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Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Contact Information

(831) 338-8860

Park Hours

Park Headquarters: 8am-8pm (summer hrs)
Day Use Park Hours: 6am-Sunset
Backcounty Trail Camp Office: 9am-5pm (Monday-Friday)

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: 24 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: 27 Feet

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. From Hwy 9 in the town of Boulder Creek, turn north onto Hwy 236 and Park Headquarters is 9 miles down the highway.

The Rancho Del Oso coastal unit of Big Basin is accessible via Highway 1, about 20 miles north of the city of Santa Cruz.

Camping and Lodging

Online reservations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reservations can be made 6 months in advance 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 ReserveCalifornia website and the telephone line may at times be limited.

Backcountry Trail Camps

For more information and reservations for Lane, Jay, Sunset, Twin Redwoods and Alder Trail Camps, please visit the Santa Cruz Mountain State Parks Backcountry Trail Camp Page.


Visiting 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
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 Highway 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 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.


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.


Volunteers in Parks

Docents share the park's natural and cultural history with visitors. Click the link for an application to mail in DPR208h.xls or call (831) 338-8883. Please visit the Campground and Park Hosts page for information about becoming a camp host at Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

Join our trail crew!



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.



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Available Activities and Facilities at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Family Campsites
Group Campsites
Hike or Bike Campsites
RV Dump Station
Alternative Camping
RV Access
Bike Trails
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Vista Point
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Family Programs
Food Service
Camp Store
Restrooms / Showers
Drinking Water Available