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Activities and Programs

SEPTEMBER ACTIVITIES

Redwood Loop Walk
Every Saturday and Sunday at 11 am and 2 pm
How do these grand redwoods grow to be so old? So tall? How are they important to humans? 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.

Discover Big Basin Redwoods Hike!
Sunday, September 25 at 12 pm
Explore the park’s less travelled backcountry with Docent Barry Grimm. This moderately paced hike will be individually tailored to your group. Based on group size, experience level and weather conditions, we will choose from the many trails that explore the park’s most scenic areas. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Meteor Trail Hike
Sunday, September 25 at 1:30 pm
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.

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.

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 OF CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL”
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.

California State Parks Backpacking Adventures

backpackers on the trail

Looking for your next adventure?

Naturalist-led backpacking adventures are being offered summer 2016 in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Please click here for more information.




Annual Events for 2016

Romance in the Redwoods at Big Basin
Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 11:30 am
On this easy two-hour walk you'll learn about the courtship behaviors of some of the park's most fascinating plants and animals. Join us and discover how banana slugs, redwood trees and more celebrate love in the wild! Meet at Park Headquarters. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located 9 miles outside of Boulder Creek on Hwy 236 at 21600 Big Basin Way. Day-use parking fee is $10.  More information is available at (831) 338-8883.  

Salamander Saturday at Rancho del Oso
Saturday, March 5, 2016 from Noon to 4 pm
Join us as the “Ranch of the Bear” becomes “Ranch of the Newt,” celebrating our amphibian friends that make their way from beneath rocks and under logs to the creeks, wetlands, and puddles of the park.  Participate in our annual celebration honoring the often overlooked, but heroically well -adapted amphibian native to the Santa Cruz Mountains and other moist habitats. Live amphibians will be available for viewing. Ranger-led salamander hike will start at 3 pm to search for these regal creatures on the mile long Marsh Trail. All age crafts and activities will be available at the Rancho del Oso Nature & History Center. 
Rancho del Oso is the coastal section of Big Basin located along Highway One. The Nature Center is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz along Highway One, at Waddell Creek at 3600 Hwy 1, Davenport, CA 95017.  Free. For more information, call (831) 427-2288.  

Wildflower Weekend at Rancho del Oso
Saturday April 23, 2016 from Noon to 4 pm
Sunday, April 24, 2016 from Noon to 4 pm
Winter rains promise a profusion of spring wildflowers in the Waddell Valley. Come see them on display in the Rancho del Oso Nature Center and visit them on the park's trails during the Rancho del Oso Wildflower Weekend. You will see buttercups, shooting stars, and western wake robin included in this annual exhibit of over fifty native plants in flower and several non-native species that are found in the western portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The assortment of shapes, sizes, colors, and forms are a delight to the senses.
Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center is the coastal portion of Big Basin along Highway One. The Nature Center is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz along Highway One, at Waddell Creek For more information, please call (831) 427-2288.  3600 Hwy 1, Davenport, CA 95017

Mother’s Day Walk: Women of Big Basin
Sunday, May 8, 2016 at 1 pm

Celebrate Mother’s Day in the park by honoring the spirited women who lived in, worked in, and fought for the Basin throughout its history.  Living history reenactments bring you back in time where you will meet pioneer homemaker Alice Maddock; Josephine McCrackin, the “Savior of the Redwoods,” and Harriet “Petey” Weaver, the first female Ranger. Stroll through the magnificent redwoods on this half-mile, one-hour guided walk. Meet at Park Headquarters. This walk is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible. The park is located 9 miles outside of Boulder Creek on Hwy 236 at 21600 Big Basin Way. Day-use parking fee is $10.  More information is available at (831) 338-8883.
 
The Men of Big Basin—A Father’s Day Special Event
Sunday, June 19, 2016 at 1 pm

Celebrate Father’s Day by honoring some of the remarkable men who lived in, worked in, and fought for Big Basin. Living history re-enactments bring you back in time where you’ll meet pioneer settlers, Big Basin founders and early park rangers. Stroll through the magnificent redwoods on this half-mile, 1.5-hour guided walk. Wheelchair- and stroller-accessible. Meet at Park Headquarters. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located 9 miles outside of Boulder Creek on Hwy 236 at 21600 Big Basin Way. Day-use parking fee is $10.  More information is available at (831) 338-8883.

Big Basin’s Fourth of July Weekend Celebration and Talent Show!
Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 7 pm

Come and celebrate Independence Day with a campfire, sing-a-long and talent show! If you have a skit, poem, song, or a talent you’d like to share, sign up at headquarters in advance. All presentations should be appropriate for all ages. Acts should be only 3-5 minutes in length. Participants need to arrive promptly at 6:30 p.m. Fire lighting and marshmallows (we provide the sticks and marshmallows!) at 6:30 pm; program begins at 7 pm. 
 
Tales of the Basin—A Storytelling Weekend Event

July 29 to 30, 2016 at Various times and locations throughout the weekend.
The oral storytelling tradition comes to life with the ancient redwood forest as a backdrop. Events throughout the weekend include Big Basin Nature Tails for children of all ages, guided walks that spin a yarn along the trail, and a Storyteller Showcase in the historic Campfire Center. Presented in collaboration with South Bay Storytellers and Listeners. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located 9 miles outside of Boulder Creek on Hwy 236 at 21600 Big Basin Way. Day-use parking fee is $10.  More information is available at (831) 338-8883.

Grizzly Bear Festival at Rancho del Oso
Saturday, August 13, 2016 from Noon to 4 pm
Come to Rancho del Oso for a day of commemorating the once-abundant predator that roamed this "Ranch of the Bear." Discover what they ate, how they lived, and what made this area famous for its grizzly population.  Throughout the day there will be crafts and activities for all ages. Come visit the Nature and History Center to hear stories about this powerful animal. 
Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center located is the coastal side of Big Basin along Highway One. The Nature Center is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz along Highway One, at Waddell Creek This event is appropriate for all ages.  Free.  For more information, call (831) 427-2288.  3600 Hwy 1, Davenport, CA 95017.

Big Basin Founders’ Day and Redwood Jubilee
Saturday, September 24, 2016 from 9 am to 8 pm
Celebrate our wild heritage with a melodrama, historic hikes, and games for kids as we honor the Visionaries, Valued Workers, and Visitors that have shaped the character of Big Basin over the past 100+ years. Revel in the beauty of the majestic old-growth redwoods that inspired the movement to Save the Trees! Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located 9 miles outside of Boulder Creek on Hwy 236 at 21600 Big Basin Way. Day-use parking fee is $10.  More information is available at (831) 338-8883.
 
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
The Missing Arm
Saturday, October 22, 2016; Registration begins at 6:30 p.m.
History takes a tall tale twist as the saga of this early pioneer unfolds. The silly, slightly haunting tours around the redwood loop trail begin at 7:00 p.m. Enjoy the redwoods on a fall night with music, storytelling, and “Ranger Apples” around the campfire. All participants must register at Park Headquarters (registration opens at 6:30 p.m.). Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located 9 miles outside of Boulder Creek on Hwy 236 at 21600 Big Basin Way. Day-use parking fee is $10.  More information is available at (831) 338-8883.

Redwood Loop Walks at Big Basin
Every Saturday and Sunday at 11 am and 2 pm (reduced winter schedule, call park for details)

How do these grand redwoods grow to be so old? So tall? How are they important to humans? 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.  Self-guided trail brochures also available.

Events made possible by California State Park Docents, California State Parks, and the Mountain Parks Foundation