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Lighthouse Field State Beach

A popular destination for surfers, bicyclists, and dog walkers, Lighthouse Field State Beach lies south of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and north of Natural Bridges State Park. There is no wheelchair access to the beach, but a pathway that runs for almost three miles along the cliffs next to West Cliff Drive provides plenty of opportunities...
A popular destination for surfers, bicyclists, and dog walkers, Lighthouse Field State Beach lies south of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and north of Natural Bridges State Park. There is no wheelchair access to the beach, but a pathway that runs for almost three miles along the cliffs next to West Cliff Drive provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy ocean views and look for marine life. Housed inside the Mark Abbot Memorial Lighthouse is the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, the world’s first surfing museum. Watch for surfers heading down the stairs toward renowned Steamer Lane. Be sure to bring your binoculars.

Visitor center: Displays trace 100 years of Santa Cruz surfing history, including surfboard designs from early to modern. Photos and videos demonstrate surfing styles through time.

Trail/Pathway Details

West Cliff Drive Bicycle Path

Trailhead: You can access the walkway at many points along West Cliff Drive.

Length: 2-4 total miles

Typical Width: 4 ft. & above

The trail can be crowded on weekends and after work, but there's enough room to travel in a wheelchair.

Typical Grade: Mostly level or gentle

There is a steep section from Cowell Beach to about a tenth of a mile past the hotels, after which the trail levels out.

Terrain: Hard

Description

The paved bicycle and pedestrian path along West Cliff Drive starts at the Santa Cruz Wharf and gently climbs uphill for close to three miles, to Natural Bridges State Park. As you leave Cowell Beach, you will encounter one of the few steep inclines--less than an eighth of a mile, which levels out past a couple of hotels....
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Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Beach Wheelchair: No

Along West Cliff Drive by lighthouse, at lot just outside entrance to Natural Bridges State Park, and at entrance to Cowell Beach at southernmost end of West Cliff Drive Near lighthouse and Cowell Beach
View south toward lighthouse
View south toward lighthouse (Martha Wegner)

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Features icon key

  • bicycling
  • hiking
  • wildlife viewing

Additional Information

View Map  
Website: www.parks.ca.gov
Managing Agency: City of Santa Cruz and California State Parks
Address: 701 West Cliff Dr., Santa Cruz
Nearest City: Santa Cruz
Phone: Lighthouse Field SB: (831) 429-2850; City of Santa Cruz: (831) 420-5030
Hours: Park: Sunrise to sunset
Visitor center: Thurs.–Mon., noon-4 pm; summer hours (July 4 through Labor Day) Wed.–Mon., 10 am-5 pm
Fees: None
Dogs: On leash
Public Transportation: Santa Cruz Metro 
Useful Links: Santa Cruz Surfing Museum 
Reviewed by Martha Wegner, February 26, 2009
Access Norhtern California This web guide is a project of Access Northern California.  
California Coastal Conservancy Thanks to our partner the California Coastal Conservancy

DISCLAIMER: Although the information contained in this web-guide was believed to be correct at the time of publication, neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy shall be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, nor for information that changes or becomes outdated. Neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy assume any liability for any injury or damage arising out of, or in connection with, any use of this guide or the sites described in it.

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Accessible Wheelchair Icon looks like a wheelchair with balloon wheelsBeach Accessible
Wheelchairs Available
  Hiking icon is silhouette of a hikerHiking & Trails
Biking icon looks like person riding a bikeBicycling   Good for Familis icon is a child on a swing'Particularly Good for Families
Boating Icon is a boatBoating   Picnic Area Icon is a picnic tablePicnic
Camping icon is a tentCamping   Swimming Icon is a person swimmingSwimming
Fishing Icon is a fish biting a hookFishing   Wildlife Viewing Icon is a pair of binocularsWildlife Viewing
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