Big Basin Redwoods State Park

California, United States
provided by
 (49 votes, 50 reviews)
Superlatives define Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. California’s oldest state park - covering more than 18,000 acres from sea level to more than 2,000 feet elevation - launched the state park movement in California. Big Basin’s biggest attraction – literally – is a rare stand of awe-inspiring, ancient coast redwoods that are among the tallest and oldest trees on Earth. Some measure close to 300 feet tall and 50 feet in circumference. Scientists estimate that these trees may range from 1,000 to 2,000 years old.

Spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, lush waterfalls, more than 80 miles of roads and trails, and a fascinating natural and cultural history have beckoned millions of visitors to Big Basin since 1902.

California State Park Foundation member discounts are available for this park. If you are a member, sign in to see the discount here.

Report a compliment or problem regarding park maintenance issues with the Park Observation Program.
Ecology & Vegetation
Some redwoods measure more than 300 feet tall and 50 feet in circumference. However, with no taproot, redwood trees rely on a network of far-reaching roots about six feet deep, intertwined with those of other redwoods. Soil compaction is a danger to these roots. Knob cone pine, Douglas-fir, red alder, madrone, chinquapin and buckeye also grow here. The forest’s tanoak tree bark once provided tannin for local leather tanneries. Huckleberry, azaleas, ferns, Manzanita, Indian paintbrush, poppies and wild orchids dot the park.
Wildlife, Geology & Climate
Foxes, coyotes and bobcats live throughout the park. Banana slugs feed on organic matter, plants and mushrooms on the forest floor. Newts, lizards and frogs are bountiful in the coast’s damp, moist climate. California quail, brown creepers, various woodpeckers, owls and flickers are some
common bird species found in the park. Be alert for rattlesnakes, poison oak and ticks. Use caution if you see a mountain lion; report aggressive encounters to park staff.

Geologically, the park’s rock formations are a “Franciscan assemblage”—outcrops of serpentinite, basalt, limestone, ribbon chert, graywacke sandstone and shale.

Each season offers a different park experience. The intense greens of mosses contrast with the subtle colors of lichens and mushrooms during wet winters. Rushing waterfalls and wildflowers abound in the cool, foggy spring. Find a shady getaway from inland heat in summertime. Fall offers pleasant weather without storms, pests or extreme heat.

Climate change affects the redwood forest. Coast redwoods receive much of their water and nutrients from fog drippings. Mature redwoods can survive, but fewer foggy days mean fewer seedlings mature into trees.
History
As early as 1852, Californians argued to save the Santa Cruz coast redwoods. In the 1880s, coast redwood-covered land usually sold for $15 an acre. In 1882, settler Tom Maddock and his 11-year-old son built a home from a single redwood tree on their 160-acre claim of virgin forest, purchased for just $7.50. The Maddock cabin burned in the 1950s; its site is marked with interpretive panels along the Skyline to the Sea Trail.

Newspaper editor Ralph S. Smith, a San Mateo County native, championed the idea of a redwood state park not only for tourism, but also for science. In March 1901, a State bill created California Redwood Park (renamed Big Basin Redwoods State Park in 1927). The bill also established the California Redwood Park Commission. In 1906, after much debate, the commission acquired 3,901 acres from the Big Basin Lumber Company through purchase and donation. Another 3,785 acres were converted from federal land to the state park in 1916.

Currently comprising more than 18,000 acres, the park continues to grow through partnerships with private nonprofit groups like the Save the Redwoods League and the Sempervirens Fund. Sentiments about “using” the park have changed over the years, from initially preserving the pristine forest to the resort-use era of the 1930s to the 1950s. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps cut down redwoods to build the Nature Lodge, Park Headquarters, campfire center, a footbridge, cabins, stoves and trails.

Today, preservation of the park’s natural wonders has returned to the forefront. The emphasis is preservation of the forest’s entire ecology, with its significant geologic features, wildlife corridors and massive watershed.
Accessible Features
Camping
Blooms Creek Campground. Five campsites are accessible. Restroom and showers are accessible. Parking: Some restrooms have adjacent accessible parking. Routes of travel between campsites and restrooms are generally accessible, and distances from sites are all within 150 feet.
Semperverins Campground Two campsites are accessible. Restrooms with showers are accessible.
Huckleberry Campground One campsite is accessibly designed and located adjacent to an accessible restroom.
Tent Cabins. Three tent cabins in Huckleberry that are designated accessible have sloped entry ramps that may require assistance. Restroom with showers are accessible. Parking: Each cabin has a parking spur with generally firm but unmarked surfaces. Route of travel to ramps is flat and usable.
Sequoia Group Camp Restroom with showers are accessible and include van accessible parking. Further site improvements are pending.

