4 Mile Beach at Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz, California
4 Mile Beach at Wilder Ranch State Park is the most accessible beach open to the public in the park. Luckily this is one of the nicest and largest beaches in the park too. The name comes from the four mile drive it takes from western Santa Cruz to get to the parking lot along Highway 1. Another name would be Baldwin Creek Beach as this sandy spot is formed at the mouth of Baldwin Creek.
From the parking lot you’ll have to walk the Ohlone Bluffs Trail toward the ocean crossing some railroad tracks and passing a wetlands area on your way to 4 Mile Beach. Before the beach a short side trail climbs up to the south from a landing with toilets. It ends at a pond with birds enjoying this secluded spot.
From the south end of 4 Mile Beach a trail continues along the bluff to 3 Mile Beach and Strawberry Beach if you are looking for a longer hike and more seclusion. Keep in mind that these beaches like many in the area is considered clothing-optional even though citations are being issued by the parks service. More trails for hiking and mountain biking can be found at the inland portion of Wilder Ranch State Park. Some of these trails begin at the locked gate across the highway from the 4 Mile Beach parking lot.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
- Park Name
- Wilder Ranch State Park
- State Park
- Other Names
- Four Mile Beach
- Surfing, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Birdwatching
- Trails, Toilets, Lagoon, Wetlands
- Pet Policy
- No dogs allowed on the beach
- Free parking