Skirting the campus of the University of California Santa Cruz is a higher education in going green (vast rolling meadows), being serene (hidden koi pond), and seeing red (redwoods!). Pogonip is a wander-land (and will have wildflowers to boot, in the coming weeks). Savor your time here on a 3-mile (round-trip) lollipop loop hike that combines Spring Trail, Spring Box Trail, and Lime Kiln Trail. Start at the Spring Street entrance, hiking the Spring Trail for about 1.6 miles, bypassing Ohlone Trail and turning onto the unmarked but well-traveled Spring Box Trail (it’s the next trail you encounter after passing Ohlone Trail).
Head uphill into a dense, canopied forest of oaks, madrones, firs, and a beautiful grove of stately redwoods enshrining a man-made koi pond and adjacent bench. (Yes, you should take a few minutes here.) Resume on Spring Box Trail up to Lime Kiln Trail, where a right turn leads to—you guessed it—limestone kilns, a historic relic adorned in mossy greens. Continue along Lime Kiln Trail, turning right at the junction to follow Spring Trail and complete the loop.
The entrance to Spring Trail is at Spring Street off High Street. Free street parking is available on Spring Street, right by the trailhead. Map. Dog-friendly!