Make Campground Reservations

Picnic Area
The main picnic area has about 15 accessible picnic tables. Parking: Accessible parking and routes of travel to 6 sites are available. Restroom in main parking lot and picnic area and routes of travel to them are accessible.

Trails
The Redwood Loop Trail is a 1/2 mile loop through ancient redwood stands. It is located near the Park Headquarters Accessible parking and restrooms nearby. The surface is compacted soil. This is Big Basin’s most popular hike.

The Campground Connector Trail begins at the Blooms Creek Campground and provides accessible trail linkage to the Redwood Loop Trail and Park Headquarters. Accessible parking is available at both ends. An accessible campsite and bathroom is available near the trailhead in the Blooms Creek Campground. Trail length is 1/2 mile.

The Skyline to the Sea Trail (Accessible Section): This section of the Skyline to the Sea Trail is accessible from the Headquarters Area for approximately ¼ mile. The out and back trail section is surfaced with compacted gravel and soil and has accessible parking at the trailhead, which serves both the Skyline to the Sea Trail (Accessible Section) and the Redwood Loop Trail. Accessible restrooms are located nearby.

Exhibits/Programs
Visitor Center: The Semperverins Room visitor center is located in the park headquarters building. The room and its exhibits are generally accessible. Restroom. Restrooms inside the buildings are not located or designed for wheelchair access. Restrooms near the main picnic area are usable. Route of travel to visitor center is generally accessible, but assistance may be needed with historic doors entering exhibit room.

Other Information
Rancho del Oso / Waddell Creek Area: located on the western edge of the park, accessible by vehicle from Highway 1, the Rancho del Oso Nature Center is accessible including parking, restroom and picnic sites.

West of Highway 1 there is an ocean overlook parking area with accessible parking and restroom and directly across Highway 1 to the east an equestrian staging area has accessible parking restroom and horse mounting platform.
Getting There
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. The Rancho Del Oso coastal unit of Big Basin is accessible on State Route 1, about 20 miles north of the city of Santa Cruz.

The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park.
Seasons/Climate
Winter: Cold, overcast and rainy. Big Basin receives the majority of its average 48 inches of rain. December through March average temperatures range from highs in the 50s to lows in the 20s.

Spring: Cool with showers and morning and evening fog. Average daytime highs in the 60s, lows in the 30s to 40s.

Summer: Warm with cool nights. Morning fog in early summer. Average highs 75 to 95, lows 40s to 50s.

Fall: Warm day to cold nights. Occasional early storms with rain. Average highs 75 to 60s, lows 50s to 30. Maybe the best weather of the year.
Operating Hours & Contact
Please call ahead for operating hours, pricing and availability.
Telephone: 831-338-8860
Park News Alert
Big Basin Facilities Access Improvements Underway

***ALERT: CONSTRUCTION RELATED CLOSED AREAS***

California State Parks is improving the facilities in the areas around Big Basin Park Headquarters to improve access for persons with disabilities, and to comply with standards required by the Americans With Disabilities Act. Construction began September 26, 2011 and is scheduled to be completed by March 31, 2012.

Improvements include improved visitor disabled access ramps, pathways, and parking spaces for all facilities. These include Park Headquarters, the campfire center, the store, and the giftshop. Restroom buildings and water fountains are also being upgraded adjacent to Park Headquarters and the campfire center.

The park will remain open for day-use and camping during construction, but we have had to cancel some scheduled interpretive programs. During this period, park visitors will experience construction related closures of facilities such as restrooms, buildings, pathways, and parking lots. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you have specific questions about the park, program cancellations, and access, please contact Park Headquarters during regular business hours at (831)338-8861. Reservations can be made for all campgrounds and the Tent Cabins by calling 1-800-444-PARK (7275) or visiting the link in the camping section.
Facilities
Park staff are available from 8am to 5pm every day at the park headquarters to answer questions and assist with other concerns. You may also pay day-use and camping fees there, as well as purchase a trail map ($5.00) and a Self Guided Tour map ($0.25 each) of the Redwood Loop Trail. Use the "Iron Ranger" to make a day use or camp site payment after hours. If park staff are not available in the event of an emergency, dial 911 from the public telephones located next to Park Headquarters.

