Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail

HARD 42 reviews
#2 of 3 trails in

Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail is a 26.9 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Los Gatos, CA that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

26.9 miles 4358 feet Point to Point

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

beach

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

old growth

no dogs

Two of the Bay Area's most popular hiking locales -- Castle Rock and Big Basin Redwoods state parks -- promise one of the region's top backpacking experiences. A three-day, 25-plus-mile hike through these parks from the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Pacific Ocean shows off everything to see in the South Bay woods, from the redwoods towering above to the banana slugs creeping along the forest floor. A popular version of this hike begins at the eastern terminus of the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, at the intersection of Highways 9 and 35 (Saratoga Gap). The first third of Skyline-to-the-Sea tracks along a highway and is otherwise unremarkable, so a superior option is to start from the Castle Rock State Park headquarters a few miles south of the gap on Highway 35. Castle Rock offers wonderful vistas of the mountains stretching to the sea, and a safe place to park your car. The second and third days of the hike traverse ancient redwoods in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, passing the impressive Berry Creek Falls and ending at the edge of America at Waddell Beach on the Pacific Ocean.

18 days ago

Very chill, downhill hike. Castle rock to waterman gap. WG to Jay Camp. Jay Camp to Waddell. Shady so your solar chargers won't get much juice. Still a great "quick 3day hike. I've also hiked it in 2 days. 3 days slows you to take your time.

trail running
3 months ago

Started at the intersection with highway 9 under the fog. Ended up at Rancho del Oso 28km away. Mostly downhills and under the shade of the trees. Very nice run.

3 months ago

What a beautiful and amazing trail.

3 months ago

My 11-year-old son and I did this trail in a July and it was really awesome. We actually picked up the trail inside a big basin state park near the headquarters. The first day we did a 5 mile day-hike and then stayed the night at Jay camp primitive campsite.

The next day we set out for the Sunset Trail Camp via Berry Creek Falls, Silver Falls, the cascades, and golden Falls. What an awesome trip that was. The first few Miles were mostly uphill but then there was a nice downhill stretch before reaching Berry Creek Falls. Then a up again the the Sunset camp.

The last day we headed down to Waddell beach and took the hikers-only trail near the end. It was really great.

Overall this trail is ranked as Hard, but my son handled it well with sizable pack. Our route was just at 20 miles total. The scenery was beautiful and the trails were well marked. For us, this was a great trip... Off the grid but close enough to civilization that I felt pretty safe with the kiddo out there. It was a very memorable experience and we both LOVED it.

4 months ago

so lovely, I need my passport

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike, really scenic
Paths where great and the tree cover excellent to save being baked by the sun

backpacking
5 months ago

The part of the trail that follows hwy 9 is quite dismal; hiking for several miles right next to a busy road buzzing with Harley Davidson enthusiasts is not exactly my idea of serenity. However every other part of the trail is absolutely stunning and beautiful. Would recommend.

It's possible to sneak into some of the closed campsites in Big Basin if you can't get a reservation for one of the backpacker's campgrounds there. Just set up shop after dark and leave early in order to not be spotted by the Rangers. I have never done this and I am not recommending it to anyone. ;)

hiking
5 months ago

Gorgeous hike along the creek when water is present (Spring is great)

6 months ago

Fantastic. I can't wait to go again!

hiking
6 months ago

Awesome!

6 months ago

backpacking
6 months ago

This is a gorgeous hike about 65% of the time. the other 35% involves walking along the highway, which I found less than ideal. The second leg, stretching from Big Basin to Wadell Beach, wanders through the drainage basin with gorgeous streams and the famous Berry Creek Falls. The second leg easily deserves 5 stars but the first leg can be a drag after the first few miles.

hiking
7 months ago

8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful after a nice rain

11 months ago

Very underwhelming. You're in the trees 99% of the time. There are only a few views during the entire 3 day hike and none of them are very pretty. The trail ends at a parking lot a mile uphill of the ocean which is also the first and only time you see the ocean the entire time. The only reason to do this trail is if you live in the South Bay and you need to train for something else or want to test out gear. It is not worth doing for the hike for its own sake.

hiking
1 year ago

Great if your into it

mountain biking
1 year ago

This trail is also good for mountain biking - from the sea to Berry Creek - about 7 miles Rt. At the creek you can leave your bike and hike on up to the falls if you wish. Very pretty!

1 year ago

This has been the most beautiful hike I have been on so far. For me it was a real workout. My kids did the hike just fine.

hiking
1 year ago

Did this hike in one day but from the Castle Rock State Park parking lot which adds another 3 miles to a total of 28 miles but also adds some wonderful views so I highly recommend starting there. It took about 11 hours with breaks included. Took one wrong turn (missed the Travertine Springs Trail turnoff) that cost us 40 minutes so be sure to read all trail markers carefully and start early. Wonderful, hard, and rewarding hike.