Explore Summer Break 17' - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Summer Break 17' Map
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Nice views, fun to explore and wasnt too hard of a hike.

Beautiful views

It was okay, not my favorite.

AMAZING VIEWS!!! The hike had its moments with a few hills , but for the most part the hike was pretty easy. It took about 4 hours to get to the falls and backs . 11 miles

Beautiful woods, friendly trails and lovely waterfalls made for a enjoyable hike on 10+ miles in 5 hours.

If you are new to this park - Poison oaks are abound so cover yourself well. The road in has lots of pot holes so drive accordingly.

backpacking
1 month ago

A great starter backpacking trip, although I recommend having one experienced backpacker in your group. We split this into 3 days and for us it was the perfect amount of time. Beautiful scenery, especially between Big Basin and Waddell Beach, where you feel like you've stepped back in time to the prehistoric days. Hips and feet were a bit sore by the end of the third day. Taking off my boots and putting my feet in the water has never felt so good!

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail to spend time on :)

backpacking
1 month ago

Did this with my husband for our anniversary a year ago. My first official backpacking trip! We took 3 days. Tips for the person picking you up, be sure they know where they are going! A breakdown in communication had us waiting almost 2 hours, there is no cell service at Waddell Beach. I would do it again and split the hike into two sections instead of three. I would also stay an additional night in Big Basin to explore that area more!

Amazing hike! Lots of up and down so you get some elevation gain on your way out and your way back! Ended up being about 18 miles total but definitely worth it!

West Ridge Trail never disappoints. This single track trail is in near perfect condition since the CCC’s recent efforts. The setting is beautiful second and third growth redwood forest interspersed with coastal mixed oak woodland. This park manages to feel moist and full of life even in the driest seasons. Really shady, and moderate incline for the most part. Only one exposed part of the loop toward the last stretch of WRT. I hiked this as a 14 mile loop in 4 and a half hours at a steady pace with few breaks and it felt pretty easy. Such gorgeous views of Monterey Bay and Capitola/Santa Cruz from Sand Point Overook. Watch for ticks and bikers. As with most state parks, I love this one most on the weekday mornings, as that is when it is most quiet. Aptos Fire Road on the return is just as beautiful and well-maintained, but it is just that, a fire road. The sound of running water is a joy to walk to, and there are some cool historical points with info about the logging industry in the area and life in that time.

Can’t wait to hike this again. Dogs ok and most of trail is off leash.

Four of us decided to do the Saratoga Gap to Waddell Beach hike all in one day. In order for us to accomplish it form sunrise to sundown we needed to run a good portion of it. We estimate we ran about 15 miles of it with on and off with breaks of course. We are all active, but none of us are long distance or avid runners. The trail is well marked and soft and moderate for the most part. It was difficult and arjurous trek to do in one day. We took 8 hours total with about 1 to 1.5 hours of breaks. We took a long break at big basin where we grabbed a quick bite at the store, then kept going until we hit the beach at 3:45pm.

I would not recommend hiking this entire trail in 1 day unless you can keep a 3.5 mph speed non stop, otherwise you are looking at a 12-14 hike to complete without running.

To the guy that complained about view and there only being redwood trees. He is right there are only redwood trees, lots of them. The only complaint I have is not of the trail itself ,but of the beach. It was very sandy and I got it all over my feet and inside my shoes way too sandy for my taste.

Enjoy!

Beautiful hike through the redwoods. We did it in a day. The only problem was it was a 30 mile hike not 25 as it is called out here. That meant our timing got messed up. We were supposed to reach the sea by sunset and instead had to hike the last part with flashlights and missed the sunset!

....planning this for the first time. gonna break it into two days from big basin. Just not sure how I am getting up to big basin yet...and back home.

