DeLaveaga Park in Santa Cruz: Day Hike

I’ve caught the hiking bug all over again. It happens around this time of the year every year. I believe it has something to do with the beautiful weather and our PCT trailversary. As a result Kayla and I decided to hike and explore DeLaveaga Park. 

There is so much history to the park dating to the 1800s from when José Vincente DeLaveaga (successful businessman and financier from San Francisco) purchased the land with the intention for a hacienda (vacation for home), for the DeLaveagas in 1887. When he died in 1894, José DeLaveaga wanted to donate the land to various charities, and the land was officially turned over to the City and County in 1900.

The property featured many different activities, including a military armory and tank practice areas, gun range, movie studios, and even a zoo, home to elk, and black bears.

Now there is a network of trails, and visitors enjoy a host of newer recreational activities. The upper park area features the DeLaveaga Golf Course and Clubhouse, the Disc Golf Course, and Archery Range. Within the lower park, there are ball fields, a bocce ball court, a volleyball court, playground, and picnic areas.

All of this information can be found here.

Trail Map of Poganip Park

Basic Information for the Hike:

1- 5 miles

2 – 3 Hours

1.5 Liters (Reservoir/Camelback) and 20oz from a reusable water bottle with Nuun Sport

Starburst Jelly Beans
Almost brought a sandwich but ate it before I left.

First Step: Deciding What to Pack

I have not hiked at this park before, and I had no idea of the milage. I safely assumed we were going to be out for 2-3 hours and that we were going to hike up to 5 miles max.

Thus I brought my Platypus Big Zip EVO 1.5L Reservoir, and 20oz of water. I brought hand sanitizer, keys, tissues, camera, big lens, chapstick, sunscreen, bandana, extra scrunchie, Nuun Sport, Triscuits, and Starburst Jelly beans

Water to bring to Hiking Mileage Ratio

5 miles = 1 liter minimal
2 hours = 1 liter minimal

Therefore I packed 1.5L of my reservoir and one reusable water bottle (20oz), which is probably equivalent to 68oz. These two liters was needed because it was hot and sunny outside.

Hot Hikes: Water to Hiking Mileage Ratio:
5 miles = 1 Liter of Regular Water; 1 Liter of Water with Electrolytes, preferably Nuun Sport maybe with Caffeine for a mid-hike energy boost.


We parked at the entrance at Delaveaga Park. When you are driving along N. Branciforte drive, it continues, and you will pass an optional trail entry (Enchanted Trail). It would seem as if you are driving towards the Mystery Spot.

We parked near the picnic areas since the trailhead is nearby along with the open restrooms. Another perk: there is a water fountain.


We took the La Corona Trail, which is a one-mile moderate trail popular with mountain bikers. There are steeper climbs as you approach La Corona lookout, which we didn’t go as far since we traversed different trails in an accident.

It can get confusing and you see this trail split and you are unsure if you should go up or It can get confusing. The trail splits occasionally, and we were unsure if you should go up or down. We initially went up, and it merged with the Enchanted Trail, and the other half went to the golf course.

I will need to go back and find the best trail to hike with more accurate photos of exactly where to hike.

We saw these cool trees on the trail we accidental took.

We went back on trail after the first mistake and took the lower trail and we were back on La Corona.

We didn’t go as far because Kayla’s ankle was hurting but it has the lookout and it is know to be “On top of the world.”

After the La Corona Trail (1 mile), I would additionally do Branciforte Trail, then Enchanted trail to the Upper DeLaVeaga Loop Trail (1.5 miles) and then the Lower Redwood Loop Trail (1.0 mile). I prefer to get the challenging section out of the way. It could probably get me up to 5 miles.

Regardless here a few pictures of the park. It’s beautiful and green.

Additionally, we checked out the remains of the zoo, where you can find the remains of the bear cages. It’s nearby the Pacheco Dog Park. There are to posts and mini gate, which was probably the entrance to the zoo or cages.

Here’s another picture of how it looks if you decide to check it out.

If you look closely you will see the barbwire and concrete. Pretty neat! We found that it states 1919 on the concrete.

Cool find! We also found another unmarked trail and we hiked in ~.20 miles. Next time we will look into it, and it will probably lead us into somewhere in the golf course.

Overall, we had a fun day and glad I went outside and caught some fresh air.


Lastly, please remember to leave LEAVE NO TRACE BEHIND and leave it better than you found it. Pack your trash. You brought it in, and you can take it out and properly dispose of it.

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