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.