A Short Drive to a Short Hike
Glenwood Trail in Scotts Valley
Neil Wiley

After a week of stormy weather, I was looking for a hike I could walk between rains. I found it in nearby Scotts Valley.

On the way, I decided to get off Highway 17 at Glenwood Drive. It’s not much of a highway, but if you go slowly enough, the old curving two-lane road is an enjoyable alternative. Yes, it’s a bit bumpy, but winding your way through the dark, green, moss-covered forest filtered by wisps of fog creates a quiet and mysterious experience. I made several stops along the way to take pictures and absorb the greenness.

As a mid-Westerner, I remember that greening was a sign of spring there, but not here. Instead, we appreciate the green that comes with the first winter rains, especially after the dust and fire-danger of drought. Anyway, Glenwood Drive on a foggy winter day is very, very green.

When you leave the forests of Glenwood, you find the open spaces of Scotts Valley. On the right is a large complex maze of buildings and parking lots devoted to Scotts Valley High School. Find a place to park as close as possible to the sports fields. Walk to the far right, and then circle around the baseball field. Just to the left of the screened backstop, take the trail north uphill past the fenced pasture devoted to two horses and some endangered species, most notably the Ohlone tiger beetle, Scotts Valley spineflower, and Opler’s longhorn moth.

As you walk up the short hill, you’ll find two parallel trails that run west to east. When you find a connecting path, go up to the higher path. This is not the path to enlightenment, but it takes you past the tennis courts and a trail to the north marked by a small but important sign. Following this trail, takes you into a surprisingly deep, dark forest. Just follow the arrows.

The single-track trail is narrow, shady, and covered with decomposing leaves that are easy on the feet. Unfortunately, after heavy rains, it was slippery, a concern when the path is high up on a canyon wall with some steep ascents and descents. When you come to an intersection with a trail to the right, take the left fork but remember this spot.

The trail goes down and down until you reach a resting place called Eagle’s Nest. I don’t think any self-respecting eagle would be there. At least, I didn’t see any, but it’s a good place for a summer picnic.

Go back up to that wide space with the trail branching to the east. A few steps on this new trail bring you out of dark forest into bright sunlight. A few more steps take you past the walls of brush to reveal views of Scotts Valley to the east and south. Look to the left. You should see a bench where you can sit comfortably and enjoy the scenery. You can’t see forever, but you can view green hills, a nature/urban interface, and distant mountains.

To complete the loop, you can follow the lower parallel trail past the tennis courts and baseball field, down a short trail down to the playfields, and walk back to one of the many parking lots.

I recommend that you visit this trail when school is not in session. I didn’t see any fences or no trespassing signs, but this is not a public park. Stay on the trails, and don’t disturb the natives. Oh, and enjoy.