Activities and Programs

These activities begin at Big Basin Redwoods State Park main entrance located 9 miles outside of Boulder Creek on Hwy 236 (831) 338-8883.  For activities at the Rancho del Oso location located off Highway 1, click here.

APRIL ACTIVITIES IN BIG BASIN REDWOODS STATE PARK

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Located 9 miles outside of Boulder Creek on Hwy 236 (831) 338-8883

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.

Coffee Talk and Crafts
Saturday, April 5 from 9 am to 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 (and year!) in Big Basin. Docent Norm Beeson 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!

Hike to Buzzard’s Roost
Sunday, April 6 at 10 am
Develop your hiking muscles with this challenging 5-mile round trip to Buzzard’s Roost with docent Steve Stolper. We’ll gain 1,200 feet in elevation as we hike to a dramatic rock formation with a commanding view of the park. After a relaxed lunch on the rocks, we’ll return to headquarters. Bring at least one liter of water, lunch, snacks, and appropriate clothing. Rain cancels. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Discover Big Basin!
Sunday, April 6 at noon
On this 4-hour, 4-mile leisurely hike with docent Barry Grimm we’ll traverse old-growth redwood and Douglas-fir forest in some of the park’s most scenic backcountry. We’ll look at the forest in new ways and share our findings. Compact digital cameras are encouraged to help us share what we see. This hike is suitable for adults and young adults who are diligent hikers. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Bring sturdy walking shoes, water and trail snacks. Meet at Park Headquarters. Heavy rain cancels.

Warm up for Earth Day and Volunteer with the Trail Crew!
Saturday, April 12 at 9 am (must be 18 years of age or older)
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.

Shadowbrook Stroll
Saturday, April 12 at 10 am
Join docent Peggy O’Shea as she guides you on a less-traveled trail that takes you by Union Creek, to the Sempervirens Falls and back through the redwoods. This is a four-mile, 3.5-hour hike. Bring water and good hiking shoes. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Berry Creek Falls Hike
Sunday, April 13 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.

Bug Hunt
Sunday, April 13 at 11 am
Join us for a two-hour Bug Hunt in the Big Basin headquarters area. See some incredible little creatures close up! Bring your sharp eyes and a hand lens, binoculars and camera if you have any, or just catch a magnified look on Docent Scott Peden’s camera. Rain or strong wind cancels. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Wildflower Walk!
Saturday, April 19 at 10 am
Sunday, April 20 at 10 am
Join docent Scott Peden and learn to identify many of Big Basin’s flowering plants. You’ll also visit several historical spots within the park. Saturday’s walk is a leisurely four-mile, four-hour amble that includes two chimney trees and a waterfall. Sunday’s walk is a relaxed five-mile, five-hour amble that includes a chimney tree. Bring water and lunch. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Shadowbrook Stroll
Saturday, April 19 at 10:30 am
Join docent Peggy O’Shea as she guides you on a less-traveled trail that takes you by Union Creek, to the Sempervirens Falls and back through the redwoods. This is a four-mile, 3.5-hour hike. Bring water and good hiking shoes. Meet at Park Headquarters.

The Road Less Traveled—A Dog-Friendly Walk
Saturday, April 19 at 1:30 pm
On this dog-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 docent Elise Scripps and her dogs Brie and Peanut. Dogs are not required, but they’re welcome! Bring water and meet at Park Headquarters.

Hike to Ocean View Summit
Sunday, April 20 at 10:30 am
Escape the crowds on this 6-mile loop through shaded forest to a hilltop view of the coast. 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 lead by docent Steve Stolper runs rain or shine. Meet at Park Headquarters.

In the Shadows of the Ancients
Saturday, April 26 at 10 am
Meander along North Escape Road with docent Kathy Willott and discover the ancient redwoods and the flowers, ferns and other plants that exist around the corners and within the hidden crevices of the redwood forest. This hike will be about 5.5 miles roundtrip and last four hours. Please bring lunch and water. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Discover Big Basin!
Saturday, April 26 at 12:00 noon
On this 4-hour, 4-mile leisurely hike with docent Barry Grimm we’ll traverse old-growth redwood and Douglas-fir forest in some of the park’s most scenic backcountry. We’ll look at the forest in new ways and share our findings. Compact digital cameras are encouraged to help us share what we see. This hike is suitable for adults and young adults who are diligent hikers. Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Bring sturdy walking shoes, water and trail snacks. Meet at Park Headquarters. Heavy rain cancels.

