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Park Events

Events & Activities at Big Basin

All events and activities are free. Day-use vehicle fee is $10.

Events made possible by Mountain Parks Foundation, Waddell Creek Association, and California State Parks.

 

SEPTEMBER ACTIVITIES

Redwood Grove Loop Walk
Every Saturday and Sunday at 11 am and 2 pm
AND Friday, September 22 at 11 am and 2 pm
AND Thursday, September 28 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 Docent 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.

Outlook from Mt. McAbee Hike
Wednesday, September 20 at 10:30 am
AND Saturday, September 30 at 10:30 am
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.

Coffee Talk and Crafts
Saturday, September 23 from 9:30-noon
AND Sunday, September 24 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. 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!

Sempervirens Falls Hike
Saturday, September 23 at 10:30 am
This beautiful hike takes you by Sempervirens Falls, Ohlone grinding rocks, the birthplace of Big Basin and more! Join Docent Hal Anjo on this 4-mile, 3-hour hike. Bring water and snacks. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Snakes Alive!
Saturday, September 23 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 Old Lodge, across the street from the Nature Lodge/Museum, meet Docent Diane Shaw and hear stories about the fascinating world of snakes. Stop by anytime to meet the snake and talk to Diane.

Family Discovery Walk
Saturday, September 23 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.

Meteor Trail Hike
Monday, September 25 at 10:30 am
Join Docent Hal Anjo on a fascinating, varied hike—you see 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.

FOUNDERS’ DAY SPECIAL EVENT
Saturday, September 30
Honor the Visionaries, Valued Workers and Visitors that shaped the character of Big Basin over the past 115 years. Revel in the beauty of the majestic old growth redwoods that inspired the movement to Save the Trees! Celebrate our wild heritage with a melodrama, a timeline tree, hikes and games for kids.

Timeline Tree: Changing Times among the Ageless Giants
9 am-5 pm (all day, walk by anytime)
Come walk along a downed 100-foot redwood tree and read about the stories of change in the forest where time appears to stop. The timeline describes events in words and pictures of Big Basin over the last century…and more. Some were grand occasions, others mundane details…together, the stops along this path tell a fascinating story of the oldest state park in California. The timeline is along the Redwood Loop Trail, across from Park Headquarters.

Outlook from Mt. McAbee
10 am
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.

Redwood Loop Walk
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.

Big Basin Melodrama!
1 pm
Celebrate Big Basin's history! Watch a strolling play into the past on this easy, family friendly redwood loop trail and meet colorful characters from Big Basin's past. Listen to the stories of a pioneering homesteader, an early conservationist, the first female ranger at Big Basin and more! This walk is a half-mile, 1.5-hour and is wheelchair and stroller friendly. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Special Junior Rangers Program: Old-Fashioned Children’s Games
3-4 pm
Step back in time and play some old-fashioned children's games. This one-hour program is designed for kids ages 7-12. Sorry parents, this program is for kids only! Please register your child at the Nature Lodge Museum 15 minutes before the program begins. Please be sure your child is dressed for active play in the outdoors.

Special Big Basin Nature Club Program: Old-Fashioned Children’s Games
4:30-5 pm
This fun program is designed 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.

 

OCTOBER ACTIVITIES

SPECIAL EVENT: “THE MISSING ARM”
Saturday, October 21 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 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. Register at Park Headquarters.

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.

The Road Less Traveled—A Dog-Friendly Walk
Sunday, October 1 at 9:30 am
AND Sunday, October 22 at 9:30 am
AND Sunday, October 29 at 9:30 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 Docent Diane Shaw. Dogs not required, but welcome! Bring water and meet at Park Headquarters.

Coffee Talk and Crafts
Saturday, October 7 from 9-noon
AND Saturday, October 21 from 9:30-12:30
AND Sunday, October 22 from 9:30-12:30
AND Saturday, October 28 from 9:30-12:30
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 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!

A Walk in the Past
Saturday, October 7 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.

