo River, which is linked to the Garden of Eden. This river is going to have multiple access points, so it’s common for people to bring their water equipment and head into the water.
If you haven’t done this before, we do recommend going with a group to stay safe.
We loved the hiking trails around the Garden of Eden.
After all, just to get to the swimming hole, you are going to have to complete a short trek down to the area. This is a lot of fun because you are going to go through the greenery and on a warm day, it’s a beautiful sight.
We also took the time to explore the surrounding hiking trails including the gorgeous Henry Cowell Observation Deck Loop. We recommend taking the time to explore the area further by completing these hikes.
Things To Consider In The Garden Of Eden
A common mistake we see people make is assuming it’s going to be a straightforward experience where you are going to get away with anything.
No, you should be prepared for the outdoors when you are coming to the state park and then the swimming hole itself.
This includes having a water bottle to stay hydrated, putting on a swimsuit when you are in the swimming hole, and also keeping bug spray. The mosquitoes are going to be all around you because of the water, which means you need to have something to ward them off.
Otherwise, you are going to be covered with mosquito bites!
You should be taking the time to put on sunscreen.
The sun is going to be out depending on the weather conditions. Since we recommend going on a warmer day, it is likely going to include the sun beating down. Put on a hat and make sure to wear sunscreen as you are hiking to the spot.
This is going to bode well for your skin and overall health. You don’t want to overheat, especially in the summer.
This is all that you need to know when exploring the Garden of Eden in Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz is home to so many lovely tourist attractions and this is one you are going to want to add to your list too. It’s a local favorite for a reason!
Amanda Harper is a travel enthusiast with 10+ years of traveling experience across the planet. Her passion for writing and travel makes her a walking bibliography on modern-day tourism.