Observation Deck and Pipeline Road

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
6.7 miles800 feet elevation gain
Groves of redwoods, remnants of a wildfire, and an optional historic train ride to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

This trail can be strenuous - not because of the elevation gain or mileage, but because you'll be walking in sand for a large portion of the hike along Eagle Creek, Pine, and Ridge Fire Road. Aside from the sand, it's a beautiful hike, with areas to play in the river if you wish. You can see some plants starting to take over the burned area near the observation deck, which makes for a pretty nice scene of green plants against the otherwise bleak black landscape. There is a large grove of giant redwoods near the entrance of the park if you're looking for just a quick peek into what the park has to offer.

Day use parking fee is $10, but the lot tends to fill up by noon on weekends.

Henry Cowell State Park is right next door to Roaring Camp Railroad, which is a bustling little village with food options and a small amount of amusement for visitors. You can take the historic steam trains down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and back after you're done with the hike.

  • Start on Pipeline Road. You can also take River Trail, which runs parallel to Pipeline Road.
  • Turn left onto Eagle Creek Trail
  • Turn right on Pine Trail
  • Climb up to the top of the Observation Deck
  • Continue West on Ridge Fire Road
  • Optional: Turn left onto Pipeline Road to find Overlook Bench (optional - it's not that spectacular, but it's marked as a scenic overlook on the map). Retrace your steps back to the intersection once you're done
  • Go straight towards Cathedral Redwoods
  • Turn left on Big Rock Hole Trail
  • Arrive at Cathedral Redwoods - take a few minutes to sit in this grove of redwoods and admire the scene
  • Head back along Big Rock Hole Trail and continue straight towards the park entrance when come across the previous intersection.
  • Turn left onto Pipeline Road
  • Turn right onto Redwood Grove Loop Trail
  • Continue back to the parking lot
Parking Fee
Trail Type
Partial Loop
Allows Dogs River
48 - 63°F
49 - 62°F
48 - 60°F
January 24
47 - 60°F
January 25
37.040°, -122.064°