Big Basin Redwoods State Park

This park unit is partially open. Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and what COVID-19 guidelines are in place. - (June 30, 2022)

What is currently closed?

At Big Basin

At Rancho Oso

  • Rancho del Oso Welcome Center
  • Hoover Nature Trail

What is open now?

At Big Basin

  • Temporary visitor center (starting 7/22/22)
  • Redwood Loop Trail (starting 7/22/22)
  • Dool Trail (starting 7/22/22)
  • Sections of North Escape Road, Middle Ridge Road, Gazos Creek Road, Johansen Road, and Chalks Road; See map for details (starting 7/22/22)
  • Day-use parking by reservation only (starting 7/22/22)
  • Temporary restrooms (starting 7/22/22)
  • Temporary handwashing stations (starting 7/22/22)

At Rancho Oso

  • Waddell Beach and parking lot
  • Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center (weekends only)
  • Marsh Trail
  • Rancho del Oso park road (no cars; for hiking only)
  • Parking lots
  • Restrooms (only when Rancho del Oso Nature & History Center open)

Phone Number

(831) 338-8860

Park Hours

8 am - Sunset

 

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs not allowed on trails/Rancho Del Oso.

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 the park entrance kiosk 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.

Be advised: Ride sharing and car sharing apps such as Uber and Zip Car are not a great way to get to Big Basin. There is no cell phone service near park entrance kiosk and many people have used ride sharing and car sharing apps to get to Big Basin only to find that they are not able to activate their Zip Car or get a ride back home.

No oversized vehicles or trailers can be accommodated for day-use parking currently.

Take the Bus!: Santa Cruz Metro is now offering weekend service during summer months to the park on Bus Route 35. View bus schedule and more details.

Day-Use Parking will be available by reservation only during the limited access phase at Big Basin. The parking fee is $6 per vehicle plus $2 reservation fee. Make parking reservations. No oversized vehicles or trailers, including horse trailers, can be accommodated for day-use parking currently.

Camping reservations are not available as all campgrounds are currently closed.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

TRAIL USE
Bike Trails
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Swimming
Vista Point
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Windsurfing/Surfing
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Restrooms

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Day-Use Parking Reservation System

Big Basin will open for limited day-use access on July 22, 2022. Reservations for parking are required. Reserve a parking space. The parking fee is $6 per vehicle plus a $2 reservation fee. No reservations are needed for visitors arriving by foot, bike, or bus. Read the FAQs for more information on the reservation system and visiting Big Basin. 

No fees or reservations required for visiting Rancho del Oso, the coastal subunit portion of Big Basin.

Visit Big Basin by Public Transit

Santa Cruz Metro is now offering weekend service during summer months to Big Basin Redwoods State Park on Bus Route 35. View the bus schedule and more information. No entrance fee or reservation is required for visitors who arrive by bus. Save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, take the bus!

Reimagining Big Basin logoReimagining Big Basin

Wildfire in 2020 has transformed Big Basin Redwoods State Park. California State Parks has undertaken a public process to create the Reimagining Big Basin Vision Summary and will continue to invite participation in planning the reestablishment of the park to realize this vision. Visit www.reimaginingbigbasin.org for the latest park planning updates and to learn how you can help.



 

Visiting Big Basin Redwoods

Sempervirens Club Image

“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 1,800 years old, some may predate the Roman Empire. The park also offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, many babbling brooks, and a fascinating natural and cultural history.

A new chapter in Big Basin's story began on August 18, 2020, when the CZU Lightning Complex Fire swept through 97% of the park's property. The fire destroyed all historic structures and radically changed the landscape. The park now looks very different from how generations of visitors experienced it, but it is steadily recovering. Most of the old-growth redwood trees survived, new plant life is vigorously growing, and many animals have returned to the area. The Reimagining Big Basin project is managing the multi-year process of rebuilding park facilities and infrastructure. 

Big Basin is still home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods south of San Francisco. Park vegetation consists of fire-impacted old-growth and second-growth redwood forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral, and riparian habitats. Elevations in the park vary from sea level to over 2,000 feet. 