A Walk in the Past
Sunday, April 27 at 12:00 noon
No Safeway? No Home Depot? No Pharmacy? How did the Ohlone Indians survive? Take a walk with docent Eva Fewel and learn about some of the plants the Ohlones used for food, tools and medicine. This is a 4-mile, 3.5-hour walk. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Felling the Giants
Sunday, April 27 at 1 pm
Logging was the major industry in the Santa Cruz Mountains for over 50 years. How did lumbermen cut down these tall, tall trees? What was life like in a logging camp? What tools did they use? Join docent Paul Fewel as he tells stories of the logging days and demonstrates how loggers were able to fell these giants—without chainsaws! Meet at Park Headquarters.

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

BIG BASIN REDWOODS STATE PARK MAY ACTIVITIES

Redwood Loop Walk
Every Saturday and Sunday at 11 am and 2 pm (except for 11 am only on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11 due to a special event)
AND Memorial Day, Monday, May 26 at 11 am and 2 pm
AND Friday, May 30 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.

Campfire Programs
Saturday, May 17 at 7 pm
Saturday, May 24 at 7 pm
Sunday, May 25 at 7 pm
Saturday, May 31 at 7 pm
Join us in our historic campfire center for an evening of song and story. Serenade the glittering stars and learn about redwood ecology, creatures of the forest or stories of the park while relaxing in the shadows of the towering trees. Fire lighting and marshmallow roasting (we provide the marshmallows and sticks!) starts at 7:00 pm and the program begins at 7:30 pm. Wheelchair and stroller accessible. Good dogs welcome! Meet at the Campfire Center.

Junior Rangers
Saturday, May 17 at 3 pm
Saturday, May 24 at 3 pm
Sunday, May 25 at 3 pm
Monday, May 26 at 11 am
Saturday, May 31 at 3 pm
Discover the fascinating secrets of the forest! Explore, practice outdoor skills and play games as you learn about plants, animals, geology, and more. This one-hour program is for kids ages 7-12. Sorry parents, this program is for kids only! Please register your child at the Nature Lodge 15 minutes before the program begins. Please be sure your child is dressed for active play in the outdoors.

Big Basin Nature Club
Saturday, May 17 at 4:30 pm
Saturday, May 24 at 4:30 pm
Sunday, May 25 at 4:30 pm
Monday, May 26 at 10 am
Saturday, May 31 at 4:30 pm
This fun program is for children ages 3-6 and their families. Pretend, play, sing and explore! This half-hour program will introduce youngsters to the wonders of the redwood forest. Meet at the Nature Lodge.

What's that Bird?
Saturday, May 3 at 10 am
This easy, one-mile stroll with docent Karen DeMello will introduce you to the birds of the redwood forest. Beginner birders are welcomed! Bring binoculars if you have them–but they’re not required. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Meteor Trail Hike
Sunday, May 4 at 11:30 am
AND Saturday, May 17 at 11:30 am
Join docent Peggy O’Shea 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.

Volunteer with the Trail Crew!
Saturday, May 10 at 9 am (must be 18 years of age or older)
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.

A Walk in the Past
Saturday, May 10 at 12 noon
No Safeway? No Home Depot? No Pharmacy? How did the Ohlone Indians survive? Take a walk with docent Eva Fewel and learn about some of the plants the Ohlones used for food, tools and medicine. This is a 4-mile, 3.5-hour walk; bring lunch, water and snacks. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Felling the Giants
Saturday, May 10 at 1:00 pm
Logging was the major industry in the Santa Cruz Mountains for over 50 years. How did lumbermen cut down these tall, tall trees? What was life like in a logging camp? What tools did they use? Join docent Paul Fewel as he tells stories of the logging days and demonstrates how loggers were able to fell these giants—without chainsaws! Meet at Park Headquarters.

Berry Creek Falls Hike
Sunday, May 11 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.

Pioneers of Big Basin
Sunday, May 11 at 12 noon
Join docent Hal Anjo on an easy three-mile, three-hour round trip to the site of the Maddock Cabin. Enjoy a beautiful walk through the redwoods and hear stories of the early settlers and their life deep in the forest. Rain cancels. Meet at Park Headquarters.

The Women of Big Basin
A Mother’s Day Special Event at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Sunday, May 11 at 1 pm
Celebrate Mother’s Day by honoring some of the incredible women who have lived in, worked in and fought for the Big Basin. Meet pioneer homemaker Alice Maddock; Josephine McCrackin, the “Savior of the Redwoods” and Harriet “Petey” Weaver, the first female Ranger. Interpreter Susan Blake portrays these inspiring women on this half-mile, 2-hour guided walk. Wheelchair and stroller accessible. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Wildflower Walk!
Saturday, May 17 at 10 am
AND Sunday, May 18 at 10 am
Join docent Scott Peden and learn to identify many of Big Basin’s flowering plants. You’ll also visit several historical spots within the park. Saturday’s walk is a leisurely four-mile, four-hour amble that includes two chimney trees and a waterfall. Sunday’s walk is a relaxed five-mile, five-hour amble that includes a chimney tree. Bring water and lunch. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Discover Big Basin Redwoods
Sunday, May 18 at 12 noon
AND Saturday, May 31 at 12 noon
On this 2-3 hour hike (at a moderate pace) with docent Barry Grimm, we’ll traverse old growth redwood and Douglas-fir forest in some of the park’s most scenic backcountry. Actual mileage and route will be chosen based on the interests of those participating. Together we’ll discover the secrets of the redwood forest and its wildlife. Cameras are encouraged – to help us search out and share forest details. The hike is suitable for adults (and young adults who are diligent hikers). Dress in layers for changeable weather and temperatures. Bring sturdy walking shoes, water and trail snacks. Heavy rain cancels. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Coffee Talk and Crafts
Saturday, May 24 from 9 am to 12 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 (and year!) in Big Basin. Docent Norm Beeson 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!

Family Discovery Walk
Saturday, May 24 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.

Snakes Alive!
Saturday, May 24 at 1:30 pm and 2:30 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 meet docent Diane Shaw and learn about the fascinating world of snakes. Meet a snake, ask Diane all your questions about reptiles and learn why we should care about them. Meet at Park Headquarters.

The Road Less Traveled—A Dog-Friendly Walk
Sunday, May 25 at 10 am
On this dog-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 docent Micki Downs and her dog Spock. Dogs not required, but welcome! Bring water and meet at Park Headquarters.

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

Annual Events for 2014

Romance in the Redwoods Walk - Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.
On this easy, 2-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!

Mother's Day Walk -  Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.
Celebrate the women of Big Basin and Mother's Day by honoring the spirited women who lived, worked and fought for Big Basin.  Stroller and wheelchair accessible.

Father's Day Walk -  Sunday, June 15, 2014 at 1:00p.m. 
Celebrate Father's Day by honoring some of the remarkable men who lived, work and fought for Big Basin.  Stroller and wheelchair accessible.

July 25-27, 2014, Various times and locations throughout the weekend.
Storytelling weekend presented in collaboration with South Bay Storytellers.  Storyteller's showcase on Saturday night at the campfire center. 

Big Basin Founders’ Day and Redwood Jubilee
Saturday, September 27, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Celebrate anniversary of California's oldest state park. Enjoy historical hikes, a special program for children and an evening melodrama at the campfire center.

The Missing Arm of William Waddell - Saturday, October 25, 2014
Bring a flashlight for this slightly-spooky, somewhat-silly trailside tale.  Sign ups begin at 6:30p.m. for walks that leave every 10-minutes beginning at 7:00p.m.

Redwood Loop Walks
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 Mountain Parks Foundation

 

  • Mountain Biking
    • Fire Roads are open to Mountain Biking
    • No Mountain Bikes allowed on Single Track Trails
    • North Escape Road (Picnic Area Road) is level and paved and makes a good easy route.
      • It is closed to private autos passed the locked gate
  • Fire Roads in Park
    • Gazos Creek Road
      • 16 miles. Goes to Highway #1 North of Swanton.
    • Middle Ridge Fire Road
    • Hihn Hammond Road
    • Johansen Road
    • Chalks Road
  • Trail Camps
    • Please click on the Backcountry Trail Camps Information Tab for complete information, rules and frequently asked questions.  Trail Camps open May 1 through Oct. 31 annually. Closed Nov. 1- April 30.
    • Advance reservations are required.
    • Reservations via Big Basin Headquarters, Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm, (831)335-8861, up to 56 days in advance.
  • Group Camps
    • Sequoia Group Camp (2 Group Camps) Open All Year
      • Fifty people per site
      • 18 Vehicles
    • Sky Meadow Group Camp (2 Group Camps) May 26-Oct 28
      • Forty people per site
      • 15 Vehicles
      • Reservations through Reserve America 1-800-444-7275
         
    • Equestrian Trails
      • Horses are allowed on Equestrian Trails and all double track trails in the Park.

    • Horse Camps
      • Six sites.
      • Six people per site.
      • Minimum of one horse per site.
      • One tow vehicle and one horse trailer per site
      • Reserve via Rancho Del Oso.

      To make camping reservations for campsites call 800-444-7275 (PARK) or visit the Reserve America web site.

      The Tent Cabins at Big Basin Redwoods State Parks are managed by a private concession. To make Tent Cabin reservations, call 800-444-7275 (PARK).