The Trail Companion
Names on the Land
Part 2. Santa Cruz County
The names of features on the SF Peninsula and
Santa Cruz Mountains reveal a rich and sometimes
surprising history. The following are largely from
Donald Thomas Clarke's Santa Cruz County Place
Names (Santa Cruz Historical Trust, 1986).
Año Nuevo (Año Nuevo
SP): Under the auspices of the Viceroy of New Spain,
Sebastian Vizcaíno explored the coast of
California in 1602-1603 in a attempt to find safe
harbor for the Manila galleons. When the
Vizcaíno expedition sailed north from Monterey
in late December, 1602, the promontory was the first
sighted in the new year, on Jan. 3, 1603.
Vizcaíno named it La Punta de Año
Nuevo. The English version, New Year's Point, of
the name was in common use from 1853 onward; only
with the establishment of the State Park did the
Spanish version become reestablished.
Berry Creek (Big Basin SP): One of
two Berry Creeks in the area, the longer one includes
Berry Creek Falls, and was named for Tilford George
Berry, probably an employee of the lumberman William
Waddell, who had a cabin at the base of the falls. He
disappeared one day and years later, his bones were
found in the chaparral above Boulder Creek. The other
Berry Creek flows into Big Creek and was named for
Andrew Warren Berry, a settler from MA, who
homesteaded there in 1859.
Gazos Creek (Big Basin SP): The
original name, Arroyo de las Garzas (Heron
Creek) was given because large numbers of "cranes"
flocked to the shallow lagoon at the mouth to feed on
fish trapped there in summer.
Magnetometer Road (Castle Rock SP):
Now part of the Travertine Trail, the road served the
Castle Rock Magnetic Observatory in the 1970s, which
was a network of proton magnetometers operated by the
USGS in an effort to detect and monitor
tectomagnetic-related stress changes.
Tin Can Ranch (Castle Rock SP): A
settlement called Tin Can Springs grew up ridge above
the San Lorenzo River valley in the 1850s. At the
time, canned foods were still a novelty and the
empties were often strewn around campsites - and
often commented on during the gold rush and later.
The state geological survey called the trash
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