Summer Hours at Park Headquarters:
8am to 8pm - Everyday
Day Use Hours
6am to Sunset everyday
Backcounty Trail Camp Office:
9am to 5pm - Monday through Friday
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Traffic and Parking Delays at Big Basin
Due to high visitation during the summer season, you should expect delays when arriving at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, especially on weekends and holidays. Having cash ready before arriving at the kiosk will expedite the proceess - parking is $10 per vehicle.
Arriving early will help you get a parking space. If our day use lots fill to capacity, we will be forced to turn you away. Please note that there is no day use parking permitted in our campgrounds or along the highway in the Headquarters Area.
We have made every effort to maximize parking and to expedite the process to reduce delays and avoid turning people away. Your patience and understanding are appreciated during this busy time of year.
Thank You and Enjoy Your Visit!
Winter storms have caused damage to Big Basin Redwoods State Park's trail system.
Trail Closures & Conditions:
CLOSED - Alder Trail Camp. Alder Trail Camp is closed until further notice due to storm damage.
CLOSED - Approximately half a mile of Skyline to Sea Trail is closed between Middle Ridge Road Sunset Connector Trail.
CLOSED - Timms Creek Trail.
Skyline to the Sea Detour Directions:
The closed section of Skyline to the Sea Trail can by bypassed by using the Sunset Connector Trail between Sunset Trail and Skyline to the Sea Trail.
Other trails are OPEN but please keep in mind the following:
Recent storms have caused damage to all trails.
We have crews working on trails, so please do not touch or move any of their equipment or materials.
Please check with staff at Park Headquarters to see if your planned route is safe and passable.
Trail conditions are always changing, so please be aware that you may come across blocked trails that we don't know about. Please be prepared to turn back.
We are working to fix these issues as soon as possible. Due to the extensiveness of the damage, repairs might take some time. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience and understanding.
Campground ConstructionCalifornia State Parks is working to construct animal resistant dish washing stations throughout the campgrounds in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Butano State Park and Portola Redwoods State Park as part of our ongoing efforts to protect the endangered Marbled Murrelet.
Due to severe winter weather which delayed construction, we will have to continue working into the busy summer season in order to complete this project.
Visitors should expect construction noise from 7am to 5pm. This includes saws, hammers, and other possibly loud noises.
We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding as we rush to complete this vital project.
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! http://www.bbvtc.org/
• 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.
Available Activities and Facilities at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Hike or Bike Campsites
RV Dump Station
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Restrooms / Showers
Drinking Water Available