Food, beverages, essential camping supplies and more are available at the Big Basin Redwoods Store located across the street from Park Headquarters. Closed December and January. Hours vary seasonally in the spring and fall. Open 8am-8pm during the summer.

Gift Shop: Located next to the Big Basin Redwoods Store, you'll find a wide selection of gifts, postcards, and clothing and more. Closed December and January. Hours vary seasonally in the spring and fall. Open 8am-8pm during the summer.

Museum: See wonderful photographs of the area from years past, learn about redwood forests, and see the many birds, reptiles, insects and mammals that live in Big Basin. Open 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Public pay telephones are located next to Park Headquarters. Mobile phones generally do not work from the lower areas of the Park, including the area near Park Headquarters. Some may work at higher elevations. Traveling three miles (either direction) on Hwy. 236 generally puts you within reach of mobile phone service.

Boulder Creek: There are several stores, restaurants, and other services located in Boulder Creek just 9 miles from Park Headquarters.

Park Access: The park's major campsites can be reached by automobile. Some trails are wheelchair accessible. Ask at Park Headquarters, or telephone 831-338-8860 for more information.

Tent Cabins: Registration for the Tent Cabins is at the Gift Shop or after hours at the Host Site at Huckleberry Campground. Tent Cabins are managed by a private concession.

Make Tent Cabin Reservations
Camping
146 family campsites, four group camping sites, tent cabins, along-trail backpacking camps, and horse camping are available. Trail camps are open by reservation only; for trail camp information, call 831-338-8861. For horse camping at Rancho del Oso, call 831-425-1218.

Make Campground Reservations
Hiking
Big Basin’s 80 miles of roads and trails introduce visitors not only to the redwoods, but to the park’s different habitats and plants. Guided hikes are scheduled.

Easy Hikes
•Redwood Trail: Loop self guided nature trail. Trail guides available at HQ ($.25) and the trail head. Guided walks on weekends spring through fall (as available). Here you will see some of the tallest trees in the park (Mother of the Forest).
•Sequoia Trail: Forms loop with either Skyline to the Sea (via Slippery Rock trail connector) or Shadowbrook Trails. Here you will see Sempervirens Falls, Founders Monument and Slipper Rock.
•Skyline to the Sea Trail to Maddocks Cabin Site: Forms loop with either Sequoia (via Slippery Rock trail connector) or Shadowbrook Trails. Here you will see Maddocks Cabin Site, Opal Creek, and Old Growth Redwoods.

Moderate Hikes
•ShadowbrookTrail: Forms loop with either Skyline to the Sea (via Slippery Rock trail connector) or Sequoia Trails. Here you will see Sempervirens Falls, Founders Monument, and Slippery Rock.
•Creeping Forest Trail to Dool Trail: Forms loop with Dool Trail. Here you will see forest tilted by land slips.
•Skyline to the Sea Trail to Meteor Trail to Middle Ridge Fire Road: Forms loop with Dool Trail or Gazos Creek Road. Here you will see Opal Creek, many Old Growth Trees and Rogers Creek.
•Sunset Trail to Timms Creek to Skyline to the Sea Trail: Loop Trail. Here you will see Opal Creek, many of the largest Old Growth trees (Santa Clara Tree), and Timms Creek.

Strenuous Hikes
•Trail to Berry Creek Falls
Sunset Trail to Berry Creek Falls Trail to Skyline to the Sea Trail. Loop Trail. Here you will see Opal Creek, many of the largest Old Growth trees (Santa Clara Tree), and Berry Creek (four water falls).
•Redwood Trail to Blooms Creek Campground. One Way.
•Howard King Trail to Mount McAbee: Forms loop with Skyline to the Sea Trail. Spectacular views here.
•Skyline to the Sea Trail to Waddell Beach. One Way. Spectacular views here.
•Skyline to the Sea Trail to Hollow Tree Trail. There and Back. Forms loop with Basin Trail and Road. Here you will see Creeks, dense Old Growth Forest, Maddocks Cabin Site and chaparral plant community.
Other Activities
A year-round activity schedule can be found on the park’s, as well as the cooperating associations, websites. The park’s Nature Lodge has exhibits and historic park photographs. The coastal Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center offers guided tours; call (831) 427-2288.

