About Rancho del Oso – Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Come visit the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center!
Spring Hours (April – May): Saturdays and Sundays – 12:00 to 4:00 PM
Starting Monday, May 26 – June: Saturdays through Mondays – 12:00 – 4:00 PM
Scheduled groups by appointment.  Contact us to inquire about opportunities for your group to visit!

Attention: The Seasonal Bridges have been removed.  To access trails, please park in the Waddell Beach Parking Lot.  To visit the Nature and History Center, please use the entrance just south of Waddell Creek.

Stop at the renovated Nature and History Center and discover new interactive exhibits, and share the wonders and diversity of the Waddell Valley. Rancho del Oso is in the coastal section of Big Basin Redwoods State Park and is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1. Turn right before the Waddell Beach parking lot, you’ll see a sign marked Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.

The Center occupies a ranch-style house and grounds that were once the home of Hulda Hoover McLean, daughter of Theodore Hoover whose brother was President Herbert Hoover. It now consists of an intimate, protected courtyard surrounded by an informative exhibit hall that showcases both the natural and cultural history of the area — including photos of the Hoover family — and a large deck overlooking the Waddell Valley and the Pacific Ocean.

For those interested in birding, botany, intertidal marine life, and riparian habitats, the Waddell Beach and the many Rancho del Oso trails offer superb resources for observation and study. Besides the hiking trails in the valley, Waddell Beach is known worldwide as one of the best spots for windsurfing and kite surfing. Regular surfers and boogie boarders also find it an ideal spot to pursue their activities.

California State Parks, in partnership with the Waddell Creek Association, preserves and interprets the natural environment, history, and cultural artifacts of the Waddell Valley and vicinity. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the park any time. The Nature and History Center is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 4 PM.

When you visit, please be sure and park in designated areas; note that dogs are not allowed in any portion of Rancho del Oso.

For more information, call 831 427-2288.