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Organization Title

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Contact Information

(831) 338-8860

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: 24 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: 27 Feet

Park Hours

Fall Hours at Park Headquarters:
8am to 7pm - Everyday

Day Use Hours
6am to Sunset everyday

Backcounty Trail Camp Office:
9am to 5pm - Monday through Friday

Driving Directions to Big Basin Redwoods SP

The park is 25 miles northwest of Santa Cruz via Highways 9 and 236 and about 65 miles south of San Francisco. All roads into Big Basin are curvy. If you have an RV or trailer, take Route 1 - its the least curvy.

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Camping and Lodging

Online reservations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reservations can be made 7 months in advance on the first day of the month beginning at 8:00 a.m. PST via the website, by mail, or by calling the toll free telephone number at 1-800-444-7275. Due to seasonal volume, access to the ReserveAmerica website and the telephone line may at times be limited.

Online Reservations

Notice!

Due to an ongoing project to replace aging propane tanks, there will be rotating campgrounds that will be without hot showers. These showers will be posted 'No Hot Water' and the nearest functional showers will be noted on a map. Please excuse the inconvenience as we work to upgrade our infrastructure and be more water smart!

Welcome To Big Basin Redwoods State Park

“Imagine a time when the whole peninsula from San Francisco to San Jose shall become one great city; then picture, at its very doorstep, this magnificent domain of redwood forests and running streams, the breathing place of millions of cramped and crowded denizens of the city.”
                 – Carrie Stevens Walter, Sempervirens Club, 1901
Founding of Sempervirens Club BBRSP

Established in 1902, Big Basin Redwoods is California’s oldest state park. In the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains, its biggest attractions—literally—are its ancient coast redwoods. Some of these giants are more than 50 feet around and as tall as the Statue of Liberty. At 1,000 to 2,500 years old, some may predate the Roman Empire. The park also offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, lush waterfalls, and a fascinating natural and cultural history. 
  
Each season provides a different park experience. During wet winters, the intense greens of mosses contrast with the subtle colors of lichens and mushrooms. Rushing waterfalls and wildflowers abound in the cool, foggy spring. In summer, the park is a shady getaway from inland heat. Fall may be the most hospitable season, without storms or extreme heat.
 
Big Basin’s coastal unit, Rancho del Oso, lies on State Route 1, about 20 miles north of the city of Santa Cruz. It cannot be accessed by vehicle from the Big Basin headquarters. 

Home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods south of San Francisco, park vegetation consists of old-growth and recovering redwood forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral, and riparian habitats. Elevations in the park vary from sea level to over 2,000 feet. The climate ranges from foggy and damp near the ocean to sunny, warm ridge tops.

The park has more than 80 miles of trails. Be sure and pick up a map:
English: Big Basin Redwoods State Park Brochure - English
Spanish: Big BasinRedwoods State Park Brochure - Spanish
at park headquarters before your hike, and view the multimedia kiosk in the Sempervirens Room next to park headquarters. There you will find great information, photos, and video of some of the most popular trails.

Some of these trails link Big Basin to Castle Rock State Park and the eastern reaches of the Santa Cruz range. The Skyline to the Sea Trail threads its way through the park along Waddell Creek to the beach and adjacent Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve, a freshwater marsh.

The park has a surprising number of waterfalls, a wide variety of environments (from lush canyon bottoms to sparse chaparral-covered slopes), many animals (deer, raccoons, bobcats) and lots of bird life—including Steller’s jays, egrets, herons and California woodpeckers.

Dogs are permitted in the campsites, picnic areas, and on paved roads only. They must be on a leash and attended at all times. Dogs ARE NOT permitted on any of the trails.

Please click on the "Activities and Programs" link to the right to read about all our upcoming free guided walks.

Location - Directions

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.

Click the "Getting Here" link above for a map with directions or the "Driving Routes" link to the right for detailed instructions. For bus service information, see http://www.mountainparks.org/big-basin/.
As of September 8, all bus service to Big Basin and Waddell Creek/Rancho Del Oso will be discontinued.

This is a Crumb Clean Park

Big Basin Redwoods SP, Big Basin Tent Cabins, Little Basin Redwoods SP, and the Backpack Trail Camps are Crumb Clean.

Visitors are required to watch this short video about the impact your food has on park wildlife.

Seasons/Climate

Winter: Cold, overcast and rainy. Big Basin receives the majority of its average 48 inches of rain from December through March, with average temperatures ranging 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 and morning fog in early summer. Average highs 75 to 95, lows 40s to 50s.

Fall: Warm days to cold nights and occasional early rainstorms. Average highs 75 to 60s, lows 50s to 30. Often the best weather of the year.

Please Remember

  • All natural and cultural features in the park are protected by law and may not be disturbed or removed.  Collecting is prohibited, including downed wood.

 • Purchase firewood from the park store.

 • Be prepared for mosquitoes in summer.

 • Feeding wildlife is prohibited by law.

