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Activities and Programs

FEBRUARY ACTIVITIES

BECOME A BIG BASIN VOLUNTEER
Big Basin Needs You!
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is looking for curious, caring individuals to become docent volunteers. You can be part of a team dedicated to helping the environment through education. Learn about the magnificent old-growth redwoods and Big Basin’s wonderful cultural history, then share your knowledge with the public. Training begins in March. Please contact the park at (831) 338-8883 for information and applications.

Redwood Loop Walk
Every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 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, February 6 from 10-12:30
AND Saturday, February 13 from 9-12
AND Sunday, February 14 from 10-12:30
AND Saturday, February 20 from 9-12
AND Saturday, February 27 from 10-12:30
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. A Big Basin Docent 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!

Old-Time Big Basin Resort Walk
Saturday, February 6 at 11:00 am
Get in a time machine with Docent Scott Peden as he leads us on a history walk around Park Headquarters. Big Basin was a world-famous resort, with a swimming pool, dance hall, cabins, dining hall, and more! See photos from then, and compare them to what it looks like now. Scott has 80-100 year maps and photos of that era—we'll stop by the exact spots those old photos were taken and learn something about the past! This is a one-mile, 90-minute walk. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Discover Big Basin Redwoods Hike!
Saturday, February 6 at noon
AND Sunday, February 7 at noon
AND Sunday, February 21 at noon
AND Saturday, February 27 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 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.

Romance in the Redwoods Weekend
Saturday and Sunday, February 13 and 14
Love is in the air at Big Basin! Celebrate Valentine’s weekend in romantic Big Basin redwoods. Start your day with complimentary morning coffee and cocoa around the stone fireplace in the park's historic visitor center. Choose a peaceful walk among the majestic giants, a fun walk to see how some birds, beasts and plants of Big Basin reproduce, a hike to one of the most beautiful falls in California; a romantic hike to a stunning vista; or share your love of the trails by volunteering with our trail crew. All walks are led by park naturalists. Bring a picnic lunch to share with your sweetheart, and maybe even spend a romantic evening in the park's comfy tent cabins. For details about Big Basin's many Valentine’s weekend events visit www.parks.ca.gov/bigbasin or call 831-338-8883. No reservations are required for any of the walks, and all walks are free ($10/vehicle day use fee).

Volunteer with the Trail Crew!
Saturday, February 13 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.

Coffee Talk and Crafts
Saturday, February 13 from 9-12
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. A Big Basin Docent 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!

Meteor Trail Hike
Saturday, February 13 at noon
Join Docent Hal Anjo 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.

Redwood Grove Loop Walk
Saturday, February 13 at 1 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.

Berry Creek Falls Hike
Sunday, February 14 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.

Coffee Talk and Crafts
Sunday, February 14 from 10-12:30
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. A Big Basin Docent 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!

Romance in the Redwoods
Sunday, February 14 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 some of Big Basin inhabitants celebrate love in the wild! Meet at Park Headquarters.

Redwood Grove Loop Walk
Sunday, February 14 at 1 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.

Winter Wildflower Walk!
Saturday, February 20 at 10 am
AND Sunday, February 21 at 10 am

Winter rains bring a whole new flowering season upon us! Lichens, mosses and many chaparral plants bloom this time of year. 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 4-mile, 4-hour amble that includes two chimney trees and a waterfall. Sunday’s walk is a relaxed 5-mile, 5-hour amble that includes a chimney tree. Bring water and lunch. Meet at Park Headquarters.

The Road Less Traveled—A Dog-Friendly Walk
Sunday, February 21 at 10:30 am
AND Sunday, February 28 at 10:30 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 Big Basin Docent Diane Shaw. Dogs not required, but welcome! Bring water and meet at Park Headquarters.

Mushroom Hunt
Sunday, February 21 at 11 am
AND Sunday, February 28 at 11 am

Big Basin is home to many different species of fungi. Some look like our traditional pizza mushrooms, but others are wildly colored, strangely shaped, very small, smelly or slimy. Come join Ranger Emily Bertram as she hunts for mushrooms. Learn of the important role they play in the forest, who eats them and how to identify them. This is a family friendly, easy 1.5-hour walk. (Picking mushrooms in a state park is illegal, so we’ll just be looking.) Meet at Park Headquarters.

Outlook from Mt. McAbee
Sunday, February 28 at 12 noon
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.

Annual Events for 2016

Romance in the Redwoods at Big Basin
Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 11:30 am
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.  

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 of William Waddell
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 Mountain Parks Foundation