Byrne-Milliron Preserve & Corralitos Sausage Co.

I recently found out about the “Byrne-Milliron Preserve”, just outside Corralitos. How could I not have known about this great place? It’s 402 acres under the ownership and care of the Land Trust of Santa Cruz http://www.landtrustsantacruz.org/category/byrne-milliron-forest/ (I found out about it via some local Geocachers http://www.geocaching.com/ when the property received it’s first caches.)

It’s a very cool place, and very dog-friendly.  Located less than 4 miles from Corralitos, when you reach the parking lot you’ll start to notice the whimsical nature of this forest.

IMG_2667Oh yeah, getting there! Go to the center of Corralitos and drive 2.7 miles on Browns Valley Road, heading east for a few blocks, then the road turns to the left (north). Look for a small sign on the left for #809 and “Roses of Yesterday & Today” and follow the paved driveway for another mile. There are no huge signs that say “Turn here for an awesome unknown preserve!”

The turnoff:IMG_2708Grab a trail map near the parking lot, or print one at home http://www.landtrustsantacruz.org/lands/ByrneTrailMap_CP2.pdf. I used “Open Street Maps” on my iPhone and it worked great.

At each of several high vista points you’ll see collections of trinkets, mementos, and logbooks to write a few thoughts. This is not a “sanitized” park like you’re used to!

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This is “AJ’s Point of View” on the official map http://www.landtrustsantacruz.org/lands/ByrneTrailMap_CP2.pdf

Bring a book, bring a camera, bring lunch…(and bring water! there’s only a Porta-potty in the parking lot)

IMG_2674The mailbox contains binoculars, and some logbooks to read and contribute to. The water is probably best left for the dogs, out of caution. (Did I mention there are water bowls for dogs “everywhere”?)

IMG_2676Until 2 months ago the caretaker was Jeff Helmer, who recently passed-away. He sounds like a great guy (not just because he had three times as many Studebakers as I do!) http://www.landtrustsantacruz.org/in-memory-of-jeff-helmer/    http://www.landtrustsantacruz.org/jeff-helmer/

We found Jeff’s business card in one of the trailside treasure troves.

IMG_2681A typical redwood forest scene in the lower areas of the preserve

IMG_2686And a turnoff with yet another dog bowl.

IMG_2687A few steep parts, with a rope to steady yourself.

IMG_2689…and a second major overlook area. “Eagle in Tree Vista” on the map

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…and the Porcupine Hollow turnoff to the “Cathedral Rest Spot”

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Not quite as wide and groomed as most parks, but you’re not likely to get lost!

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It was a GREAT FIND! It’s only 402 acres, but it feels much bigger. There’s some steep climbs and quite a few trails to be explored. There were 10 cars in the parking lot when we returned at 1:00PM. I think we saw most of those groups at one point. More than half of them had happy off-leash dogs. (Bring your dog if you have one!) Take your time and enjoy the Byrne-Milliron Forest!

…and consider a visit to to Corralitos Market and Sausage Company on the way back.

A cute little country market, with a famous meat counter at the back:

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House-made sausages, sandwiches, and treats for your canine companion.

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I ordered a hot sausage sandwich, with a bit of sauerkraut and horseradish, plus a giant pickle. Walk across the street to the “town square” and have a little picnic.

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(A WW1 memorial next to the picnic tables. Donald Leon Rose, died in France in 1918)

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…and a map of the town…

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That’s it! Enjoy the drive and exploring Byrne-Milliron and Corralitos

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About AlphaRoaming

Random outdoor roaming: hiking, cycling, camping, backpacking & plotting more of the above Grew up on the edges of the Adirondack mountains of New York, just a bit west of Vermont. Now living in Silicon Valley and venturing out when and where I can!
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