 • Dispose of all trash properly and don't leave it out in your campsite where animals can get to it. Recycle glass, plastic, and aluminum.

 • Except for service animals, dogs are not allowed on any trails, unpaved service/fire roads, in any portion of the Rancho del Oso area, or on Waddell Beach at any time. All dogs must be on a leash and attended at all times.

OCTOBER ACTIVITIES

SPECIAL EVENT: “THE MISSING ARM”
Saturday, October 22 at 6:30 pm
Experience a haunted tale of Big Basin’s last lumber mill owner and his fateful encounter with a grizzly bear! Celebrate the forest in autumn with this spooky and slightly silly half-mile theatrical guided walk through the redwoods at night. Ranger apples cooked around the campfire and storytellers round out this festive family event. The trail is stroller and wheelchair accessible. Registration begins at 6:30 pm. Parking is $10.00 per vehicle. Bring a flashlight.

Redwood Grove Loop Walk
Every Saturday and Sunday at 11 am and 2 pm
How do these grand redwoods grow to be so old? So tall? Join us for this fun and informative guided half-mile stroll through a magnificent old-growth redwood forest. Meet the famous Mother Tree, the Father of the Forest and the incredible Chimney Tree on this 90-minute walk. Stroller and wheelchair accessible. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Exploring Big Basin
EVERY Tuesday at 9 am
Learn about redwoods, forest plants, fires, history and more on these fun, varied hikes with Docents Paul and Eva Fewel and Diane Shaw. Hikes are 5-8 miles and last up to 5 hours. We go rain or shine, but strong winds may cancel. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Coffee Talk and Crafts
Saturday, October 1 from 9:30-noon
AND Saturday, October 29 from 9:30-noon
Come to the Sempervirens Room next to Park Headquarters for free coffee or hot chocolate! This is a great way to start your day in Big Basin. Docent Kathy Willott will be happy to answer your questions about the park and help get you going on the right trail. And bring the kids for a fun craft activity!

A Walk in the Past
Saturday, October 1 at 10 am
No Safeway? No Home Depot? No Pharmacy? How did the Ohlone Indians survive? Take a walk with Docent Tom Batley and learn about some of the plants the Ohlones used for food, tools and medicine. This is a 4-mile, 2.5-hour walk. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Discover Big Basin Redwoods Hike!
Saturday, October 1 at noon
AND Saturday, October 8 at noon
AND Sunday, October 9 at noon
AND Saturday, October 22 at noon
AND Sunday, October 30 at noon
Explore some of the park’s less travelled backcountry with Docent Barry Grimm. This hike will be individually tailored to your group–so distance can vary from 2 to 8 miles, depending on your needs. The pace is always moderate–with occasional short stops to discover the park’s unique animals, plants and other natural features. Based on group size, experience level and weather conditions, we’ll choose from the many trails that explore the park’s most scenic areas. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Bring sturdy walking shoes, water and trail snacks. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Story Time Walk
Saturday, October 1 from 1-1:30 pm
Bring the whole family and join us for a walking story time! Starting at Park Headquarters, we’ll walk through ancient redwoods while reading a story about an animal, forest, bird, insect–who knows? We’ll stop and read one page, walk a bit then read the next page until we finish the story. We’ll end up at the historic campfire circle and gather for Nature’s Reading Room, where you can choose from a wide variety of books about trees, animals, birds, bugs and more for the whole family to read together. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Nature’s Reading Room
Saturday, October 1 from 1:30-3 pm
Come sit in our beautiful campfire center, under ancient redwoods—nature’s reading room—and choose a book or two to read with your family. Drop by anytime between 1:00-3:00 and Docent Norm Beeson will help you find the perfect book for your family to enjoy. Nature’s Reading Room is at our campfire center, across from Park Headquarters.

The History of Horses at Big Basin
Sunday, October 2 at 10 am
Come meet a rescue horse, and learn about the important role horses played in Big Basin’s history. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Outlook from Mt. McAbee
Sunday, October 2 at 1 pm
AND Sunday, October 23 at 1 pm
Join Docent Hal Anjo on a hike to McAbee Outlook. We'll stop at the top and enjoy the lovely ocean views, returning through a beautiful old-growth redwood forest. Learn about the different habitats as you watch the environment change as we climb and enjoy the view. Difficulty level is moderate. The hike is six miles and about three and a half hours. Bring plenty of water, snacks and good hiking shoes. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Volunteer with the Trail Crew
Saturday, October 8 at 9 am
Since 1969 the Big Basin Volunteer Trail Crew has helped make it possible for others to safely enjoy the beauty of our park. The Trail Crew meets the second Saturday of each month, rain or shine. A typical workday lasts until mid-afternoon. Please bring your own work gloves, lunch and water. Join us for a unique perspective of Big Basin, a lively and productive experience with others who share a love of these redwood forests, and the satisfaction of participating in a vital part of the park's ability to educate and inspire the public! Meet at Park Headquarters.

