Field Trips to the San Lorenzo River

In downtown Santa Cruz, the lower San Lorenzo River provides a beautiful natural setting for youth to explore and learn about the natural and cultural history of this critical cultural and natural resource. Accessible from the Santa Cruz Riverwalk (a 5-mile loop trail), students will engage in hands-on activities to explore, learn about and protect the San Lorenzo River. It is CWC’s commitment that through these experiences, youth will build a deeper connection to the river and lifelong connection to nature.

All field trips involve hands-on, interdisciplinary activities that support the CA Next Generation Science Standards. Field trips are available weekdays during school hours or after-school to schools and youth groups. Please schedule your field trip at least three weeks in advance. CWC requests that K-3rd grade classes are accompanied by one chaperone per four students and 4th-8th grade classes be accompanied by one chaperone per six students.

San Lorenzo River Field Trips are made possible in collaboration with the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department and with generous funding from the County of Santa Cruz, City of Santa Cruz CORE Investments, Richard and Susan Beach Family Fund, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Robin & Doug Engfer Charitable Foundation.

Youth River Health Days


Help protect the San Lorenzo River riparian habitat by helping to increase biodiversity. Depending upon the season students will either plant native trees or shrubs, remove invasive plants or water existing native plants.

Field Trips As Part of a Lesson Series

The Coastal Watershed Council offers grade-specific lessons for K-7th grade classes throughout Santa Cruz County consisting of three classroom-based activities and one field trip to the lower San Lorenzo River. Click here to find full descriptions of each grade-specific lesson series.

Create a Custom Field Trip

To plan a custom field trip with CWC educators please fill out the below field trip registration form and describe what activities that are of interest to you and your students. CWC educators will work with you to customize your field trip based upon your interests. Please note that customization may be limited by permit restrictions, safety considerations, seasonal river changes and time of year.

Field Trip Locations

For each field trip, the Coastal Watershed Council secures special use permits from the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department. We access areas that are typically not accessible to the general public to create a safe and meaningful experience. 

How to Prepare for Your Field Trip

What to Bring:

  • Signed Youth Waiver Form (see below)
  • Close-toed shoes
  • Layered clothing
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks as needed

Teachers, please have parents and guardians complete the waiver form prior to the field trip and have available for the day of the field trip. CWC will request a copy of the waiver for our records.

San Lorenzo River Field Trip Sign Up Form