The park has a variety of habitats (from damp canyon bottoms to sparse chaparral-covered slopes), animals (deer, raccoons, bobcats) and bird life—including dark-eyed juncos, acorn woodpeckers, Steller's jays, marbled murrelets, and fire-following lazuli buntings. 

Big Basin’s coastal unit, Rancho del Oso, is accessible off Highway 1 in Davenport, about 20 miles north of Santa Cruz.

Things to Do

Redwoods resprouting: April 2021EXPERIENCE THE REDWOODS - Big Basin Redwoods State Park preserves more than 18,000 acres. This unique ecosystem of ancient coast redwood trees has captured the interest and dedication of many people throughout time. Visit the Redwood Loop Trail – see some of the biggest and oldest trees in the park on this 0.6 mile (1 km) flat loop trail, marvel at their many adaptations that helped them survive the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire, and feel the inspiration this grove holds that led to its protection. 

RANCHO DEL OSO NATURE & HISTORY CENTER - Rancho del Oso is the coastal portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz, off of Highway 1. It is across Highway 1 from Waddell State Beach, located in the Waddell Valley. Learn more about Rancho del Oso and the West Waddell Creek State Wilderness.

HIKING - Please check current trail conditions while planning your hike. Before the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex Fire, Big Basin had over 100 miles of backcountry roads and trails. With several trails and fire roads reopened (and on-going recovery work that will allow more to reopen in the future), visitors again have the chance to leave developed areas, pass through old-growth redwood forest, follow meandering creeks, and climb to ridge top vistas. Hikes can range from quick loops and half day hikes to all day adventures into the backcountry. View recommended hikes and current trail conditions.

BICYCLING - Bicycles are allowed on all fire roads. Please check the park map for details on where bicycles are allowed. 

EQUESTRIANS - Horses are allowed on all fire roads. Please check the park map for details on where horses are allowed. No horse trailer parking at this time.

PARK EVENTS - A variety of free interpretive programs are offered throughout the year. View a list of upcoming events and activities.

Basic Park Information

FEES – There is a vehicle day-use fee. Regular sized autos are $6 plus $2 reservation fee. Day-use parking is by reservation only. Reserve a parking space. No oversized vehicles or trailers can be accommodated for day-use parking currently. There is no fee or reservation needed at the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.

DOGS are allowed on paved roads. They must be on a leash and attended at all times. Dogs are not permitted on any of the trails or fire roads. Dogs are not allowed in any portion of the Rancho del Oso area, or on Waddell State Beach.

HORSES are allowed on all fire roads. Horses are not permitted on any trails. No horse trailer parking available at this time.

BICYCLES are allowed on all fire roads. Bikes are not permitted on any trails. 

DRONES are not allowed in the park. To protect wildlife and cultural resources, and for the safety and welfare of visitors and staff, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is closed to the use of Model Aircraft, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and Gliders in flight.

PROFESSIONAL/COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY AND FILMING requires a permit through the California Film Commission. For more information, please visit their website

SANTA CRUZ METRO offers weekend service in the summer months to the park on Bus Route 35. View bus schedule and more information

IF YOU ARE TAKING A RIDESHARE SERVICE TO THE PARK, be sure the service will also pick you up from the park. Some services will drop off at Big Basin, but will not return to pick you up. 

This is a Crumb Clean Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is Crumb Clean! Feeding wildlife is prohibited by law. Dispose of all food and trash properly and don't leave any behind where animals can get to it. Recycle glass, plastic, and aluminum.

Watch this short video to learn about the marbled murrelet, an endangered bird that nests in the park, and how you can protect it by being Crumb Clean. Vea el video en español aquí.

 

Volunteers in Parks

Do you enjoy nature and being outdoors? Do you feel a strong sense of giving to the community, promoting conservation and stewardship, and sharing knowledge with others? You can join our stewardship team and help connect park visitors to our natural and cultural resources. For more information, please visit our Volunteering page.