Felton was originally the southern part of the San Lorenzo Valley Logging Flume, constructed in the 1870s. The lumber sourced here was used to construct the Santa Cruz wharf and helped to rebuild San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. You would not guess this used to be logging town, by the lush redwood forest that remains, but even the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park was originally used for logging before the land was donated to the state. Felton is teeming with rich history; with historic parks such as Felton’s Covered Bridge park and the Roaring Camp train depot, as well as buildings like the present-day Cremer House restaurant, that once was the Grand Central Hotel now preserved and restored. The wooden covered bridge, constructed in 1892 was once the main entry point to the town, today it is no longer part of the roadway, but now serves the pedestrians visiting Felton’s covered bridge park.
Roaring Camp is a vintage train depot camp that invites visitors to feel as they have traveled back in time. In order to build the Santa Cruz Wharf, a railroad was constructed between Felton and Santa Cruz in 1875, the rails have since been added to and updated to a standard gauge railroad, but you can still catch the trains from the historic Roaring Camp depot, and even ride the narrow gauge railroad up Bear Mountain on steam engines dating back to the 1890s. Throughout the year many events for the whole family are hosted here, including annual Easter egg hunts and the adored holiday lights train. The 1880’s themed train park is also a coveted wedding location.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park consists of two parts. The Fall Creek Unit, designated for day use only, is separated from the main part of the park, by Highway 9 and the town of Felton. Campgrounds can be accessed via Graham Hill Road in Scotts Valley, or via trail if you wish to leave your vehicle behind. The San Lorenzo River flows through the main part of the park, and the Fall Creek Unit contains many year-round creeks and several small seasonal waterfalls, as well as 19th-century lime kilns slowly being reclaimed by the earth. The popular San Lorenzo River swimming hole, known as Garden of Eden, is just a short walk (about 1 mile) from the parking area along Highway 9. With 30 miles of trails to explore, a map is recommended, grab one from the California State Park Website, or at the park’s entrance station. More detailed maps are sold at the Mountain Parks Foundation Nature Store.
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