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Trip Descriptions

Backpacking Video

Please click here to watch a video about the program.

Pre-trip Meetings

Two pre-trip meetings will be offered for participants at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park to answer any questions you may have.

Sunday, April 2 at 5 pm
Sunday, June 11 at 5 pm

Mileage

All mileage is based on the 2015 edition of the Redwood Hikes map of the Bay Area. Some GPS and other personal trackers may provide alternative mileage results.

 

Wildflower Special

Starting in Castle Rock State Park, this 2 night, 3 day trip takes you through oak woodland ridgelines and dips into towering ancient redwoods. Experience panoramic views as you trek through sweeping fields of wildflowers along the backbone of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

April 28-30 (Friday through Sunday)

Cost: $225

Starting Location/time: Castle Rock State Park main parking lot; 3pm
Ending Location/time: Portola Redwoods State Park Visitor Center; about noon

Difficulty: moderate to strenuous

Total Mileage: approximately 16.5 miles
Day 1: Castle Rock parking lot to Castle Rock trail camp; approximately 3 miles
Day 2: Long Ridge Open Space Preserve; approximately 10.5 miles
Day 3: Slate Creek trail camp to Portola Redwoods Visitor Center; approximately 3 miles

 

A Night among the Ancients

Explore Portola Redwoods State Park and beautiful Slate Creek, one of the secret jewels of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Just a few miles hike from the main parking lot, quiet Slate Creek campground will serve as a base of operations. From there adventurers will explore remote Peters Creek Redwood Grove, discovering spectacular 1000-year-old giants towering over them.

June 3-4 (Saturday through Sunday)

Cost: $125

Starting Location/time: Portola Redwoods State Park Visitors Center; 2pm 
Ending Location/time: Portola Redwoods State Park Visitors Center; about 5pm

Difficulty: Moderate

Total Mileage: approximately 13.5 miles
Day 1: Portola Redwoods Visitors Center to Slate Creek Trail Camp: approximately 3 miles
Day 2: Peters Creek Loop to Slate Creek Trail to Portola Redwoods Visitors Center: approximately 10.5 miles

 

Butano and Beyond

Starting in Butano State Park, this 2 night, 3 day trip explores relatively unknown portions of the backcountry in the Santa Cruz Mountains before touring the iconic, must see spots of Big Basin. Adventurers will travel through chaparral-covered ridgelines, moss-lined waterfalls and lush old-growth redwood groves. Fewer people trek this route on their journey to the Pacific through the Santa Cruz Mountains.

June 16-18 (Friday through Sunday)

Cost: $225

Starting Location/ time: Butano State Park Kiosk; 9am
Ending Location/ time: Waddell State Beach; about 3pm

Difficulty: strenuous

Total Mileage: approximately 22.5 miles
Day 1: Butano State Park to Butano Trail Camp: approximately 4.5 miles
Day 2: Butano Trail Camp to Sunset Trail Camp: approximately 10 miles
Day 3: Sunset Trail Camp to Waddell State Beach: approximately 8 miles

 

Skyline to the Sea

This 3 night, 4 day outing from Castle Rock to Waddell State Beach takes you on the legendary journey that has been a favorite of backpackers for 40 years. This trek spans 30+ miles of stunning ridgeline panoramas, mixed oak, madrone and redwood forests, riparian habitats, grassy meadows, spring-fed waterfalls, ending on the soft sandy beach. Adventurers will hike up to 10 miles a day, up steep hills and over sunny ridges on this challenging trip. This is the quintessential Santa Cruz Mountains backpacking experience.

July 20-23 (Thursday through Sunday)

Cost: $300

Starting Location/ time: Castle Rock State Park Parking Lot; 9 am
Ending Location/ time: Waddell State Beach; about 3pm

Difficulty: strenuous

Total Mileage: approximately 33.5 miles
Day 1: Castle Rock Parking Lot to Waterman Gap Campground: approximately 10 miles
Day 2: Waterman Gap to Jay Camp via Skyline Trail: approximately 10 miles
Day 3: Jay Camp to Sunset Camp: approximately 6 miles
Day 4: Sunset Camp to Waddell State Beach: approximately 7.5 miles

 

 

In Pursuit of Perseids

On this 1 night, 2 day trip journey up to Butano Ridge and watch shooting stars in the quiet and darkness of the backcountry. While the highlight of this exploration is the meteor shower, daylight brings panoramic ocean and mountain views as you hike through redwood forests and chaparral-covered ridgelines in this lesser-known park.

August 13-14 (Sunday through Monday)

Cost: $125


Starting Location/ time: Butano State Park Kiosk; 11am
Ending Location/ time: Butano State Park Kiosk; 3pm

Difficulty: moderate

Total Mileage: approximately 10.5 miles
Day 1: Butano State Park Kiosk to Butano Trail Camp; approximately 5 miles
Day 2: Butano Trail Camp to Butano State Park Kiosk; approximately 5.5 miles

 

A Trek Through Time

Starting in Butano State Park, this 3 night, 4 day trip explores relatively unknown portions of the backcountry in the Santa Cruz Mountains before touring the iconic, must see spots of Big Basin. Adventurers will travel through chaparral-covered ridgelines, moss-lined waterfalls and lush old-growth redwood groves.  A strenuous day hike to Mount McAbee rewards you with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, and provides a twist to the Butano and Beyond Expedition.

September 14-17 (Thursday through Sunday)

Cost: $300

Starting Location/ time: Butano State Park Kiosk; 9am
Ending Location/ time: Waddell State Beach; about 3pm

Difficulty: strenuous

Total Mileage: approximately 32 miles
Day 1: Butano State Park to Butano Trail Camp; approximately 4.5 miles
Day 2: Butano Trail Camp to Sunset Trail Camp; approximately 10 miles
Day 3: Day hike to Mt. McAbee: approximately 9.5 miles
Day 4: Sunset Trail Camp to Waddell State Beach; approximately 8 miles