Horse Camping Wilder

ndwoods | March 18, 2012 | 8 Comments »

Yes! You can horse camp at Wilder!

Endurance riders who have ridden Santa Cruz’s Fireworks race, will be well acquainted with Wilder’s horse camping area and equestrian staging area as one of the rest spots on the 50 miler.   Camping is primative on this large flat open bluff, but there are 6 corrals available, water, portapotty and picnic tables.   Camping on this lovely bluff will present you with full views of the Ocean from any spot you choose!   It can get quite windy, but just park your trailer parallel to the ocean and sleep on the mountain side of your trailer.

The horse camping area is located in a different area than park headquarters.   Take highway 1 north from the city of Santa Cruz.  You will actually pass the main entrance for Wilder on your left,  but keep going, and 3 miles from the city limits,  you will come to Dimeo Lane (also the turn off for the city landfill) on your right.  Turn right onto Dimeo, and then take an immediate right just a few feet from the highway turnoff.  You’ll be at a locked gate, with plenty of room for a truck and trailer to pull in and sit while you get out and unlock the gate.  Once through the gate, you will drive up a steep paved road/driveway a couple hundred yards into the camping area.  Call 831 423-9703 for gate code to the equestrian staging/camping area near Dimeo Lane.

The camping area is on the northwest corner of the park…lots of trails are accessed from the camp….Horseman’s trail is the trail leading out of the camping area onto the trails, and will lead you in 0.6 miles right onto lots of trails in the park.  In fact, if you are a hardy rider, you can get to all 34 miles of the mountain side trails from the camp, given enough time!   But, one of my favorite trails in the entire park is close by…the Wilder Ridge Loop.  And, you can access this lovely loop by heading out the Horseman’s Trail from the camping area.   Take Horsemans’ Trail .6 miles to  Wilder Ridge and then follow the signs of Wilder Ridge to complete the loop in 5 miles, …then take the same .6 miles of  Horseman’s trail back to camp!

*Special note regarding beaches.   There is access to 4 mile beach from Baldwin Loop near Wilder horse camp.  I have not taken that trail yet, but understand there is a little tunnel under the highway you must dismount to get through.  Also,  there are beaches a short trailer ride away should you be interested….Moss Landing,  Waddell Beach and several others.  Adding beach info to this website is on my to do list.

Highway One from the driveway, you can see the driveway is only about 15 feet from highway one!

Wilder’s Horse Staging Area Driveway, plenty of room to pull a trailer in and unlock the gate…

Wilder Horse Camping driveway, looking from the gate back down to Dimeo Lane and hwy 1

Wilder Staging Area, short steep road from gate to horse camping area

Wilder Horse Camping Pipe Pen Corral and picnic table

No granite and tile facilities, but the view from Wilder Horse Camping is elegant!

Water Trough at Wilder Horse Camping, and one of two water faucets. 

8 Responses

  1. Nina says:

    Thank you so much for the great info!! Being new to the area, it was very helpful. The only issue I’m having is that I’ve left a several messages at the number given requesting the gate code, but haven’t heard back. Any suggestions? Also, is there a number to call to find out when/if they close the park due to rain? I’m dying to get out and ride this weekend…thanks again!

    • ndwoods says:

      Hi. That is the only number I know of except State Parks emergency dispatch which I don’t know offhand. I will try and get another and post it. In the meantime, it is pretty much a given locally that after a hard rain or 2-3 days of steady rain that the park is closed at the tunnel. There is a gate they shut the tunnel with…and then they open it in a day or so. Dee

  2. David says:

    Hi ndwoods,

    Last Sunday as I was rambling about Pacheco State Park the notion occurred to me of that equestrian enthusiast gal ndwoods on our backpacker mag forum who lives nearby in Santa Cruz. Am guessing you are aware the park is very popular with horse riders (well bet horses love being in lushly green places too) so maybe you have already visited there since it is in your region? Over the years I’ve seen as many on horses there as people as it is a rather not well known underutilized state park.

    Anyway despite the drought it is wonderfully green at the moment with fairly nice areas of wildflowers now about at peak, so thought I’d toss this your way as something worth considering to explore. However it is nowhere near as nice this spring as when I made the below image after a wet winter. In fact did not see a single goldfield but there are good numbers of poppies and several other species:

    • ndwoods says:

      Hi David!
      Thanks for dropping by my site! I actually have never been to Pacheco…but now you have piqued my interest! And as usual, your photo is stunning!!!!!!! Dee

  3. jean says:

    two years into horse ownership. seeking to try horse camping. looks like long-advanced reservations are needed for the friendly recommended henry cowell. not likely going to happen. does wilder require reservations? do you think it will be really busy june 30-july 4 week? thanks. where do the horses go at night? corral?

    • ndwoods says:

      Hi. Wilder does not need reservations. And I’ve never seen it full. Call ahead to get the gate combo. And yes, there are corrals for the horses at night.

  4. Pat judge says:

    Is the horse camp and trails still available for use? If so what is the gate arrangement and charges? Thank you, Sincerely, Patrick Judge

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