Capitola Fossils
Neil Wiley

Not every hike must be a challenge. Sometimes it’s good to stroll, saunter, amble, ramble, or just mosey along. Here is a local walk that your family might enjoy.

Looking for fossils
A walk on the beach is an easy sell, but Capitola offers some extras. New Brighton and Seacliff state beaches provide miles of beaches backed by high bluffs, forests of cypress and Monterey pine, the scuttled Palo Alto supply ship, a renovated pier for fishing, lots of wildlife (pelicans, cormorants, an occasional sea lion, and migrating whales and monarch butterflies), pleasant picnic areas, and the Seacliff natural history visitor’s center.

The walk from New Brighton to Seacliff is about a mile and a half, but you can also walk up the coast toward downtown Capitola-by-the-Sea during low tide
For tide tables, visit Simply click on Santa Cruz and the date. (For example, on July 4, the low tide for Santa Cruz will be 1.7 feet at 9:59 a.m.)

Low tide opens up an interesting world of little sea creatures and rock-bound fossils. You can find fossilized mollusk shells, whale ribs and vertebrae, and interesting rocks. Although the eroding cliffs are dangerous to climb, they reveal more fossils and geological discoveries.
To reach New Brighton, take Highway 1 south to Park Avenue, and turn right into the park. For more information, go to, and search for New Brighton.