Berry Creek Falls Hike
Sunday, October 9 at 9:30 am
Travel deep into the heart of Big Basin as you experience a wide range of habitats on this moderate to strenuous 11-mile-loop hike. Wind through shady redwood canyons and climb dry ridges as you hike to the jewel of Big Basin—65-foot Berry Creek Falls. Bring lots of water, lunch and wear layers. Docent Bill Rhoades will guide you on this seven-hour hike. Meet at Park Headquarters.

The Road Less Traveled—A Dog-Friendly Walk
Sunday, October 9 at 10 am
On this dog-, stroller- and wheelchair-friendly walk, we travel on North Escape Road, a paved road closed to traffic. We tour stunning old-growth redwood groves along beautiful Opal Creek. We'll discuss redwood ecology and park history while exploring the deep shade of the redwood forest. This is a fun, easy, three-mile, two-hour roundtrip walk with a Docent Diane Shaw. Dogs not required, but welcome! Bring water and meet at Park Headquarters.

Meteor Trail Hike
Sunday, October 9 at 1 pm
AND Saturday, October 15 at 10:30 am
Join a Big Basin Docent on one of our most diverse hikes—by mountain streams, oak woodlands, chaparral and redwoods. You’ll discuss forests, flowers and fires on a six-mile, 3.5-hour hike. This somewhat strenuous ascent is rewarded with ocean views on a clear day. Bring water, lunch and good hiking shoes. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Wildflower Walk!
Sunday, October 16 at 10 am
Join Docent Scott Peden on this slow-paced walk with lots of stops to identify flowering plants and take photos. The walk is a relaxed five-mile, five-hour amble that includes a chimney tree. Bring water and lunch. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Hike to Buzzard’s Roost
Sunday, October 16 from 10-2
Develop your hiking muscles with this challenging 5-mile round trip to Buzzard’s Roost. Join Docent Steve Stolper for a hike to a dramatic rock formation with a commanding view of the park. We gain 1,200 feet in elevation on the way up. After a relaxed lunch on the rocks, we return to headquarters. Bring at least one liter of water, lunch, snacks, and appropriate clothing. Rain cancels. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Creeping Forest Ramble
Sunday, October 16 at 1 pm
AND Sunday, October 30 at 1 pm
Explore the natural history of this less-visited trail with Docent Hal Anjo on a 3-hour, 3.5-mile hike up and down the “creeping” terrain, along creeks, through fire-scarred redwoods and over log bridges. Bring water and good hiking shoes. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Hike to Ocean View Summit
Saturday, October 22 from 10-2:30
Escape the crowds on this 6-mile loop through shaded forest to a hilltop view of the coast.  Join Docent Steve Stolper as we climb the Meteor Trail through the trees, gaining 600 feet before emerging at Ocean View Summit. After a relaxed lunch we descend back into the forest and return to headquarters. Bring at least one liter of water, lunch, snacks, and appropriate clothing. This hike runs rain or shine. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Spooky or Not Spooky?
Sunday, October 23 at 11:30 am
AND Sunday, October 30 at 11:30 am
A special walk for Halloween! We'll take a walk in the forest with an eye out for the weird and wonderful. We'll examine cobwebs, burls, holes and other mysterious natural features from a different perspective, asking the question, "Is it Spooky or Not Spooky?” Depending on how you look at things, the answer may change! Come along if you dare! Geared for young children, this is a one-hour easy walk. Meet at Park Headquarters.

SPECIAL EVENT: “THE MISSING ARM”
Saturday, October 22 at 6:30 pm
Experience a haunted tale of Big Basin’s last lumber mill owner and his fateful encounter with a grizzly bear! Celebrate the forest in autumn with this spooky and slightly silly half-mile theatrical guided walk through the redwoods at night. Ranger apples cooked around the campfire and storytellers round out this festive family event. The trail is stroller and wheelchair accessible. Registration begins at 6:30 pm. Parking is $10.00 per vehicle. Bring a flashlight.

Snakes Alive!
Saturday, October 29 from 12-3 pm
Why are snakes important to us? How do they see, smell, taste, hear? What and how do they eat? What does a snake feel like? Come to the Sempervirens Room/Park Headquarters and meet Docent Diane Shaw and learn about the fascinating world of snakes. Stop by anytime to meet the snake and talk to Diane.

Family Discovery Walk
Saturday, October 29 at 1 pm
Join Docent Norm Beeson for a fun-filled family walk and investigate the mysteries and wonders of Big Basin’s redwood forest! We’ll discover what surprises the day offers on this easy, one-mile roundtrip walk that lasts about 1.5 hours. Bring water, a snack and an adventurous spirit! Meet at Park Headquarters.

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Available Activities and Facilities at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
Family Campsites
Group Campsites
Hike or Bike Campsites
Lodging
RV Dump Station
Alternative Camping
RV Access
TRAIL USE
Bike Trails
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Swimming
Vista Point
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Windsurfing/Surfing
Museums
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Food Service
Camp Store
Restrooms / Showers
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available