If the thought of gridlock getting to the Sierras this summer triggers instant stress may we offer a local alternative, the Loch Lomond Recreation Area, hidden in the mountains above Santa Cruz. In the midst of a cool, shady forest (redwood, pine, oak) take the fairly flat 4.9 mile Loch Trail which skirts a 175 acre reservoir where there are picnic and fishing sites and paddle boats to rent. That soft splashing is about the only sound you’ll hear. No swimming allowed. Dogs permitted.

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