Waddell Creek and Rancho del Oso (a part of Big Basin Redwoods State Park) offer a variety of recreational opportunities as well. Six miles of Canyon Road (a graded dirt fire road) meanders along the course of Waddell Creek. It is almost level for the entire length, so even younger bicycle riders can be found pedaling along.

We recommend only fat tire bicycles be used, as it is dirt and ruts will cause problems for a narrow tired "road bike". Helmets are required for young riders and recommended for all.

There are NO through trails to Big Basin, and NO single track trails are open to bicycles at Rancho del Oso or the main portions of Big Basin State Park.

A series of Backpack Trail Camps are spaced along the trail, with three being located within easy hiking distance from the Rancho del Oso park headquarters. Reservations are required to stay in the Back packing camps. Please call 831-338-8861 to make reservations. The back pack trail camps are closed for the winter months November 1st through April 30th.

There is also an Equestrian trail camp that (with reservations) allows riders to camp overnight with their horses. For reservations for the horse camp, please call 831-425-1218. Please note: dogs are not allowed in any portion of Rancho del Oso, nor in the horse camp at any time.

Waddell Beach, located across Highway 1 from the park entrance, is known worldwide as one of THE spots for windsurfing and kite surfing. The steady strong North West winds and good surf provide ideal conditions for this demanding sport. Launching from the tops of incoming waves the best windsurfers can complete full loops and continue on their way. With the strong winds and occasionally heavy surf, Waddell Beach is not recommended for novice wind surfers.

Regular surfers and boogie boarders also find it an ideal spot to pursue their activities.

A good place for bird watching is on the inland side of Hwy. 1 in the Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve.
Tips & Rules
•All natural and cultural features in the park are protected by law and may not be disturbed or removed. Collecting is prohibited, including down wood. Purchase firewood at the park store.
•Feeding wildlife is prohibited by law.
•Be prepared for mosquitoes in summer.
•Lock all food inside vehicles and recycle glass, plastic and aluminum. Please secure food items at all times and dispose of trash properly.
•Except for service animals, dogs are not allowed on trails, unpaved service/fire roads, in any portion of the Rancho del Oso area or Waddell Beach at any time.
•Dogs are not allowed in any portion of Rancho del Oso nor on Waddell Beach.

Trails

Summary
Difficulty
Distance
Big Basin’s Redwood Trail Loop
Tall trees await you along this short hike in Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Easy
0.7 mi/
1.1 km
Redwood Trail at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
See some of the world's tallest trees along this easy, well-maintained hiking trail. A great hike for young kids.
Easy
0.7 mi/
1.1 km
Redwood Creek Canyon
Skyline to the Sunset Trail-Dool Trail-Creeping Forest Trail Loop
Easy
1.9 mi/
3.1 km
Buzzard's Roost at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Great moderate hike to high point overlooking Big Basin and the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Moderate
4.5 mi/
7.2 km
Meteor Trail at Big Basin Redwoods
This loop allows you to experience the majesty of ancient redwoods minus the crowds on more popular trails
Moderate
6.2 mi/
10.0 km
Berry Creek Falls Loop at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Long hike through old-growth redwoods to shimmering waterfalls is a Bay Area favorite.
Difficult
10.2 mi/
16.4 km
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Bay Area's best place to see California's giant redwoods
n/a
8.3 mi/
13.4 km
Guides
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
Big Basin’s Redwood Trail Loop
Big Basin’s Redwood Trail Loop
Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California, United States
Easy: 0.7 miles, 1 hour or less
Tall trees await you along this short hike in Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Community Trips
P1010114.JPG Photo
P1010164.JPG Photo
P1010177.JPG Photo
P1010201.JPG Photo
Big Basin Waterfall and McAbee Loop
by calipidder on Jan 31, 2010
Riverside Grove, California, United States
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
P1010241. (Butano Park, California, United States) Photo
P1010244. (Butano Park, California, United States) Photo
P1010245. (Butano Park, California, United States) Photo
Berry Creek Falls, Big Basin State Park
by Joren on Oct 03, 2007
Riverside Grove, California, United States
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...
The ocean and the parking lot... Photo
IMG_1939.jpg Photo
IMG_1944.jpg Photo
IMG_1946.jpg Photo
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
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...
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
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...
IMG_2247.jpg Photo
IMG_2255.jpg Photo
IMG_2260.jpg Photo
IMG_2288.jpg Photo
Waterfalls and Mt McAbee - Big Basin Redwoods State Park
by Vaudesir on Jan 31, 2010
Riverside Grove, California, United States
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....
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
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...
IMG_1879.JPG Photo
IMG_1900.jpg Photo
IMG_1914.JPG Photo
IMG_1924.JPG Photo
Little Basin hike to Eagle Rock
by croyle on Jul 02, 2011
Boulder Creek, California, United States
3.9 miles
I hadn't done this hike since 2006 I think, but this was my third time. Mike and Dwayne hadn't been here before though and I knew they'd like it.It's a short hike at around 4 miles RT. On the way up to the old fire lookout area the elevation gain is around 1500', and the trail is virtually all uphill. So this is short but good exercise, which was just what we...
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
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...
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
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...
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
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...

