Highway 9 leaves Santa Cruz east of downtown, following trestles and winding train track to the mountain town of Felton. Outside Felton, the narrow-gauge locomotives at Roaring Camp Railroads (831-335-4484) leave hourly for trips into the big trees. Farther north on the 9, you pass through Ben Lomond and Boulder Creek before veering left onto the 238 and into Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The half-mile Redwood Loop trail leads past the tallest trees in the park. To return to the coast, continue north on 238, go left onto Highway 35, then left again onto Highway 84. The 84 drops to the San Gregorio General Store (650-726-0565), where Mavericks ale is served at the bar and bands play out in front on weekends.
Photograph by John Pimiroo/Roaring Camp Railroads