What to wear in Wilder

ndwoods | March 16, 2012 | No Comments »

Wearing a jacket on this lovely spring day.  Santa Cruz with it’s ocean influence is generally a little cool….

Ah, weather.  Weather is such a tricky topic to outdoors folks.  What to wear?  What to prepare for?    How to be comfortable without toting your whole closet on your back!

If you live on the Coast then you know the weather is generally mild and maybe a little on the  coolish side.   And, if you are at or near the beach often , then you know that close to the beaches,  the mountain-sea breezes are in effect a majority of days in Santa Cruz…thus in Wilder.    For Wilder is a park of varied terrain that includes beaches and mountains both.    From a great many of the trails you travel you will be blessed with lovely views of the ocean.  And most trails will travel up, and then down,  the golden hills of California….and so will the breezes.   However, once you get into the interior of the park and unless you are on exposed ridges, then the temperature can get quite nice and the breezes won’t affect you.  And, Santa Cruz can get about 30 inches of rain a year.  So, be prepared for anything!

An ideal outer covering in all but rainy days, would be  a lightweight windbreaker that can also shed mist.   An ideal warmth layer would be a light fleece sweater.   More than likely on uphill climbs or once away from the coastal trails you will shed both those layers.   But, you will be glad to have them aboard once you are heading downhill or getting close to the beaches again.    Very light gloves and hat are not a bad idea either.

Special items for sun protection you might be very grateful to have brought along are wide brim hats and lightweight long sleeve shirts.

The trails in Wilder are nice hardpack sand or dirt pathways in the majority.  They are not the rock hopping agility test of the high sierra,  nor the slogging through deep  sandy trails.  There are paths that bikes have worn deep V grooves in so are a little trickier….and there are a few steeper, slicker trails in the canyons.   However, generally footwear is not too important and if you have a pair of comfy running shoes you like then that is all you really need.

You really only need to come lightly prepared….all that you need will fit easily in a daypack with your map and water and lunch.

So grab your sweater and come hike….the stunning ocean views of Wilder await you!


On a knoll just south of the Ranch proper…Wilder is generally sunny but breezy enough for a jacket in April.

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