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Hiking

The park’s 80 miles of trails and roads lead past ancient trees, sparkling waterfalls, and abundant wildlife in habitats that range from lush canyon bottoms to chaparral-covered slopes. Common creatures include deer, raccoons, bobcats, and lots of bird life, including egrets, herons, woodpeckers, and Steller’s jays.
  
 
If you have an hour, enjoy the 0.6 mile Redwood Loop Trail. This classic walk showcases some of the park’s largest trees, including the Father of the Forest (circumference 66 feet 9 inches, height 250 feet) and the Mother of the Forest (circumference 70 feet, historic height 329 feet, current height 293 feet). A peek inside the towering Chimney Tree reveals a core completely hollowed out by fires. Located across the parking lot from the visitor center, the trail is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible. 
   
If you have half a day, hike a 4-mile loop on the Sequoia and Skyline to the Sea trails. The route leads to a platform overlooking exquisite Sempervirens Falls, then up the broad slope of Slippery Rock to a junction with the Skyline to the Sea Trail. This stretch of Skyline to the Sea passes the site of a pioneer family cabin in the skyscraping redwood forest along Opal Creek.  
   
If you have a full day, head to Berry Creek Falls, a 10.5-mile roundtrip hike. Along the way, you’ll see huge coast redwoods and four spectacular waterfalls. Be prepared for a workout, too, with an elevation change of 2,150 feet.

 

GUIDED HIKES - Please click here for a list of park events and guided hikes.

BACKPACKING - Please click here for information and reservations for the Californis State Parks trail camps in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS BACKPACKING ADVENTURES - Please click here for information on Backcountry Naturalist led trips in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

 

 

Easy

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).

What to see: Some of tallest trees in the Park (Mother of the Forest).
Location: Big Basin Headquarters area.
Trailhead: Across the street from Park Headquarters, at the large Redwood Trail Marker
Length: 1/2 mile~1 km.
Time: 45 minutes to one hour
Elevation: ~Level

Sequoia Trail
Forms loop with either Skyline to the Sea (via Slippery Rock trail connector) or Shadowbrook Trails.

What to see: Sempervirens Falls, Founders Monument, Slippery Rock.
Location: Big Basin core area.
Trailhead: Parking area south of Park Headquarters
Length: ~4 miles~6.5 kms
Time: ~3 hours
Elevation: ~+/- 300'

Skyline to the Sea Trail to Maddocks Cabin Site
Forms loop with either Sequoia (via Slippery Rock trail connector) or Shadowbrook Trails.

What to see: Maddocks Cabin Site, Opal Creek, Old Growth Redwoods.
Location: Opal Creek area Trailhead: Across the street from Park Headquarters, at the large Redwood Trail Marker, cross bridge at Opal Creek Comfort Station, turn right.
Length: ~4 miles~6.5 kms
Time: ~2 hours
Elevation: ~minimal

Moderate

Shadowbrook Trail
Forms loop with either Skyline to the Sea (via Slippery Rock trail connector) or Sequoia Trails.
What to see: Sempervirens Falls, Founders Monument, Slippery Rock.
Location: Union Creek Area, Big Basin core area.
Trailhead: Parking area south of Park Headquarters.
Length: ~4.7miles~7.5kms
Time: ~3hours
Elevation: ~+/-200'

Creeping Forest Trail to Dool Trail
Forms loop with Dool Trail.
What to see: Forest tilted by land slips.
Location: Opal Creek, Big Basin core area
Trailhead: Skyline to the Sea at Gazos Picnic Area
Length: ~2miles~3.5kms
Time: ~11/2hours
Elevation: ~+/-400'

Skyline to the Sea Trail to Meteor Trail to Middle Ridge Fire Road
Forms loop with Dool Trail or Gazos Creek Road.
What to see: Opal Creek, many Old Growth Trees and Rogers Creek
Location: Opal Creek and large undeveloped Mid Park areas.
Trailhead: Across the street from Park Headquarters, at the large Redwood Trail Marker, across Opal Creek from the Opal Creek Comfort Station then right.
Length: ~6miles~10kms
Time: ~3hours
Elevation: ~+/-600'


Sunset Trail to Timms Creek to Skyline to the Sea Trail Loop Trail
What to see: Opal Creek, many of the largest Old Growth trees (Santa Clara Tree), and Timms Creek.
Location: Opal and Timms Creeks and large undeveloped Mid Park areas.
Trailhead: Across the street from Park Headquarters, at the large Redwood Trail Marker, across Opal Creek from the Opal Creek Comfort Station then right.
Length: ~7.3miles~12kms
Time: ~41/2hours
Elevation: ~+200-400'

Strenuous

Trail to Berry Creek Falls
Sunset Trail to Berry Creek Falls Trail to Skyline to the Sea Trail Loop Trail
What to see: Opal Creek, many of the largest Old Growth trees (Santa Clara Tree), and Berry Creek (four water falls).
Location: Opal to Berry Creeks and large undeveloped Mid Park areas.
Trailhead: Across the street from Park Headquarters, at the large Redwood Trail Marker, across Opal Creek from the Opal Creek Comfort Station then right.
Length: ~10.5 miles~17 kms
Time: ~6 hours
Elevation: ~+200 - 400'


Howard King Trail to Mount McAbee
Forms loop with Skyline to the Sea Trail
What to see: Spectacular views!
Location: Mid Park areas.
Trailhead: Skyline to the Sea and Middle Ridge Fire Road.
Length: ~7 miles~11 kms
Time: ~4 hours
Elevation: ~+/-730'


Skyline to the Sea Trail to Waddell Beach
One Way
What to see: Spectacular views!
Location: The Whole Park, Mid Park areas, Pacific Ocean.
Trailhead: Across the street from Park Headquarters, at the large Redwood Trail Marker, cross bridge at Opal Creek Comfort Station, turn left.
Length: ~12.5 miles~20 kms
Time: ~6 hours
Elevation: ~+/-1000'


Skyline to the Sea Trail to Hollow Tree Trail
There and Back. Forms loop with Basin Trail and Road.
What to see: Creeks, dense Old Growth Forest, Maddocks Cabin Site and chaparral plant community. Location: Upper Opal Creek and the Northern part of the Park.
Trailhead: Across the street from Park Headquarters, at the large Redwood Trail Marker, cross bridge at Opal Creek Comfort Station, turn right.
Length: ~8 miles~13 kms
Time: ~4 hours
Elevation: ~+/-600'