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Guide to the San Lorenzo Valley & Santa Cruz Mountains

The San Lorenzo Valley

The San Lorenzo Valley

The San Lorenzo Valley is a beautiful valley in the Santa Cruz Mountains, just north of Santa Cruz and west of San Jose and Silicon Valley. The San Lorenzo River runs the length of the valley as it tumbles down 2000 feet from its headwaters to Santa Cruz, where it joins Monterey Bay.

SLV includes several communities, three state parks (including Big Basin Redwoods State Park), many historical sites, resorts and tourist attractions. The valley was originally settled to help provide goods for the burgeoning Gold Rush cities in the greater region, but soon became an area of summer homes and fishing under the redwoods. Several large stands of old growth redwoods survive to this day and the majority of the valley is covered with towering second growth trees just turning the century mark.

Bounded by the bustle of Silicon Valley and Scotts Valley to the north and east, and Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay to the south, the valley is home to roughly 30,000 people. Many valley residents work in the nearby computer industries and come home to relax amidst the trees. Perhaps this helps explain why the region has the highest number of internet providers per capita of any region in the world.

San Lorenzo Valley is an easy day trip from anywhere in the San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose region. It is 90 minutes south of San Francisco and Oakland, 40 minutes from Stanford or San Jose, and a half hour or less from the world headquarters of Netscape, Yahoo, Apple, Adobe, Sun, Javasoft, HP, SCO, SGI, and many more familiar Silicon Valley names.

In the other direction, the SLV is only an hour or so drive from Monterey’s historic Cannery Row, Pebble Beach, and lovely Carmel by the Sea. Santa Cruz is our regional hub. The beach and the boardwalk are just minutes away.

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