Explore the most popular river 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.

backpacking
13 days 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.

on Sequoia Trail

19 days ago

Nice trees. Bring along a map as the trail options are many. No cell coverage on the trail (which is a good thing!)

hiking
1 month ago

Started at HQ. easy walk to the Sempervirens Falls. From there we took the Sequoia Trail up the hill and across the 236 to skyline to sea. That was much prettier

hiking
2 months ago

Large portion of the trail runs alongside the road which takes the serenity out of the hike whenever a car drives by. The second half after passing Shadowbrook trail was much better with road noise. Overall the hike was pleasant, and relaxing. Small detour to see the falls. I would rate this as an easy hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail to spend time on :)

walking
2 months ago

Absolutely beautiful, but then again so is almost all of Big Basin. It's a nice walk and the trees are a sight in themselves. There isn't anything especially striking throughout the path so not worth investing as a main event in your trip. However, for those only looking for an easy 30-45 min walk among some friendly giants, this path is absolutely for you.

hiking
3 months ago

Really Nice hike - as always long and winding road to get there. Plenty of parking if you get there early (8am). Didn't see anyone the Skyline to the Sea trail & very peaceful. I went past meteor to add some miles. Middle ridge was a little disappointing - little busier and not much to see. Trail in good condition

trail running
3 months ago

Beautiful shady trail with great views of redwoods

on Sequoia Trail

hiking
3 months ago

Nice easy trail with mellow elevation change. It took us 3 hours at a stroll. The waterfall halfway through is a nice snack break with a view. Highly recommended as an intro trail to Big Basin.

hiking
3 months ago

Not too steep, tranquil, narrow road, connected to nice Middle Ridge Road

hiking
3 months ago

Sequoia Trail, Northern Escape Road, Redwood Trail totalling 6 miles. Trail map and signage could be better. Otherwise, we were awed to be among such beauty. Recommend for 7 and up.

hiking
3 months ago

Easy to follow the trail with visible signs. The complete loop is more about 4.5 miles.

3 months ago

Nice easy trail

Fun trail with steep incline in forest of red woods. The entire trail is shaded

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.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful redwood trees and groves throughout the trail. Very easy except for one small section where elevation gains and gets your heart pumping (assuming you start at the designated trail head). Waterfall was quite small. Saw one giant redwood tree which was fantastic. We hiked just before sunset so it was quite cool and fully shaded.

Great trail with waterfall point but alot if trail follows nearby campsite roads

hiking
6 months ago

Absolutely beautiful hike. Definitely recommend taking Dool to Middle Ridge and coming back down the Meteor Trail. The way down is incredibly nice. Lots of banana slugs!

walking
6 months ago

The trail is clearly marked, it has 2-3 more difficult areas but overall it is an easy train.

Seriously the best trail I have ever been to. Took Skyline-to-Sea, Dool, Middle Ridge (couldn't find the ocean summit), Meteor trail, then went up to Slippery Rock, down to Sempervirens falls, then took the Sequoia trail back to the parking lot. A hike to remember!

hiking
6 months ago

Nice hike, but I would not consider this easy. We were told that it would be flat and good for kids, but it is decidedly not flat and far too long for our 3.5-year-old to walk on his own. Sure, there are flat stretches, but mostly it is up and down (not too strenuous) and lots of roots to walk over. The first half runs along a road, which, although not heavily trafficked, was kind of a disappointment and didn't feel secluded. The second half runs away from the road, which is better. Bottom line: If you have little kids, I would avoid this trail. Otherwise, it should be ok for most skill levels (except the one major uphill portion - see below). Here are some pros and cons overall:

PROS:
--Beautiful old growth trees
--Mostly shaded, so nice and cool; back half gets a little sun exposure
--Nice waterfall halfway (we were there in Oct, so it was at a low point)
--Totally doable for most adult skill levels

CONS:
--First half runs along a road. It's not heavily trafficked, but it gives a sense of not being very secluded.
--Not flat, as advertised. NOT suitable for young (under 5) kids. Just too long.
--There is a MAJOR uphill climb about halfway through, where the trail forces you to walk up a steep rock face to join up with the rest of the trail. With a toddler in tow and a baby in a backpack, it was quite strenuous. The trail evens out again once you're up there.

hiking
6 months ago

Nice trail, specially if you start on the right side.

hiking
6 months ago

Easy hike perfect for kids.

It's a good hiking trail. Those who love the forest will appreciate and enjoy it beauty, warmth and appeals. The map issued by the park is relatively useless but trail signs are more helpful is directions. I enjoyed my hike there...

Took Shadowbrook trail after Sequoia trail > Sempervirens falls. Much prettier than Sequoia trail as you're not alongside a road the whole time. Did get a bit turned around at the campsites but overall an easyish trek.

7 months ago

Easy hike to Sempervirens falls however the trail is alongside the road so not too secluded. We took Shadowbrook trail to loop back.

The trees are beautiful and the waterfall is well worth the hike. However, I would not consider this trail easy. If you plan on doing the entire Sequoia Loop be prepared for elevation change, many hills and follow your map carefully as there are missing landmarks on the trail.

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