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.

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
19 days 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
1 month 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
3 months ago

Great trail to spend time on :)

hiking
3 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
5 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

backpacking
7 months ago

Went to hike this trail but unfortunately I didn't bring enough water thanks to the record heat at the end of October.
The 4 1/2 miles in before I had to turn was beautiful though.
I'll get you next time Lane Trail Camp!!!

backpacking
9 months ago

Great viewpoints during skyline to the sea trail. Camped at lane campground. Had to pack up early in the morning due to mosquitoes. Would recommend this hike

paths were well marked and the rangers were knowledgeable

Most of the trail runs alongside the toad. I agree with other reviewers that you may want to drive up to the falls(which are small) and hike another trail. I was disappointed because the trail does not have that "away in nature" feel.

It was an easy to moderate hike. It wasn't stroller friendly (FYI for parents w young kids). The waterfall was a bit lack luster as well as the scenery throughout the trail. However, it was a good work out and kids did enjoy running up through the hills.

hiking
10 months ago

Trees were misting, sunlight was coming through them, bannana slugs a plenty. This place is incredible.

hiking
11 months ago

Calm trail through the woods. The trail is easy and the road is right next to it.

hiking
11 months ago

easy hike, but you can also just walk on the side of the road to reach Sempervirens Falls

Not the best hike. The trail followed the road to some of the campgrounds around the area. Some elevation but it wasn't bad. The view of the falls made it worth it in the end. Very pretty and suprisingly a lot of water falling over given it is summer.

We followed the road most of the way back for a flatter surface since we had some older individuals with us and cut back onto the trail the last .75 mile or so.

Overall easy for medium experienced hikers and relatively short.

Very good hike, but following the map provided by park is real horrible rather just follow the trail signs.

This trail does NOT allow dogs. We found this out when we arrived with dogs and were told dogs are only allowed on the paved service road. So we didn't get to hike the trail at all. I would call first and ask the park rangers if you plan to bring along your dogs on any trail.

hiking
Sunday, March 26, 2017

Very nice trail. It was very easy and the waterfall was very lovely!!

This was a great hike that took my girlfriend and I about 3.5 hours. It was recommended to us by one of the guides at the main station. It has three sections of old growth Redwoods: one along the Dool Trail, one along the Meteor Trail and one along the Sequoia Trail. It is mostly shade covered except for a portion of the Middle Ridge Road but it's not much at all. The "sea view" is mediocre but you can see the canopy from the highest point of the hike which is cool.

hiking
Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Great way to see a wide variety of the open spaces and trails in the peninsula. This trail takes you through five different parks, and it's nice that it's a loop so you don't have to shuttle cars around.

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