Santa Cruz, CA: West Cliff Drive

Cruise, walk, run, blade, or skate this 5-mile out-and-back with views of world-class surfers, jagged coastline, and jaw-dropping sunsets.
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Cruise, walk, run, blade, or skate this 5-mile out-and-back with views of world-class surfers, jagged coastline, and jaw-dropping sunsets.

West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz's own Rodeo Drive minus the chiwawas and designer labels, is a 2.5-mile paved path paralleling the Monterey Bay. Users can park at just about any point along the path either on side streets or parking lots speckled across the path.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.8

Waypoints

WPT001

Location: 36.9595871, -122.0257187

From Gharkey Street and West Cliff Drive, this is the path's official beginning before dipping down to the beach boardwalk and away from West Cliff Drive.

WPT002

Location: 36.9521382, -122.0260692

Steamer Lane: World-class surfing, big wave days and international competitions all take place at this Northern California break.

WPT003

Location: 36.9520181, -122.0288157

Have a dog? Technically leashes are required at this beach, but locals have been bucking the system for years and unofficially taken over this stretch of sand.

WPT004

Location: 36.9505263, -122.0446515

The only house on the western side of West Cliff, it was not uncommon to see multiple structures before the ocean claimed the cliffs they were perched on.

WPT005

Location: 36.9496989, -122.0560831

The path ends at Natural Bridges State Park. To head back, make a U-turn and retrace your steps back to path's beginning.

Big Wave Day At Steamer Lane

Location: 36.9514437, -122.0258707

Dog Beach

Location: 36.9520396, -122.0286441

Santa Cruz Surf Statue

Location: 36.9547103, -122.0247602

Commissioned to honor local surfers, rarely does a day go by that a hawaiian lay is not placed around his neck.

Bailing Out

Location: 36.9516837, -122.025978

Large Offshore Break

Location: 36.9518381, -122.0254523

Steamer Lane

Location: 36.9520824, -122.0258814

At this world-class surf break it is not uncommon to see some of the world's best big wave riders carving up the waves.

Natural Bridges State Park

Location: 36.9496088, -122.0575261

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Location: 36.9636262, -122.020576

Views from West Cliff look out over the wharf, Boardwalk and main beach.

Santa Cruz Lighthouse

Location: 36.9514094, -122.0267075

Take five and check out the surf museum open inside the lighthouse. Ancient boards and blurry black and white photos await.