Reviews
Dawn0826
Really not sure this is the exact date we went but it was late spring/early summer. Beautiful hike! Very diverse trail with small scrambles. Lots of tree cover. All day loop. Remember to look up from the trail!
Visited on Jun 25, 2014

by Dawn0826 on Sep 12, 2014
mdoran
Long crazy twisty drive to get there.... The redwoods are spectacular, but the signage is a bit confusing... also the trails (at least the ones I found) run not far from the campgrounds, so much for just enjoying the sounds of nature.

Watch out for the East Ridge trail, it takes you up and over and is a great workout...

Overall though, I found my way there, phone had no signal, and I managed a nice 3 hour hike that took me in a loop all the way back to my car... Great hike.

Visited on Oct 26, 2013

by mdoran on Oct 28, 2013
venkat3271
It is perfect place for people who would love to get close to nature. It is the oldest state park in California and the trails are sun-shaded with few falls on the trails.
Visited on Sep 28, 2013

by venkat3271 on Sep 29, 2013
mambofatale
There is something for everyone here... peace and quiet, or camping, or easy to quite extensive day hikes. I even ran into a couple doing a hike from Saratoga to Santa Cruz through the forest.
Visited on May 31, 2013

by mambofatale on Jan 07, 2014
mambofatale
There is something for everyone here... peace and quiet, or camping, or easy to quite extensive day hikes. I even ran into a couple doing a hike from Saratoga to Santa Cruz through the forest.
Visited on May 31, 2013

by mambofatale on Jan 07, 2014
arvindsd
Love the abundance of oxygen.
Love the mildly cold temperature created by all the redwood tree shade.
Awesome (first) hike along Berry Creek Falls Trail.

Visited on May 26, 2013

by arvindsd on May 28, 2013
okurth
Beautiful waterfalls under redwoods.
Visited on Feb 10, 2013

by okurth on Feb 22, 2013
Mr.Butter
Went on a Saturday, Took the Berry Creek Falls Loop, counterclockwise. The trails we clearly marked and it was a Nice and peaceful hike. Beautiful views of the waterfalls and not to many people on the trails. 5 hrs to complete.
Visited on Nov 11, 2012

by Mr.Butter on Nov 11, 2012
sfmacintosh
Good -- dogs not allowed on most trails, but that shouldn't be too surprising -- it is a state park.
Visited on Sep 15, 2012

by sfmacintosh on Dec 09, 2012
ThrottleGrrl
If you plan on staying overnight make sure you have reservations in advance. If you try to show up and sign up, be prepared to be standing in line at the Ranger's station before the crack of dawn. Squished between SF and Santa Cruz this is a great spot but everybody wants to go there for a quick getaway.
Visited on Jul 31, 2012

by ThrottleGrrl on Jul 29, 2013
patriciamichele
One of my favorite trails. Love to take Sunset and Berry Creek down to the river, and the Skyline to the Sea back up, which is about a 10-11 mile hike. I've also extended the hike by taking Dool and Meteor trail, which is a 6 mile loop. It is gorgeous in all seasons!
Visited on Jun 11, 2012

by patriciamichele on Jul 08, 2012
jakesdroid
Berry Falls was great, a little tedious to drive to the park, but well worth it, the earlier the better, can be busy.
Visited on May 26, 2012

by jakesdroid on May 31, 2012
blakejordan1992
This place is wonderful! Everything about it deserves an A+ in my opinion. There are many trails of differing intensity as well as great camp grounds. I plan on going back as often as possible. I recommend it for anyone.
Visited on May 05, 2012

by blakejordan1992 on May 07, 2012
eYeks
Berry Creek falls hike - a strenuous 12 mile loop - is one of the best hikes, not just in the Bay Area, in California but in the US! I wouldn't be surprised if it held international rank.

