Explore the most popular camping trails in Big Basin Redwoods State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Very quiet for a weekend. Not a lot of people on this trail. Pretty flat all the way through. Falls were very pretty, inaccessible due to restoration but you can still get pretty close. Would totally do the trail again.

The fall is not rushing but a nice even flow right now.

hiking
1 month ago

I loved this hike! Beautiful views and great shade. I came back on Middle Ridge Rd. instead of coming back on Hollow Tree Trail and really enjoyed it.

Beautiful hike in the Redwoods. Pro’s: a lot of secluded moments amongst the gigantic trees. Cons: the last two miles were on a trail right next to the main road into the campground, where you go through a lot of campsites. Would definitely do the hike again - note that the first two miles are pretty straight up a hill. There is quite a bit of steep downhill miles 3 and 4. The whole hike is super well marked. Also well shaded. Don’t really need sunscreen but would recommend mosquito repellent!

This trail is a little boring, and the water fall is too small.

Great redwoods hike. Not too difficult, plenty of paid parking. The drive to the parking lot is narrow and windy but would definitely do again.

hiking
2 months ago

I just finished a modified version of this hike starting at Castle Rock and staying at Lane trail camp. I agree with the others who have commented on this. You need to carry at least 2.5L of water. If you are taking my route, which is ~18 miles each way, then you should carry up to 3L when you fill up at Waterman Gap as there is no water source at Lane Creek camp. (I had to go an extra 4 miles round trip to get water once I camped there). Overall it was just a long hike. Some parts were really nice and others not. If you want to do a high mileage hike I'd would suggest doing Berry Creek falls trail 2x.

hiking
3 months ago

Did this loop as a day hike ;)

There’s currently a minor detour to Sunset that is very well signposted. Does not significantly change the walk. I set off around 16:30 on a day when it was 30C+ in the Bay and it was very cool. Finished up the whole loop in a little over 3h at a steady pace uphill and jogging on the downhill sections. Anti-clockwise is ideal for a later start in the day as you get the uphill out of the way early (in shade) and top out into some afternoon sun before gently descending down Johansen Road which is a wide road and also fairly well shaded with occasional breaks for sun. Where Johansen joins Creek Road there’s an absolutely stunning tree house very visible from the road. Shortly you descend to Berry Creek Falls at the lowest point on the trail which threads around some beautiful old growth redwoods by a stream for a few km before a fairly steady uphill back to the Visitor Center. Highly recommended with very little to say against it. A few more exposed sections would be nice but the terrain is already varied.

hiking
3 months ago

Great loop if you fancy a challenge! Anti-clockwise seemed the best option - the early section is exposed so you get to do it in the cool morning sun if you go early.

Three stars for me as I’m not sure that I would do it again, except to test my fitness or as training in future. The anti-clockwise section from the start to Slate Creek was perhaps most enjoyable due to the varied terrain. A few km after Page Mill Site the terrain and scenery tends to become quite monotonous (but still beautiful!) however the final section from Big Basin back to the start fully tracks the road which takes some of the fun out of it.

In July there was water at Slate Creek, Iverson Creek, Fall Creek & Boulder Creek. Starting with 2.5l I comfortably made it to Boulder Creek before refilling with 2l but should have refilled 2.5l.

hiking
3 months ago

I’ve done this hike twice now, once in every direction, in the dead of the summer when the temps are high. About 12.5mi and 2,000ft of elevation. I wouldn’t call it difficult per se, it’s just long. Just under 5.5hrs at a moderate pace with two short stops. What I really enjoy about this loop, is that the majority of it is in the shade with beautiful forest views. Four stars because there really aren’t any breathtaking views from the top, though they are definitely nice - of more forest, as far as the eye can see.

Would gladly go again.

backpacking
3 months ago

I spent two days, and extended the loop further south. With a backcountry permit, parking is required at Jay camp, just a short walk to headquarters. I was able to enjoy the redwood loop both at the beginning and the end of the trip. Day one went up skyline, then hollow tree trail, circled around to Sunset Camp. Great location to set up the tent then enjoy all the remaining daylight at the falls along west berry creek. Then day two takes you by the falls again, soaking in the morning sunlight of the trails. I continued to Berry Creek falls and stopped for breakfast. Had the place to myself on Tuesday morning. Plan to spend all the time you can along this trail, every step is time worthwhile. I then continued south on skyline, took McCrary Ridge up, then Howard King to bring me back. McCrary is a 1,700 ft climb in 3 miles, and exposed for a good portion, be prepared. Ocean views along most of the trail. In all, I extended the total to about 20 miles with about 4,000 ft. Great alternative to the full Skyline to Sea if you are limited on time or don’t want to coordinate a ride.

Great little hike with my kiddos this afternoon. Made it to the falls and back in about 2.5 hours. It can be done faster, we just stop a lot and explore and take photos along the way.

hiking
4 months ago

Good trail to do with kids. We got to the falls, took Shadowtrail back down right into our camp, so maybe 4 miles total. Very do-able if you’ve got little ones.

