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.
Oh 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:Grab 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!
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)
The 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”?)
Until 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.
A typical redwood forest scene in the lower areas of the preserve
And a turnoff with yet another dog bowl.
A few steep parts, with a rope to steady yourself.
…and a second major overlook area. “Eagle in Tree Vista” on the map
…and the Porcupine Hollow turnoff to the “Cathedral Rest Spot”
Not quite as wide and groomed as most parks, but you’re not likely to get lost!
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:
House-made sausages, sandwiches, and treats for your canine companion.
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.
(A WW1 memorial next to the picnic tables. Donald Leon Rose, died in France in 1918)
…and a map of the town…
That’s it! Enjoy the drive and exploring Byrne-Milliron and Corralitos