Superlatives define Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. California’s oldest state park - covering more than 18,000 acres from sea level to more than 2,000 feet elevation - launched the state park movement in California. Big Basin’s biggest attraction – literally – is a rare stand of awe-inspiring, ancient coast redwoods that are among the tallest and oldest trees on Earth. Some measure close to 300 feet tall and 50 feet in circumference. Scientists estimate that these trees may range from 1,000 to 2,000 years old. Spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, lush waterfalls, more than 80 miles of roads and trails, and a fascinating natural and cultural history have beckoned millions of visitors to Big Basin since 1902. Each season offers a different park experience. The intense greens of mosses contrast with the subtle colors of lichens and mushrooms during wet winters. Rushing waterfalls and wildflowers abound in the cool, foggy spring. Find a shady getaway from inland heat in summertime. Fall offers pleasant weather without storms, pests or extreme heat. The park is about 65 miles south of San Francisco. From Santa Cruz travel approx 25 miles northwest via Highways 9 and 236 to reach Park Headquarters. Park Headquarters is 9 miles north of the town of Boulder Creek on State Hwy 236. All roads into Big Basin are curvy. The Rancho Del Oso coastal unit of Big Basin is accessible on State Route 1, about 20 miles north of the city of Santa Cruz. The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park.
True Santa Cruz Mountains classic! Exemplary temperate rainforest setting; Redwoods, ferns, and ample climbs with clear/flowing descents. Gorgeous waterfall views and stream crossings - not big water, but loud crashing whitewater drainages during winter and spring months.
Great Hike! First off, the trail is 13.9 miles from the parking lot and back from the loop. It is not 9 miles so plan accordingly. It is more the length of the hike than the hike itself that is strenuous. Decided to do the hike with me lady few days after the storm and got more of an adventure than expected. As we were buying our parking pass, the lady at the front desk highlighted the berry creek loop trail on the map. She also showed us a separate map of where the trails were covered by down trees, due to the storm. The trail itself was well labeled at the beginning and end of the loop but the center of the trails could use more pegs to let us know we are in the right direction. The falls were amazing a full of water, many photo opportunities. Also it will require you to climb up and over trees and stray off trails slightly due to fallen brush and trees. At one point the trail completely disappeared and if it were not for other hikers coming from the opposite directionwe would not know where the trail picked up again. In addition, some parts of the trail were extremely muddy so prepare to get muddy. Otherwise amazing hike.
Went Sunday 1/15 3 days after a heavy rainstorm. Trail was a bit muddy but not overly so. Some downed trees that needed to be climbed over. The trees are slippery so care is needed. Trail is not overly hard but does take 4-5 hours to complete with time for pictures. Most of the day is in the gulch within redwoods. The main fall is pretty but there isn't really a great viewpoint for DSLR photo taking. The brush and small trees are obstructing the falls slightly. There is a platform up close but not really the shot I wanted. It was very busy out there. Lots of people everywhere that had limited sense that other people are around them. A bit "loud" and hard to pass people on the trail. If you can come through the week. Tip: In the winter they close the parking kiosk. Go directly to the park HQ to get your parking permit.