Meteor Trail Hike
Saturday, October 7 at 10:30 am
AND Friday, October 13 at 10:00 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.

Felling the Giants (Logging Demonstration!)
Saturday, October 7 at 11:30 am
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! You get to use some tools too! Rain cancels. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Sempervirens Falls Hike
Sunday, October 8 at 10:30 am
This beautiful hike takes you by Sempervirens Falls, old-growth redwoods, Ohlone grinding rocks, the birthplace of Big Basin and more! Join Docent Hal Anjo on this 4-mile, 3-hour hike. Bring water and snacks. Meet at Park Headquarters.

Volunteer with the Trail Crew
Saturday, October 14 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.

Spooky or Not Spooky?
Saturday, October 14 at 11:30 am
AND Saturday, October 28 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.

Berry Creek Falls Hike
Sunday, October 15 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.

Outlook from Mt. McAbee
Sunday, October 15 at 10:30 am
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.

Hidden Gems of Big Basin: Wildflowers and Other Plants Hike
Saturday, October 21 at 10 am
There are many less-famous yet still beautiful plants in the redwood forest. Join Docents Kathy Willott and Glenn Joy on this 4-mile, 3-4-hour hike and meet some hidden gems of Big Basin! Bring water and lunch. Meet at Park Headquarters.

SPECIAL EVENT: “THE MISSING ARM”
Saturday, October 21 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 28 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.

California State Parks Backpacking

Please click here for more information.






 

Annual Events

Romance in the Redwoods
Sunday February 12, 2017 at 11:30 am
On this easy 2 hour walk you will 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.

Rancho del Oso – Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Salamander Saturday
Saturday March 4, 2017 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. Live amphibians will be available for viewing. Ranger led salamander hike will start at 3 pm on the mile long Marsh Trail. This free event is appropriate for all ages. The Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz, at 3600 Highway 1 in Davenport. Rancho del Oso is the coastal portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and is not accessible by vehicle from Big Basin Headquarters off of Highway 236. For more information, please call (831) 427-2288, or email parksRDOPIS@parks.ca.gov.

Rancho del Oso – Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Wildflower Weekend
Saturday, April 22, 2017 from Noon to 4 pm
Sunday, April 23, 2017 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 coastal portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The assortment of flower shapes, sizes, colors and forms are a delight to the senses. This free event is appropriate for all ages. The Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz, at 3600 Highway 1 in Davenport. Rancho del Oso is the coastal portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and is not accessible by vehicle from Big Basin Headquarters off of Highway 236. For more information, please call (831) 427-2288, or email parksRDOPIS@parks.ca.gov.

Mother’s Day Walk: Women of Big Basin
Sunday May 14, 2017 at 1 pm
Celebrate Mother’s Day in the park by honoring the spirited women who lived in, worked in and fought for Big 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 0.5 mile, 1 hour guided walk. Meet at Park Headquarters. This walk is wheelchair and stroller accessible.

The Men of Big Basin—A Father’s Day Special Event
Sunday June 18, 2017 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 will 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.

Fourth of July Weekend Celebration and Talent Show!
Saturday July 1, 2017 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 would like to share, sign up at headquarters in advance. All 3-5 minute presentations should be appropriate for all ages. Fire lighting and marshmallows (we provide the sticks and marshmallows!) at 7 pm; program begins at 7:30 pm.

Tales of the Basin—A Storytelling Weekend Event
July 28 to 30, 2017, 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.

Rancho del Oso – Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Grizzly Bear Festival
Saturday September 2, 2017 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! This free event is appropriate for all ages. Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center is located 17 miles north of Santa Cruz, at 3600 Highway 1 in Davenport. Rancho del Oso is the coastal portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and is not accessible by vehicle from Big Basin Headquarters off of Highway 236. For more information, please call (831) 427-2288, or email parksRDOPIS@parks.ca.gov.

Big Basin Founders’ Day and Redwood Jubilee
Saturday September 30, 2017 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! 

The Missing Arm
Saturday October 21, 2017; Registration begins at 6:30 pm
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 pm. 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 pm).