Friday, February 26, 2010

"Hiking" the Chaminade Nature Trail

When we adopted Koa, our 3-year-old German Shepherd, my husband and I swore that we would do everything right. Feed him the right food (grain free salmon and sweet potato kibble), set the right boundaries (no barking, no jumping, no digging) and give him plenty of exercise.

So my husband takes him for a walk before work and before bed, and I get to have the best time of day all to myself: the afternoon walk.

We live near the Chaminade Resort and Spa, one of the better hotels in Santa Cruz. Along with their award-winning brunch and lovely spa, visitors to the Chaminade can enjoy tennis courst, badmintion, volleyball, croquet ... and scenic hiking trails.

But because I live here, I get to enjoy the Chaminade's scenic hiking trails anytime I want. And I do. Daily. Even better, if you're visiting Santa Cruz and want to take an easy hike winding through forsests, eucalyptus groves and grassy fields, you can too ... for free! I'd like to call it a hike, but my husband reminds me that it's a walk. With a hill.
Koa and I start out at a public park that allows dogs. The sign never fails to crack me up:

Maybe the owners will be fined. Maybe not. Who knows?

Each evening, Koa and I slip through the gate to the Chaminade trails. If we have just a little bit of daylight, we take the red trail. It's 1.25 miles long, and a very gentle walk until the end, which is uphill enough to make me huff and puff the tiniest bit.
If the sun has been out long enough to make me think we might not be squelching through mud (it is February, after all), we'll opt for the 1.75 mile blue trail. That one is Koa's favorite. It meanders along a stream, and has plenty of fallen trees and other nooks and crannies that dogs love to poke their noses into.
Both trails officially start by the Chaminade tennis courts (easily accessible by car, just drive in, park and start walking!), and you see lovely sights like these. o, if you're visiting Santa Cruz and need a nice, easy, shady walk through the woods before hitting Pizza My Heart (more on that later), head to the Chaminade nature trails.

Don't worry if you see an off-leash German Shepherd. He's friendly.


  1. Isn't there a leash law sign-posted? I want to not encounter off-leash dogs. My dog was attacked by a very friendly Rottweiler--thousands of bucks in surgery--almost died.

    1. Same here. My head is exploding when I see off leash dogs in this trail and everywhere where they should not be. It's upsetting, disrespectful and inconsiderate.

  2. Yes please, leash your dog. It's because of irresponsible dog owner that residents can't use this trail anymore. Off leash dogs are not permitted in SC County. It's the law. Again, leash your dog. It's that simple.