We’re excited to share news about progress on two important trail projects on the North Coast: the Coastal Rail Trail and the Cotoni-Coast Dairies trail network. 

The Coastal Rail Trail

Two parts of the North Coast Rail Trail have been shortlisted for $10.65 million in federal grants: Segment 5 Phase One, and Highway 1 Cotoni-Coast Dairies Overcrossing. Being shortlisted means that the projects no longer have to compete with other projects for these grants, although they still need to pass through final grant approvals. 

The Segment 5 Phase One project spans a 5.4 mile stretch along the coast, from Wilder Ranch to Yellowbank/Panther Beach, and includes both the paved path in the rail corridor and unpaved coastal bluffs paths.

Map showing Segment 5 Phase 1 of the Coastal Rail Trail

The Highway 1 Cotoni-Coast Dairies Overcrossing will provide a safe way for pedestrians and bicycles to cross Highway 1 at Panther Gap/Yellow Bank Creek and will connect the north segment of the Coastal Rail Trail to trails and parking on both sides of the highway.  

Construction for both phases of Segment 5 is planned for 2024. When Segment 5 of the Rail Trail is fully built, it will continue the remaining 2.1 miles from Yellowbank/Panther Beach to Davenport and will also include new parking lots in Davenport and at Yellowbank/Panther Beach, improved access to the parking lot at Bonny Doon beach, and a pedestrian crossing in Davenport. Click here to read more about this project on the updated RTC fact sheet. 

The Cotoni Coast Dairies Trails

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) owns the 6,000 acres of Cotoni Coast Dairies land, but public access is currently limited to guided tours. The BLM and the Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship (SCMTS) are starting to build an initial 19 miles of multiple-use trails this month. Eventually, the area will provide nearly 30 miles of hiking, horseback riding and biking trails offering a unique recreational experience showcasing world-class views of the Pacific Ocean. In the future, these trails will link to both the Coastal Rail Trail and the planned San Vicente Redwoods trail network. Click here to read more about this project from the Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship article.  


Both the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County and the Coastal Conservancy have contributed significant funds to help develop North County trails. In combination with Measure D funding, these contributions provide the local matching funds that the RTC needs in order to successfully apply for state and federal grants. The Land Trust and the Coastal Conservancy deserve huge thanks for their work to improve access to green spaces for everyone in Santa Cruz County. 

The Rail Trail is Being Built Now 

We’re so excited to see this progress on our local trails! 18 miles of the rail trail are currently in some stage of design and construction. Click here to see the latest status of all the sections of the Rail Trail on the RTC website.  

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