I was having a really bad day the other week. I was tempted to curl up into a little ball and succumb to my emotions. But then I just decided not to. There are quite a few shorter trails in my hiking book that are long drive (45+ minutes) for us. I’ve been avoiding them. But I thought it would be nice to take a long drive to a destination that was sure to be beautiful. Surely that would snap me out of my funk. And it worked.
The Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz is easy to find. Since it is a state park you need to pay $9 or use your state park annual pass.
We parked in the large parking lot (don’t stop at the very small lot close to the entrance) and started our hike at the Monarch Trail. The boardwalk path was really nice for the girls to run and the fencing kept them nice and safe.
This area apparently hosts the largest concentration of Monarch butterflies during the winter! We saw a few flying around but it was pretty chilly and overcast and they don’t like that kind of weather.
I never get tired of seeing my girls running and enjoying themselves.
These natural rock stairs are so cool!
I was smart and put Eliza in the pack again. She really was happy about it for the most part, despite her scowl here.
We had completed about 95% of the hike when we came across this. That foot bridge should NOT be laying in the creek.
It took me a few minutes to decide what to do (turn around and basically do the hike again or figure out how to get everyone across). I somehow managed to carry them over one at a time without getting anyone wet. That was an adventure!! (That guy in the background is another hiker that came along.)
And WOW. Just wow. And the water in that lagoon was pretty warm, which a big treat for us since the water in Monterey is about 50 degrees.
I didn’t bring swimsuits so I just let them swim in their clothes. I knew it would be a big mess getting everyone home since I didn’t have a change of clothes for them either, but how could I deny them all the fun that there was to be had?
We had such a great time, we actually went back the following Sunday so Caleb and Shane could see how awesome this place is!
Shane had a really good time!
This is hike #2 from my Monterey Hikes list.
Hiking distance: 1 mile
Elevation gain: 50 feet
Best for… all ages