Park Location
Trailhead at University Terrace Park and at Grandview Street behind Grandview Park
Roughly 1 mile in length with a few small side canyons.
A large population of Blue Gum Eucalyptus and plant restoration work around the drainage area.

The Arroyo Seco Canyon runs North to South roughly parallel between Western Drive and Bay Drive in westside Santa Cruz, while perpendicular between Meder Street and Grandview Street. The name seems contradictory because 'arroyo' is a creek and 'seco' means dry. The name is apt, however, because the creekbed is dry for most of the year and only becomes a rushing waterway when it fills with runoff from heavy rainstorms. The area on the whole can seem quite lush because the canyon bottom is saturated from winter rains and sheltered by tall Eucalyptus trees. However, there is a high risk of fire during the summer months because the canyon sides are exposed or covered with drought-tolerant Eucalyptus, containing flammable oils.


The canyon is dominated by a long Eucalyptus grove with vining poison oak carpeting the ground and climbing the trees. There are also coast live oak trees, ferns, horsetails, wild blackberry bushes, grasses, mushrooms, dandelion, and ivy. The blackberries are edible but usually not sweet, and are at their peak at the start of fall. Other wild edibles include dandelion and acorns.


Deer and squirrels frequent the canyon to avoid human contact and obtain food species and possibly water. Quails also tend to nest in the bushes. The canyon is an important wildlife corridor within the developed part of the city. It allows deer and coyote to travel between the UCSC campus and Mission Street.

Dogs are allowed off-leash here.

Eucalyptus Trees Eucalyptus Trees
Arroyo Seco Canyon Trail Blackberries
The Arroyo Grasses and Ferns
Autumn Color of Poison Oak Leaves

See also Parks and Open Spaces for info on other local parks


2010-07-12 14:03:40   What happened with the bottom of the Arroyo Seco Canyon trail where it connects with Grandview St.? There's unfriendly signage all over, and the path has been fenced in so tightly that a bicycle and a pedestrian in opposite directions cannot cross each other. (Yet people continue to use it, which does make me happy) —