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Panther Beach

PANTHER BEACH: Just a little about 10 miles north of Santa Cruz, Panther Beach is a local secret and is a spectacular place to enjoy a picnic lunch, or the beauty of the pacific or climb a boulder or two. This beach area is gorgeous! There is a large boulderable arch, and many beachside climbing sections at this little oasis. In the middle of the Beachside Wall there is a cave extending 10 feet into the rock. At the left side of entrance, there are a few good hands within reach above the overhang of the cave. The landings are in the sand, so it makes it fairly safe for dropping. Without questions, Panther Beach is known for rock climbing and the difficulties in climb ranges from very easy to more advanced climbs, putting you over 25 feet in the air. Because a lot of the rock is sandstone, climbing should however be done with caution. The high tide also will affect some of the routes.

DIRECTIONS: CA Hiway1 just south of Davenport between milepost 26.86 and 26.4. The entrance is very hard to see when coming from the north. Look for a dirt road between the west side of highway and the railroad track and be prepared to make a very sharp turn.

Parking: Park on the dirt between the highway and the railroad tracks (west of the highway) Take special care with your belongings, as vandalism has been reported there.

Walking: From the north end of the parking area, cross the tracks and follow the trail. It is steep and eroded, use with caution and watch for poison oak.

The only way to get to Hole in the Wall is to walk through the hole in the rocks at the south end of the beach, but do not try it at high tide and be sure to get back before the tide comes in.

NOTE: Directly next to Panther Beach is Hole in the Wall, which is considered a nude beach.

ACTIVITIES: An incredible beach for nature sight seeing, bird watching, rock climbing, sun bathing, or just enjoying a picnic lunch.

LOCAL FLAVORS: Just minutes from downtown Santa Cruz, where there is the famous Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park or the Mystery Spot, plenty of shopping in renovated historic downtown. There is plenty to see and do while visiting this popular Northern California hot spot.

  • Santa Cruz Wharf
  • Memorial Lighthouse Museum
  • Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
  • Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
  • Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra
  • Santa Cruz Mission
  • Steamer Lane/World famous surfing spot
  • Cabrillo Music Festival/First week in August

by: Carla Iacovetti
©2006Carla Iacovetti