Hiking in Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin is one of the more popular hiking areas in the San Francisco Bay Area and rightfully so. Home to the Skyline to the Sea trail and Berry Creek Falls, this park is famous for its gigantic redwood trees, stunning waterfalls, and even some banana slugs. The park offers several types of terrain ranging from redwood forests to exposed ridge climbs to costal trails near the beach on its western end.

The park also has a number of fantastic camping options for backpackers and car campers as well as a great visitor center at the park headquarters with a general store and nightly ranger programs that are fun for the whole family.
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Berry Creek Falls Loop at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Berry Creek Falls Loop at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California, United States
 
Difficult: 10.2 miles, Full day
Long hike through old-growth redwoods to shimmering waterfalls is a Bay Area favorite.

Redwoods and waterfalls make this the best hike in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you're up for 11 miles and a thousand feet of elevation gain spread out over a half-day, you'll be amazed to see the strain melt away in this land of the giants. Veteran Berry Creek Falls hikers recommend a counter-clockwise loop starting on the Sunset Trail,...
Buzzard's Roost at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Buzzard's Roost at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California, United States
 
Moderate: 4.5 miles, 1-3 hours
Great moderate hike to high point overlooking Big Basin and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

This is one of the favorite Big Basin hikes: It starts on the legendary Redwood Trail near the park headquarters, heads over to Blooms Creek Campground and zigags up the Pine Mountain Trail -- leaving the redwood forest completely for awhile -- then culminating with a steep scramble to a rocky overlook. All in just over two miles one way. You can...
Redwood Trail at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Redwood Trail at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California, United States
 
Easy: 0.7 miles, 1 hour or less
See some of the world's tallest trees along this easy, well-maintained hiking trail. A great hike for young kids.

The Redwood Trail at Big Basin Redwoods State Park loop offers easy access to some of the tallest and oldest Redwoods anywhere. The fact that the trail is flat and well-maintained, combined with the well-marked attractions along the way make this a perfect hike for families with young children. The main attractions along this trail are Father of...
Meteor Trail at Big Basin Redwoods
Meteor Trail at Big Basin Redwoods
Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California, United States
 
Moderate: 6.2 miles, Half day
This loop allows you to experience the majesty of ancient redwoods minus the crowds on more popular trails

Meteor Trail isn't on the way to any spectacular waterfalls, so it's a great place to wander among the giants at Big Basin Redwoods State Park without the crowds on the more popular trails. The Meteor Trail tracks Rodgers Creek up to Middle Ridge Road. In winter and early spring the creek burbles to life, making this one of the best riparian hikes...
Redwood Creek Canyon
Redwood Creek Canyon
Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California, United States
Easy: 1.9 miles, 1-3 hours
Skyline to the Sunset Trail-Dool Trail-Creeping Forest Trail Loop

Skyline to the Sea Trail-Dool Trail-Creeping Forest Trail Loop The park is about 65 miles south of San Francisco. From Santa Cruz travel approx 25 miles northwest via Highways 9 and 236 to reach Park Headquarters. Park Headquarters is 9 miles north of the town of Boulder Creek on State Hwy 236. All roads into Big Basin are curvy. This guide is...
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Boulder Creek, California, United States
 
Bay Area's best place to see California's giant redwoods

You'll find countless options for exploring California's signature redwood forests, but few equal the grandeur of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Jose. Coast Redwoods, the world's tallest trees, thrive along a narrow, 450-mile strip of the Pacific Coast from Monterey, CA, to southern Oregon. The tallest are...
Año Nuevo
Año Nuevo
Pescadero, California, United States
 
Easy: 4.5 miles, 1-3 hours
Elephant seal watching at Año Nuevo State Reserve; learn about fascinating sex lives of gigantic marine mammals

The elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Reserve are not pretty, but they live pretty well. In fact, they're living out one of the world's greatest escapes from extinction. Things have been getting better for the elephant seals of the Pacific Coast in the century since humans stopped slaughtering them: Their population has recovered from hundreds to...
Trips
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Big Basin Waterfall and McAbee Loop
by calipidder on Jan 31, 2010
Riverside Grove, California, United States
Hiking | 11.9 miles
We knew the waterfalls would be good after the recent storms, so Antony, Dave, Laurent, Sammy, David and I headed out to Big Basin this weekend. We had a rough loop planned that included the Skyline to the Sea Trail so we were a bit disappointed when we showed up and learned the trail was closed due to a washed out bridge and fallen old-growth redwoods across the trail.Not a group to...
P1010240. (Butano Park, California, United States) Photo
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Berry Creek Falls, Big Basin State Park
by Joren on Oct 03, 2007
Riverside Grove, California, United States
Hiking | 9.9 miles
This is an absolutely gorgeous hike through huge redwoods to see some great waterfalls.  There is a parking fee, and a very nominal fee to buy a map.  I forgot my wallet and relied on the generosity and niceness of others to help me get a bottle of water, a map, and parking.  Ooops.  Although I did the hike in just over 3 hours, you should schedule 5-6 hours to do this hike plus...
Fungus Photo
Unknown flower Photo
Berry Creek Falls Photo
Berry Creek Falls Photo
Big Basin: Falls, McAbee, and Redwoods
by navratil on Feb 20, 2010
Riverside Grove, California, United States
Hiking | 11.0 miles
Joel and I decided to go check out the Big Basin waterfalls before the end of the wet season; our (well, my) original plan was to head up the Howard King Trail to Mt. McAbee, then over and down to the Berry Creek Falls trail and out via the Sunset Trail.  I'd heard (from all these folks' hikes) that the Howard King trail from Skyline-to-the-Sea to Mt. McAbee was a pretty tough...
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Waterfalls and Mt McAbee - Big Basin Redwoods State Park
by Vaudesir on Jan 31, 2010
Riverside Grove, California, United States
Hiking | 12.1 miles
A strenuous 12 miles loop starting at Big Basin HQ, continuing on sunset trail, Berry Creek Falls trail, a short section of Skyline to the Sea trail, and then climbing up Howard King trail to Mt McAbee Overlookd, and down and back to HQ using Hihn Hammond rd.Rebecca (calipidder), David, Sam (samydee), David (croyle), Antony (antonyw) and I all met at 9 in Big Basin HQ, ready to hike this nice loop....
Light Through Trees Photo
That's a Big Tree! Photo
Light, Water, Reflection Photo
Rhodies Photo
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
by jillmotts on Jul 18, 2010
Riverside Grove, California, United States
Hiking | 6.9 miles
We arrived at the Headquarters by around 10am, and were on the trail within 15 minutes. Opting for a slightly longer hike than our normal, we chose to head north on the Skyline to the Sea Trail until it meets with the Sequoia Trail just east of North Escape Road. After about a mile, a sign points right, toward an open, exposed rock face. You actually hike down Slippery Rock to connect...
Trail Photo
Obligatory Banana Slug Shot Photo
More trail Photo
A lot of nice bridges Photo
Berry Creek Loop, Big Basin
by dano23 on Apr 24, 2010
Riverside Grove, California, United States
Hiking | 9.4 miles
I'd never been to Big Basin before, so this whole trip was new to me. But I'd heard good things. I was a little worried at just how crowded it was when I arrived -- but those worries would soon fade.I arrived around 10:15am and had to park waaaaay down in the extra reserve overflow parking for dummies area. But not a big deal. I jumped on the Skyline trail just across...
Plaque Photo
First bridge Photo
The Osprey Twins Photo
Calipidder Photo
Big Basin: Waterfalls and Mt McAbee Loop
by croyle on Jan 31, 2010
Riverside Grove, California, United States
Hiking | 12.3 miles
A great group hike with the usual suspects: Sammydee, Antonyw, Vaudesir, Calipidder & David. The weather was excellent (slightly chilly at times), the falls were all very impressive, and the trails beautiful.Actual elevation change for this hike seems to be around 3,000', maybe less. Unfortunately, about half of that was in one long slog of a climb up Mt. McAbee, and Antony & I had both made the mistake of scarfing down...
The ocean and the parking lot... Photo
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Waddell Beach to Berry Creek Fall, via Chalk Mountain and the high ridges - Big Basin Redwoods State Park
by Vaudesir on Jan 23, 2010
Swanton, California, United States
Hiking | 19.1 miles
Where to go for a long hike when a series of powerful storms has drenched the whole area for a week? There are not that many places that will be mud free. One of them is Big Basin Redwoods State Park.While searching the web for photos of Berry Creek Falls, I found a description of a hike going from Waddell Beach to the fall and this seemed very appealing to me. Checking...
On the trail Photo
Banana Slug Photo
Snack Break Photo
Blending in Photo
Berry Creek Falls Trail
by chris on Apr 23, 2011
Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California, United States
Hiking | 10.6 miles
This weekend we had planned a backpacking trip at Big Basin with Loren, David, and Josh but soon found out that the backpacking camps would not be open for another week (pretty late if you ask me).  So there we were with all of our backpacking gear and no food (David forgot to pick it up...), so we decided to go on a day hike.Part of the Skyline to the Sea trail...
Big Basin HQ Photo
Big Basin HQ Photo
Big Basin HQ Photo
Big Basin HQ Photo
Big Basin Waterfalls and Mt McAbee
by sammydee on Jan 31, 2010
Riverside Grove, California, United States
Hiking | 12.3 miles
Several others have told the story, so I'll be brief.   We (Calipidder, DM, Vaudesir, Antonyw, Croyle) met at the park HQ at 9 intending to do a loop through the park.  It was 36 degrees at HQ when I arrived - quite a bit colder than I had planned for.  At the park HQ they warned us about a trail closure that had us rethinking our route, but that ultimately didn't exist.  I think we wound...
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Big Basin Redwoods SP
by jtg2078 on Jun 07, 2008
Boulder Creek, California, United States
Hiking | 7.4 miles
trip to elvish land farhan baggins (Photo. by jasonL)
Big Basin Redwoods State Park - Redwoods Photo
Big Basin Redwoods State Park - One tough tree Photo
Big Basin Redwoods State Park - Which way to Santa Cruz? Photo
Big Basin Redwoods State Park - Along the Sunset Trail Photo
Big Basin Redwoods SP - Berry Creek Falls loop
by edgarstiles on Jan 21, 2011
Boulder Creek, California, United States
Hiking | 11.6 miles
Loop hike to Berry Creek Falls. Starting at the Ranger station/Visitors center. The consensus seems to be that counterclockwise is the way to go. Sunset trail out, and Skyline to the Sea trail back.
Redwood Lighting Photo
Tree crossing Photo
Many trees down along this section Photo
Nice sunny and rocky section of trail Photo
Waterfalls of Berry Creek and McAbee Peak
by antonyw on Jan 31, 2010
Riverside Grove, California, United States
Hiking | 13.0 miles
This hike is brought to you by The Nino.  I always love an El Nino year so as soon as it fired up plans were started to hike out and check out the amazing falls here.It's a very beautiful but challenging little hike through Big Basin.  We intended to go clockwise but the latest storms had downed many trees in the park making Skyline to the Sea trail impassable according to the Rangers.  It...