It was an amazing trip. Too my dad and I two days. It's best to have someone drop you off at the beginning and pick you up at the end.

backpacking
2 months ago

So we dove head first into this trail as my first backpacking trip. Going in January was a risk but the weather was perfect. We started at Castle Rock staging area and headed towards Waterman Gap. The views here are epic and the trail was a great challenge. My friend and I were very wore out by the time we made it to Waterman Gap. It was a great day. Waterman Gap was a cool little place and we were glad to see there was a bathroom and water. We had our choice of sites since we were the first ones to arrive. I found a good site with perfectly spaced trees for my hammock. We were bummed you can’t have a fire. Woke up the next morning and headed out toward Jay camp. This was by far the toughest day. The climb out of camp is 3 miles long. Anyone that says this is “all downhill” never did this climb! Once we got to the top of China Grade we only had about 4.7 miles to get to Jay camp. We arrived at park headquarters at 4:15 and the gift shop closed at 4:00 so no goodies for us. We hikes to Jay camp and chose site 6 for the night. Barely found trees that worked with my hammock. We slept good and headed out about 9:00. We were both pretty sore headed into day 3 but this was by far the best day. Leaving headquarters brought us deep into the forest that felt like we were in a different world. We had to take a little detour because part of the trail was closed but the atmosphere made it worth while. Another 10.5 miles to the beach!! All in all it was an epic trip. Most of the people we met thought that we were crazy doing this hike as our first backpacking trip but we made it!!!

Very strenuous but rewarding hike. Note that the loop as plotted above does not include a waterfall (Berry Creek falls) but does get close by (add 2mi total out and back to see the falls as well).

backpacking
3 months ago

What should I say, I very much looked forward to this hike after someone had recommended it to me. And then what do you know, last year's rainy season had pretty much closed off the whole trail and I had to wait another 3 months, until April of 2017, to hike it. The anticipation welled and and April had rounded the corner. I'll just get down to business. I was disappointed. More than an entire third of the hike runs alongside a paved road (with cars!). The first trail camp is conveniently located along a tokyo drifting hot-spot and offers bountiful tire-screeching and engine-revving for the no-sleep enthusiasts. The second "trail" camp (Jay's trail camp) isn't even a flipping trail camp. It's at big Basin HQ and let's just say look forward to the crowds and gift shops to complete your wilderness experience. Anywho Berry Creek Falls was pretty cool...

This is my first longest trail route. It has lot of trails inside you may end up going into some other route ensure you can carry gps trackers. In this trail route you will see golden gate and Pacific Ocean. Good for moderate level hikers to start with hard levels

NOT HARD. Moderate at best. We were expecting a challenging workout, but were disappointed. Never even broke a sweat.

Great hike/run. I enjoyed going first thing in the morning as the sun was burning off the fog.

backpacking
5 months ago

Loved all the scenery, steady slope of trail, cushioned, great weather for mNovember, but the first half of the hike (castle rock to Jay camp) just hugged a road the whole time. My group and I felt like hitchhikers and didn't get the satisfaction that we were hiking deep into the redwoods. Second half was MUCH BETTER (Jay camp to Waddell beach) and would definitely do that section again!

This was great. Very serene hike. There were probably some incredible views on this hike, but I didn’t see them because there was so much fog. I quite enjoyed the fog, though. It made for a very eerie and isolating experience. There was a short time where the fog broke and gave me a glimpse at Sausalito. It was breathtaking.

I saw quail, hawks, ravens, and a ton of little chirpy birds. Some of their calls were really beautiful. There were also lizards, a group of bucks, at least 15 rabbits, and plenty of slugs.

As far as difficulty, the main thing here is that it’s long! I was sweating a lot by the end, but there was never an incline that made me feel like my lungs were on fire. Anyone can do this hike.

I’ll definitely be back, and highly recommend this hike for people with at least 3.5 hours to kill. Don’t be scared off by the “hard” label or the long distance. It’ll hurt, but you can do it!

Great hike, great views. Not a lot of shade on the trail, so bring plenty of water for you and your canine companion.

Great workout, but not the best hike to bring your girlfriend on for her bday - bring lots of water and apologies.

This is a challenging hike, it’s long and it has numerous steep climbs that are each 1-2 miles in length and there is no tree cover. I parked at the suggested trailhead near the roundabout off Conzelman Road and hiked clockwise. My total hike was 12 miles, 4 hours 20 minutes.

First backpacking experience. Only did the roundtrip hike/camp from Castle Rock SP to Waterman Gap.
Downhill to Waterman - pretty much all uphill back to Castle Rock. Good variety in terms of scenery. Took off 1 star because of gunfire and highway noise (although honestly not a big deal). Looking forward to completing the entire Skyline to Sea Trail in the future.

My husband and I did this trail 9/23/15 and went down to the falls. Left the visitor center and 9am and returned at the lot at 7pm. Saw a deer on the way. We were the only ones on the trail till we got closer to the camp site. We had a great time except we wore the wrong shoes!

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