Remember how I said how the Central Coast is so hype? Here are two more reasons: Hiking in Santa Cruz and sour beer!
Growing up, Santa Cruz meant day trips to the boardwalk. Now that I’m a totally legit and classy adult, I still go on day trips, but this time to the tiny offshoot town of Soquel, which houses the v confusing, v unmarked and v meta Buddha Loop Trail.
The trail encircles The Land of Medicine Buddha, a retreat center nestled in the woods. It’s supposed to be a 6-mile loop, but nothing is clearly marked, so in true Buddhist form, you find your own journey as you traverse through the gorgeous but navigationally distracting redwoods and creeks. Along the way, you’ll find tracks from mountain bikers being way cooler than you, and lots of foliage. So even as you get beyond lost, the scenery is lush and worth it.
The best reward after your Bear Grylls expedition are sour beers from the well-known local brewery, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales. Beer lovers know this place well, as they serve some of their brews at Toronado in SF. It’s a small spot with an easygoing crew and a perfect way to refresh.
The trail is officially open on weekdays and Sundays, so if you do go on Saturday because you don’t read the fine print like us, you can hop the fence and do the hike. Not that you should…and not that we did…..
My suggested itinerary to make the most out of your day trip:
Leave San Francisco no later than 930am. Pick up water, breakfast, coffee, and snacks before you go (my favorite hiking snacks are salami and cheese, because I am a totally legit and classy adult).
Wear shoes you don’t mind getting scuffed up.
Bring bug spray! I learned the hard way.
I’m not kidding in saying that the trail is completely unmarked. We used this guide to help us navigate. Load the site before you begin hiking because you most likely won’t have reception.
Sante Adairius is only ten minutes away from the trail head. It doesn’t serve food, so bring enough snacks to eat there, as they allow food.
Try half-pours of all the beer—yes all of them. Bring a bottle to take back home.
Be back in the city by 6pm.