A short, sunny stroll among flowers
Walking Skypark in Scotts Valley
Neil Wiley

If you are looking for a wilderness adventure, Skypark isnít it. The trail is paved. Itís flat. And there are no mysterious forests, streams, or giant critters. But if you would like a close-by place to stroll, perhaps over a lunch time or after dinner, for about a mile through drought-tolerant landscaping, Skypark Nature Walk and California Native Plant Garden is a pleasant place to walk.
Itís also a great place for dogs. Leashed dogs are permitted on the trail, but even better, a fenced dog park is available to let your dog run free, play fetch, or meet other dogs. If you are nervous about your dog running with the big dogs, a second fenced area is available for smaller canines. No, there are no areas for cats.

This is also a great place for kids. A big new skate board park is open to the public. Just be sure you have a helmet, wrist pads, and other optional padding. It wouldnít hurt to have a good hospitalization insurance policy, too. Yes, it looks dangerous; but to many boys and some girls of a certain age, itís just fun. Children under ten must be accompanied by an adult.

For other games, Skypark provides a modern playground, soccer fields, and four tennis courts. And if you like to eat, the picnic areas come with shaded tables and bathrooms.

Are you on a water budget? Walking the nature trail takes you past about eighty different plant species. Plant labels help you pick some favorites for your own garden. Most are drought-tolerant and deer-resistant.

In season, you can see scarlet-red California fuchsia, golden-yellow sticky monkey flowers, green to tan ornamental grasses, tasty holly-leaf cherries, blue ceanothus, or our favoriteóPacific Coast irises.

Skypark gets its name from the airport built here in 1947, and operated through 1982. Although close to Santa Cruz and our mountains, many pilots considered it unforgiving because of the short runway and high bluffs. So now it is home to a development of small, but lovely, homes and a pleasant community park.

To reach the park, take Highway 17 south to Mt. Hermon Road. Turn right on Kings Village Road (the second entrance to the Kings Village Shopping Center), then left past the Scotts Valley Sports Center to a parking area for the dog park and skateboard park. You can travel further up the road to additional parking near the playground. If tennis is your game, or you wish to avoid children, continue on Mt. Hermon Road past Kings Village Road to Skypark Drive and take it to the end, then right to the tennis courts.

For more information about recreation at the park, call 831-438-3251. For more information about the parkís drought-tolerant landscaping, call Sheryl McEwan, 831-439-9158.



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