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Let us be your guide on an adventure like no other…

California State Parks Guided Backpacking Adventures

1 Night Trip: Saturday, August 1 to Sunday, August 2

            From Big Basin Redwoods State Park to Waddell Beach

            Cost $80

(Mandatory Pre-Meeting: Monday, July 13 from 6:30 pm to 8 pm)

3 Night Trip: Friday, August 21 to Monday, August 24

            From Castle Rock State Park to Waddell Beach

(Mandatory Pre-Meeting: Wednesday, August 5 from 6:30 pm to 8 pm)

Cost $190

Who better to lead you through our parks than California State Park professionals? Travel from spectacular ridgelines, through old growth redwood forests, to sandy shores with our knowledgeable team of naturalists. Imagine if the Santa Cruz Mountains could speak, and the stories they could tell. Our guides will share the secrets of this precious wilderness and give you a window into the lives of the people who lived here for thousands of years. There is no limit to the personal growth and amazing natural beauty you will experience on your backcountry adventure. For both trips, space is extremely limited   Sign up is on a first-come, first-served basis. Register by calling Cathryn Boult at Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (831) 429-1840 or emailing cathryn@thatsmypark.org. For more detailed information please call (831) 335-6391 or (831) 427-2288 or visit www.thatsmypark.org.

 

1 Night, 2 Day Trip from August 1 to August 2:

Route: You will begin at Jay Camp, Big Basin Redwoods State Park and travel along the Skyline to Sea Trail and arrive at Waddell Beach, 17 miles North of Santa Cruz on Hwy 1. This trip is approximately 13 miles long, with a net elevation change of 1,000 feet. We will be hiking no more than 8 miles per day. Families are welcome, but please no children under the age of 13. All children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 

Transportation: You will be required to organize your own transportation for both drop off and pick up.

Cost: $80

*You will be responsible for providing your own food and gear

 

3 Night, 4 Day Trip from August 21 to August 24

Route: You will begin at Castle Rock State Park and travel through the mountains, eventually arriving at Waddell Beach, 17 miles North of Santa Cruz on Hwy 1. This adventure is approximately 30 miles long with a net elevation change of 3,000 feet. We will be hiking no more than 10 miles per day. Families are welcome, but please no children under the age of 13. All children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Transportation: You will be required to organize your own transportation for both drop off and pick up.

Cost: $190

*You will be responsible for providing your own food and gear

July Monthly Activities Schedule

Please click here for a monthly downloadable list of events in area California State Parks.

July Activities

Fourth of July Parade

Saturday, July 4 at 10 am

Join our Big Basin 4th of July Parade, led by Uncle Sam, through the Redwoods to the Campfire Center where we will sing songs from the All American Song Book, ending with a salute to the flag and our national anthem. We hope that many campers and visitors will join us for this less than 1 hour salute to our nation’s birthday. Meet at the Campfire Center.

 

Special Independence Day Campfire!

Big Basin’s Fourth of July Weekend Celebration and Talent Show!

Saturday, July 4 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 to 5 minutes in length. Participants need to arrive promptly at 7 p.m. Fire lighting and marshmallows (we provide the sticks and marshmallows!) at 7 pm; program begins at 7:30 pm. Meet at historic Campfire Center

 

Evening Campfire Program
Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in July 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 marshmallows (we provide the sticks and marshmallows!) at 7 pm; program begins at 7:30 pm. Wheelchair, stroller accessible. Good dogs welcome!

 

Nature’s Supermarket Campfire

Tuesdays in July at 7 pm

How would you make dinner if you lived in Big Basin 500 years ago? No supermarkets, no stoves, not even pots and pans…. Join Ranger Alex Takone to find out how as we take a look at Nature’s Supermarket and make dinner the way it was done by the native Ohlone people 500 years ago! You even get to taste our creation! Meet at historic Campfire Center. Fire lighting and marshmallows (we provide the sticks and marshmallows!) at 7 pm; program begins at 7:30 pm. Wheelchair, stroller accessible. Good dogs welcome!

 

Twilight Adventure

Wednesdays in July at 7:30 pm

Twilight is a special time that marks the end of day and the beginning of night. Join us for an easy, level walk for the whole family and experience the forest at dusk. This is a 1.5 hour, 0.5 mile walk. Wheelchair/stroller accessible. Sorry, no dogs on the trail. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Discover Big Basin Redwoods Hike!
Saturday, July 4 at 12 pm
Saturday, July 11 at 12 pm
Saturday, July 25 at 12 pm
Sunday, July 26 at 12 pm
Explore some of the park’s less travelled backcountry with docent naturalist 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 will 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.

The Road Less Traveled—A Dog-Friendly Walk
Every Sunday at 9:30 am
AND Saturday, July 11 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 Big Basin Docent. Dogs not required, but welcome! Bring water and meet at Park Headquarters.

