This area on Soquel Avenue has been known to flood and disrupt traffic. In California, a creek is often named gulch, and the name applies both to the gully and the stream. The USGS maps have the stream listed as Arana Gulch. A few maps have it listed as Arana Creek and Arana Gulch Creek. It is listed here as Arana Gulch Creek to distinguish the creek from the wetland area of the same name.


Arana Gulch is a creek that starts in the Santa Cruz Mountains, passes under Highway 1, flows near Harbor High School, Through the Arana Gulch greenbelt and draining into the Santa Cruz Harbor and Monterey Bay.

The Arana Gulch Watershed, a 3.5-square-mile basin, is in the middle of Santa Cruz County. The headwaters begin 600 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The upper portion of the watershed is rural. Three tributaries converge at the beginning of the flood plain behind the Oak Meadow Cemetery and drain into Arana Gulch. Watershed jurisdiction: Santa Cruz County City of Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Port District Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary The lower reaches of the watershed fall within the Coastal Zone

Arana Gulch is also the name of a 67.7-acre designated greenbelt on the Santa Cruz east side, that contains grasslands, woodlands, wetlands, and the creek of Arana Gulch. The Santa Cruz tarplant (Holocarpha macradenia), is a federally-listed threatened species and a state-listed endangered species. It grows in the Arana Gulch greenbelt.


The creek and area get the name from José Arana an early pioneer and land owner. The gulch once formed the eastern boundary of the city of Santa Cruz. The creek has been known for flooding. In 1982 it flooded the area where Soquel Avenue crosses Arana Gulch. Several cars that tried to cross the flooded road stalled, and required a tow. A flood level alarm was installed. The next time the water level rose to set off the alarm, it became obvious that the alarm only keeps people awake (and cranky) at night. There really isn't anything that can be done when the water level rises. In January 1999 erosion in Arana Gulch carved a 75 foot long gully through an orchard near Paul Sweet Road. Later in February 1999 silt from Arana Gulch filled-in part of the upper harbor area.


Several roads cross Arana Gulch. Highway 1, Soquel Avenue are the major crossings.


showing Arana Gulch area greenbelt.

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