Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve, Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz

Within Natural Bridges State Beach, in Santa Cruz, you’ll find the Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve, a grove of eucalyptus trees where thousands of Monarch Butterflies spend the winter each year.  The butterflies may be viewed by taking a short 0.75 mile Monarch Trail loop through the Preserve, or by simply taking the short, wheel-chair accessible Monarch Boardwalk to the viewing platform.  The monarchs are here from mid-October through mid-February.

We visited the Preserve yesterday and were so fortunate that the weather was in the 70’s.   The butterflies become more active when temperatures rise above 55 degrees, fluttering magically throughout the viewing area.  On colder days, it’s more likely you’ll find them clumped together in bunches, staying warm.  Still worth seeing!

While here, be sure to check out the Visitor Center, which has some nice exhibits about Monarch Butterflies, migration, and metamorphosis (my 5-year-old was quite interested in the video showing a caterpillar changing into a butterfly).  Also, if the tide is right, be sure to head to the tide pools!  I’ll write about that tomorrow.

For more information about Natural Bridges State Beach, visit the California State Parks website…

For specific information about the Monarch Trail, visit this page, which includes a hike description…


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