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

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backpacking
2 days ago

Did it in one day, starting at Hwy 9 and 35 , finishing at Waddell Beach. Its around 29-30miles, not 25. Took us 9.5hrs excluding 2 breaks to eat and tape up our feet. Would have done it in 2 days but Big Basin is reservation only and books 2 months in advance so book early.

Per person you need 3 liters of water to do this trail.
For parking, you can do the parking at the start of the trail. I got lucky twice.
You can also park on Vineyard Avenue, this adds up a little bit more of a hike but beats going to Ohlone.

If you take Peak Meadow trail it is nicer, the trail is less wide and less people. In some spots there is shade. Basically where you see the river in the map is where you have shade and can stop for a little picnic or a break.

I usually do this trail all the way to mission peak.
Then if I am tired of lazy I do the hidden valley back
if I am in no hurry I take the peak meadow route back.
Hidden valley as others mention has no shade but is faster.

There is a stretch at horses heaven trail which is very steep, this is easy going up but is tricky going down. If you are not comfortable with steep downhill. I'd bring a walking stick or poles
and make sure your shoes can catch the track
one time I brought flat-ish shoes and that was a disaster.

Mahalo

Parking at Stanford lot was not an option even at 7:30 in the morning. We used the alternate lot at Ohlone college. The hike got about 2.5 miles longer. Hardly any shade. No view either until got to the summit.
By the way, It was very crowded. Near the summit the trail was narrow you’ll have to maneuver for people resting as well as people on the opposite direction.

Completed the trail in 2 nights & 3 days. 1st day hiking was harder than the other 2 days. Basin was crowded.

Tip: A couple people thought to break in their shoes on this trail = lots of blisters. Also, bring poles if you have bad knees = lots of downhill.

be patience. the view from the top is rewarding. but on the way up from horse tsil is dry and nothing so be prepared. make sure to bring water cuz there is limited shade. it's a nice training trail.

the first one mile is mostly exposed so are first two miles of the return loop. the hard parts are all in the first half of loop. once you reach the top power transmission tower then it's all downhill and you can enjoy the view. if you have enough strength then it's worthy to continue to black mountain tower for 4 more miles round trip.

backpacking
14 days ago

Started at Castle Rock HQ, ended at Waddell Beach and loved every minute of this hike. Camped at Waterman Gap and then Jay camp and both were in good shape and nice. Thanks to our awesome state park rangers, staff and volunteers! Definitely would do this again.

trail running
16 days ago

Super fun. Ran skyline to sea marathon with Pacific Coast Trail Runs. Very fun event. Highly recommend.

Scenery: 2
Views: 4
Difficulty: 4
Crowds: 5
Shade: 1

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

hiking
17 days ago

Scenery: 3
Views: 4
Difficulty: 4
Crowds: 2
Shade: 2

My 1-5 Rating Scale Comparisons for above:
5 for Scenery; Mcway Falls Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP
4.5 for Scenery: Berry Creek Falls Big Basin State Park
4 for Scenery: Steep Ravine Trail

5 for Views: Nimitz Trail Tilden Park
5 for Views: Ridge Trail San Bruno Mtn Park
4.5 for Views Montara Mtn Summit San Pedro County Park
4 for Views Rancho Canada Del Oro Bald Peaks trail

5 for Difficulty: Junipero Serra Peak
4 for Difficulty: Mount El Sombroso Loop Trail

hiking
17 days ago

The views are sweeping, not unlike Mission Peak, minus the crowds. The trail is meandering and goes up and down, but is almost fully exposed. The path is a mix between dirt road and hiking trails. There's a good amount of breeze to keep you cool, and both hand gliders and paragliders sailing in the sky. Entry into the park is $6. Worth it for the solitude.

Definitely a hard trail. All uphill with little shade. Took about an hour and fifteen minutes (with plenty of rests) to the peak. The views of the bay are amazing the whole way up.

Easy trail, great for trail running.

Go super early to beat the heat and parking! Bring a decent amount of water to stay hydrated on your way up!

♥️♥️♥️

Windy and cooler up at the top, great photo op

It is a decent trail and is easy to moderate. I started at 3 PM and hardly found anyone on track as compared to morning counterpart. Initial trail has buzz of electrical lines which is distracting to an extent but the ascent keeps you occupied. There isn't any scenic view apart from the valley view which points where the concrete jungle is. Path is well marked and in between you get patches of trees which is a real solace in hot sun. After first 4 miles with the elevation gain of 1.7k feet, it is normal decent back to start point.

Very good hike to prepare you for any hard hikes you have planned!!
I’ve used it to prepare me for Half Dome and Sedona.
I enjoy the hike at least once a week in the Horse Heaven Trail, it is less congested with people.

Too crowded

Accept it as your first challenge

all time favorite ..good incline and fully shaded .

Did 11 miles out and back since I couldn’t get a ride home from the beach. Downhill helps but there are some climbs for sure. Take plenty of water.

It is a great place for trail running, could be crowded mornings and evenings

This was really hard. The views of the bay were pretty cool, but the views while hiking were kind of dull. Just a lot of dry grass and cows. The trail is well maintained. Watch out for cow dung and bees!

on Monument Peak Trail

1 month ago

Hard hike. I enjoyed watching the hang gliders. A great view! The sun was a bit rough and the flies were bad.

trail running
1 month ago

Enjoyable walk. The ascent is a straightforward grind but the descents were quite steep. Some uneven ground making the descent fairly technical. Great views both sides of Monument Peak and great light in the evening.
Watch out for ticks.
Observed: galloping horses, cows, skunk, coyote

Great trail with moderate inclines and declines, great for the beginner!

Took my Dalmatian and had a good long stroll through history.

Very easy and marked well.

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