Nice easy trail - as evidenced by many families there on the weekends. Takes about an hour and change to make it up to the waterfall from the HQ. The waterfall isn’t that great but a nice marker to hike up to and take a light breather. It’s a nice day hike to try out in the Santa Clara / Cruz area.

I’d rate it around 3.5 but will round up for family-friendliness and decent parking availability for all.

Very nice trail.
We made it clockwise and wasn't bad.
It is more like 7.5 miles not 6.1 but we didn't really care.
Combination of dense shade with sunny portions on top, sequoia, just bushes, something for everyone.
No ocean view as it was lots of fog over it.

backpacking
5 months ago

I definitely recommend this loop! Only reason it’s not 5 stars is because about 25% of it is along roads, so you’re hearing cars instead of the wild.

I did this loop over 2 days, camped at Waterman. I started from Portola National Forrest, which by the time you get on the loop trail probably adds at least a mile. Totally I’d say was 32 miles and I perfect split 16 and 16 each day from where I started. Note: where this map says start/finish, you can’t park! So unless you’re being dropped off you can only park at one of the 3 national forest.

Portola was a good place to start, less busy and easy to park at than the others. I hoped on the trail and headed towards Slate creek. This is a nicely little couple mile section to get the legs warm. After you pass the slate creek campground, you take on the steepest terrain this whole loops overs. It’s a good hour of continuous steep terrain, great to tackle your first day. After that is rolling hills and a since change of scenery from tree covered areas, to open grass pastures and hilltop views almost to the ocean. The last couple miles to Waterman you’re on the Skyline to Sea trail along the road. At one point you get into some rocky areas with some incredible views.

Waterman Camp: permits required, but didn’t run into any rangers along the way, and there was plenty of room at the site. Running water, which was the only place I refilled. There’s a stream by Slate creek, but not much else for water from Portola to Waterman. Only downside is you can hear the road from the campsite, and those windy roads attract lots of people racing their cars and bikes.

Day 2: I was pretty sore from the 16 miles on day one. This was by far my longest hike yet (prepping for Whitney). Again, another day of rolling hills and great change of scenery. You get into more of the redwoods in this section. I woke up to rain that morning and hiked the first two hours in a nice steady mist, but there was a majestic layer of fog throughout the forest. From Waterman back to Portola where my car was, I think I saw 2 people on the trail and both were within the first 30 minutes of leaving camp. This is what I came for! You’re still along roads, a lot of this section is along the road going into Big Basin, but it’s beautiful none the less.

I was pretty beat up towards the end, I probably should have just used my running shoes, but this was an awesome 2 day hike. The elevation gain throughout is pretty substantial and the miles will test you. I ran the SF marathon a couple years ago (sub 4 hours)... and I think this loop was tougher for me both mentally and physically! I did this loop for the workout and that’s what I got! What’s nice is all 3 campgrounds are spaced out almost exactly by 10 miles, so it’d be easy to split this up over 3 days as well.

Trail too close to the road. You spend a lot of time watching your footing due to all the roots, etc., so be sure to stop once in a while to look up at the fabulous trees! Saw several gray squirrels and a deer VERY close to the parking lot!

Go early by 8 or 9 to have the trail to yourself. We hiked all the way to the waterfall without seeing anyone and had the view on the lookout point to ourselves. Started to see a lot more hikers on our way back.

Yes it runs next to a road. But as with most trails in a very busy Big Basin Park? If you want less people and/or cars? Early bird gets the worm :). I made this short little hike on a Monday morning at 8 am and I got to enjoy the falls and only saw one other person in the hour I was there. I was already back to my car at 11 am and planning my next trail as I noticed the crowds and car noise finally beginning to build

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail to spend time on :)

hiking
8 months ago

Probably closer to a 3.5. Nice hike for kids or someone just starting out hiking. Depends when you hit the trail. Going out very busy & some car noise from the road that runs next to the trail. Coming back however was much quieter so you could enjoy the Redwoods. Lots of places to stop and grab lunch

backpacking
9 months ago

I did my first solo backpacking trip on this trail. The ascent to camp was what I’d consider moderate, starting on Skyline and gaining more elevation on Lane Hollow. My FitBit logged 252 flights climbed, but it was very much dispersed. I also logged 7.6 miles to camp, and 20 overall on this loop making it much longer than this says!

The descent was what I’d consider easy with no extended periods of incline or decline. It was very easy imon my knees and ankles with a pack.

Camp was lovely with six or so sites, a pit toilet, and a bear container for food. I didn’t filter water, but there are opportunities to do so.

The views are definitely on the way down on the Basin trail. The hike up and the campground are in pretty thick forest. I hiked for approximately seven hours with a 35 pound pack, just to give an idea of your timeline, and I am in fine hiking shape but otherwise, have had a very lazy season. I arrived at camp very early because I anticipated a more difficult hike.

Meteor trail is amazing! Thick damp forest with banana slugs and wild mushrooms.

The Middle Ridge is a fire road but the forest is gorgeous and it was fun to climb out of the Redwoods into a completely different ecosystem on the ridge. Geologists will enjoy the ridge for it’s unusual rock formations.

Decent one

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