If you have a day to spend in serene redwoods with waterfalls, this is a must.

Visited on Apr 29, 2012

by eYeks on Apr 02, 2013
alyssa.ae
I was short on time, but it was beautiful, and easy to get away from the family-friendly areas and into more secluded trails. Definitely recommend.
Visited on Mar 31, 2012

by alyssa.ae on Apr 30, 2012
J3alz
Picked this for my first hike in California! Turns out it was a great choice! Started the hike at about 9AM in light rain, and by the end of the hike (roughly 4 hours later) it was about 80 degrees and sunny! Definitely give this hike a shot if you have the time!
Visited on Nov 24, 2011

by J3alz on Jul 18, 2012
cecomp64
Hot springs were great. Just follow the river downstream from Sykes camp.
Visited on Jul 16, 2011

by cecomp64 on Jul 18, 2011
micheleIG
Berry Creek Falls Loop
Visited on Jul 11, 2011

by micheleIG on Jul 19, 2011
gmajohn
Beautiful - weak ankles beware
Visited on May 15, 2011

by gmajohn on Jun 06, 2013
Marturo
Great hike, mostly covered by trees, so it's cool even during the summer.
Visited on May 01, 2011

by Marturo on Dec 10, 2011
chris
I was hoping for a backpacking trip this weekend but we found out that the backpacking camps don't open until May 1, so we were forced to settle for a day hike and chose the Berry Creek Falls Loop.

Part of the skyline to the sea trail was closed so we used a connector trail to link with it a little further on. The waterfalls were in full force and the trail was only slightly damp from the recent rain (not too much to have to watch your step, but soft enough that it was easier on the legs).

Visited on Apr 23, 2011

by chris on Apr 26, 2011
Mitch.Handa
Looking at Berry Creek Falls from below simply blows your mind if you could manage to be the only one there. It's not the size, but the whole package which makes it magical - sorrounding vegitations, desolation, process of getting there etc. If you are going for the "falls loop" (Skyline to the Sea, Berry Falls, Sunset) for the 1st time, I suggest doing it clock-wise. Steps around Silver Falls is pretty tricky (esp if it's wet) and as usual, going up is much easier than going down...
Visited on Apr 08, 2011

by Mitch.Handa on Apr 14, 2011
paddydehusker
this is celestial location
Visited on Mar 04, 2011

by paddydehusker on Apr 16, 2014
edgarstiles
Amazing! The water was flowing well, and the waterfalls along Berry Creek looked great! Go on a weekday if at all possible. I saw a few people throughout the day, but I have heard that the park gets really crowded on weekends.

Definitely worth the trip from the East Bay - 2 hours going, 2 1/2 going home. Bring a tripod if you have a DSLR. The canopy is so thick that you need a steady hand, or a tripod.

Visited on Jan 21, 2011

by edgarstiles on Jan 23, 2011
randyrml
This is a fantastic challenging hike. You get a diversity of terrain along this route with great sights.
Visited on Jan 08, 2011

by randyrml on Jan 16, 2011
steverod
Big Basin is a short and long drive from the Bay Area: physically short, the easiest route there is circuitous and slow. But the distance is more than miles; in Big Basin you really are in a different world from the frenetic San Francisco Bay. It's quiet and still and a great place to look for a banana slug.
Visited on Dec 26, 2010

by steverod on Jun 02, 2011
robzilla
Simply the best place to hike in the south bay.
Visited on Dec 16, 2010

by robzilla on Jan 22, 2011
joost
I visited Big Basin only once, but it made quite an impression. We walked the redwood trail with our small kids. I hope to come back and hike the Berry Creek Falls, among others.

I think Big Basin must be great on hot summer days, when the trees provide protection from the sun.

Visited on Jun 06, 2010

by joost on Dec 05, 2010
ricerubberpolisher
I would pair to communicate here again
Visited on Jun 04, 2010

by ricerubberpolisher on Apr 16, 2014
fitnessequipments
there is so much freshness at this place
Visited on Apr 04, 2010

by fitnessequipments on May 20, 2014
eYeks
The Big Basin Berry Creek Falls hike is a strenuous 12 mile loop that takes you past 6 cascading waterfalls one feeding the other. I prefer the clock-wise loop, having lunch at the wooden loft with a direct view of the lowest of the Berry Creek Falls, then treking up along the falls onward along the northern end of the loop!

It's an annual pilgrimage - one of the acclaimed hikes of the Bay Area!