Volunteer with the Trail Crew
Saturday, July 11 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, July 12 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.

BYOB Hike
Saturday, July 18 at 8 am

Join docent Kathy Willott for a BYOB hike to Buzzard’s Roost. That’s Bring Your Own Breakfast. We’ll take an early hike in hopes of seeing things that might be hiding later in the day and share our findings as we go. We’ll watch the environment change as we climb and enjoy the view from the top, where we’ll have something to eat. Hikers should be able to do a steady uphill grade for 2.5 miles (elevation gain about 1,200 ft.), but we’ll go at a pace that allows us to enjoy what we see. Wear good walking shoes and dress in layers. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Coffee Talk and Crafts
Saturday, July 18 from 9:30-noon
Saturday, July 25 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 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!

Wildflower Walk!
Saturday, July 18 at 10 am
AND Sunday, July 19 at 10 am
Join docent Scott Peden on this slow-paced walk with lots of stops to identify flowering plants and take photos. 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.

Here Comes the Sun!
Saturday, July 18 from 11 am to 1 pm
Come to the Campfire Center and look through a solar telescope at the Sun. You'll see sunspots, solar prominences and other features of our closest star as you learn about the parts of the Sun and how it shines. There will be Sun-related activities for the kids. Conducted by Steve Widmark of the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club.

Felling the Giants
Saturday, July 18 at noon
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.

Nature’s Reading Room
Saturday, July 18 from 1-3 pm
Come sit under our ancient circle of 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 in the circle of redwoods right by the Nature Lodge/Museum (past the store).

Hike to Ocean View Summit
Sunday, July 19 from 10 am-2:30 pm
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.

A Special Event!

Tales of the Basin: A Weekend of Storytelling

July 24 to July 25

Events of this weekend will spotlight storytellers, park history, special children’s performers and the tradition of spinning a yarn beside the evening fire. South Bay Storytellers will present the campfire program on Saturday night.

 

Big Basin “Nature Tails”

Saturday, July 25 at 4:30 pm

A world of animal songs and stories presented for children of all ages by local storytellers. Meet at the Campfire Center.

 

Storytellers’ Showcase Campfire!

Saturday, July 25 at 7 pm

Sit back and experience an old-fashioned evening steeped in the oral tradition, as our guest storytellers weave their yarns in our historic amphitheater. Meet at the Campfire Center. The evening begins with fire lighting and marshmallow roasting at 7 pm, and storytelling at 7:30 pm.

 

Snakes Alive!

Saturday, July 25 from Noon to 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 Old Lodge, across the street from the Nature Lodge/Museum, and meet Docent Diane Shaw and learn about the fascinating world of snakes. Stop by anytime to meet the snakes and talk to Diane. Snake crafts for the kids too!

 

Family Discovery Walk

Saturday, July 25 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 will 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.

 

Hike the Last Chance Trail

Sunday, July 26 from 10 am to 2:30 pm

Join docent Steve Stolper as we hike the mysterious Last Chance Trail. We follow East Waddell Creek as it meanders through a deep forested canyon. The highlight of our trip is our lunch spot: a sunny rock overlooking cascades that feed the creek below. After a relaxing lunch, we leave our tranquil spot and return to park headquarters. This 4.4 mile out and back is a moderate hike with 300 feet elevation gain. We cross a stream that requires hikers to rock-hop. Bring at least one liter of water, lunch, snacks, and appropriate clothing. Meet at Park Headquarters.

 

Meteor Trail Hike

Sunday, July 26 at 10:30 am

Join docent Peggy O’Shea on one of our most diverse hikes, by mountain streams, oak woodlands, chaparral and redwoods. You will discuss forests, flowers and fires on a 6 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.

 

Shadowbrook Stroll

Sunday, July 26 at 1 pm

Join Docent Hal Anjo as he 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 4 mile, 3.5 hour hike. Bring water and good hiking shoes. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Annual Events for 2015

Below are 2015 Annual Special Events at Big Basin Redwoods State Park.  Additional daily activities including guided walks, campfires and Junior Ranger programs, can be viewed on the parks main calendar.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Romance in the Redwoods
Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 1 pm
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! 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 Redwoods State Park
Mother’s Day Walk: Women of Big Basin
Sunday, May 10, 2015 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.
 
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
The Men of Big Basin—A Father’s Day Special Event
Sunday, June 21 2015, 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 4, 2015 at 6:30 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.
  
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Tales of the Basin—A Storytelling Weekend Event
July 24-25, 2015, 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.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Big Basin Founders’ Day and Redwood Jubilee
Saturday, September 26, 2015, 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 of William Waddell
Saturday, October 24, 2015, 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
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