Visited on Mar 21, 2010

by eYeks on Apr 30, 2011
cvhuie
Excellent right after it rains
Visited on Mar 13, 2010

by cvhuie on Apr 29, 2012
Nyloncoretransmissionbelting
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is awesome
Visited on Mar 06, 2010

by Nyloncoretransmissionbelting on Mar 27, 2014
HikeNBike
I hiked from Waddell Creek to Berry Falls, 14 miles roundtrip, but it could be easier if you biked the first 5 or so miles. Did this in July, 2011.
Visited on Mar 04, 2010

by HikeNBike on Aug 06, 2011
samshiue
It's wonderful to walk the Redwoods State Park. Also my 1st hiking in US State Park.
Visited on Jan 24, 2010

by samshiue on Feb 07, 2011
multigymequip
had great fun here :_)))
Visited on Apr 06, 2009

by multigymequip on May 20, 2014
Nylonsandwichbelts
i virtuous would equal to go again
Visited on Apr 04, 2009

by Nylonsandwichbelts on Mar 27, 2014
gymequipment
astonishing place.,great waterfall
Visited on Jul 08, 2008

by gymequipment on May 20, 2014
kalmdown
Great place to go camping with kids.
Visited on Jun 30, 2008

by kalmdown on Jul 14, 2012
ricerubberroll
great place loved it.. wanna go gagian
Visited on Apr 04, 2008

by ricerubberroll on Apr 16, 2014
ecperl
Super cool hike! It's a full-day trip, but well worth it. Be sure to go during the spring when the waterfalls are running. You can eat lunch a the base of the largest waterfall on the hike.
Visited on Feb 29, 2008

by ecperl on Jun 06, 2012
ilya_ktsn
It's nice there when the waterfall are full.
Visited on Nov 11, 2007

by ilya_ktsn on Apr 07, 2011
chris
I have been to Big Basin a number of times and each time it is a great experience. If you like backpacking, nothing beats the 3-day Skyline to the Sea Trail from Skyline road down to the beach. I have done this hike 2 times (although the second time we started from the sea and did a loop through the park headquarters, so it was not the full trail).

The waterfalls and redwoods are always a treat, and there are a number of nice camping spots a the park headquarters. You can be near other visitors in some of the campgrounds, or you can be by yourself in some of the backpacker campgrounds further from the crowds---take your pick.

Visited on Jul 07, 2005

by chris on Jan 05, 2011
donnie.wilson.982
My first park in California, great experience.
Visited on Aug 12, 2001

by donnie.wilson.982 on Jun 12, 2012
koosh
One of the most stunning places to see redwoods.
Visited on Jun 30, 1999

by koosh on Jan 09, 2012
MelG
I think I need to come back to this place during the week when there are far fewer people there. I went on a Saturday afternoon and it was absolutely packed -- I think I may have been slightly more stressed out here than in the city! But, the beauty of the redwoods more than makes up for it.

by MelG on Nov 30, 2013
sudin
It was long but great hike! There were 3 water falls in the whole hike. Breathe taking falls.

by sudin on Jan 04, 2013
winfij
We hiked to the falls just after a full day of heavy rain - the high flow created quite a sight.


by winfij on Sep 11, 2011
seantoyak
Been there too many times to list, but not for quite a while. Its a beautiful park, but the last time I was there was just after they had put in some sort of waste reclamation plant and the result was that a really nice hike down the west slope, previously green and cool, was made to be hot and desolate, with no water flowing down the creek.
Still, the basin itself remains high on my list. As a former CDF stationed in a little one engine firehouse there (I doubt it is still in use), I have fond memories.


by seantoyak on Jul 31, 2011
tommangan
Simply the best place to hike in the South Bay. Redwoods must be seen up close to be appreciated. Camping and waterfalls are a nice bonus, but the Redwoods are the main attraction -- much better here than at Muir Woods in Marin County.

by tommangan on Jan 16, 2011

Favorite Destination

What people are saying...

California State Parks Foundation, Waddell Beach, Big Basin Redwoods, hike, Silver Falls, Chalk Mountain, Wadell Creek, santa cruz, Waddell Creek, Berry Creek Falls, Buzzards Roost, California State Parks, Berry Creek, waterfalls, Golden Cascade, bay area, redwoods, Rancho del Oso, Skyline to the Sea, Big Basin

3 Day Forecast

Extended Forecast
How To Get There
Get directions from: