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.

Hiked from Big Basin State Part parking lot to Waddle beach. Nice hike. Google map says 9 miles but it’s 11.1miles. All shaded until the last 0.75 miles.

hiking
10 days ago

go clockwise

Part of Dool Trail is closed off currently. So that adds about a mile or so. It’s closer to 8 miles total. Has a little bit of everything like sun, shade, inclines, & declines. A great day hike.

This was such a great hike! Lots of incline and decline, my hip and legs were definitely feeling the burn. Great views of the waterfalls, you can get you feet wet at the second waterfall and enjoy a snack. Dogs are not allowed on the trail which is a little bit of a bummer but still a nice cool hike!

Sequoia trail with many people heading to fall. Meteor trail is quiet with redwoods. Ocean view summit vista is fairly nice but biting flies.

Beautiful trail. Some open areas with no shade. Lots of bugs. Make sure to go to the ocean overlook toward the end after Meteor trail.

hiking
19 days ago

Not exactly the wilderness experience we were expecting. Even though the trail was lovely, we couldn't get into it because it ran along the road.

hiking
24 days ago

Awesome hike! This was my first time hiking in this area, so the loop gave me a taste of all the different parks. Each one had its own personality. Portola was my favorite as it had this ancient forest smell to it, if that’s even a thing. And you’re rustling along on a bed of leaves throughout the park. I’d love to go back there. I would rate Big Basin 2nd and Castle Rock 3rd based on this hike. To speak to the parking comments, I discovered that there is parking along the road for the trailhead, but it’s dawn to dusk only. So parking is convenient for ppl who are knocking this one out in a day. But if you’re backpacking over 2 or 3 days, then you’ll need to park about 1/2 mile up the road at the lot where 9 & 35 intersect. It looks like you can take Skyline to the Sea from the parking lot to get to the trailhead to start this hike. I took the advice of the other reviewers and did the trail counter clockwise. I get why the original poster mapped it out clockwise because they don’t call it the “sea to skyline” trail, so you’re going with the grain of the foot traffic for that stretch. But this loop isn’t really about that trail. The biggest thing I liked about going counter clockwise is that it was more ideal for my water and sun exposure situation. You want to get the stretch to Slate Creek out of the way early so you’re not getting cooked out in the sun coming back up it in the afternoon. Except for a couple spots in Big Basin you’re going to be shaded by the forest canopy for the rest of the hike. I didn’t even worry about sunscreen for this reason. I pack pretty light, so I brought a full camel back and a throw away drink for the start. The drink I hand carried got me to the Slate Creek campsite, where I was able to dispose of it. Then my camel back lasted me from there to the Waterman Gap campsite at the 22.5 mile mark. There’s drinking water there, but the spigot and basin under it were both swarming with bees. So I put my camel back under it and filled it quickly and was able to avoid getting stung. I started around 6:30 and didn’t see anyone along the trail until I got near the Slate Creek camp site at the 6 mile mark. Then I didn’t see any other hikers for another 11 miles when I got onto the skyline to the sea trail. And even that traffic thinned out long before I got to Waterman Gap as people set out early for that hike too. My phone died with about 4 miles to go, so I wasn’t able to record the whole loop.

hiking
1 month ago

The redwoods are stunning and the trail was well marked/maintained. What I wish we knew before we went is that you MUST park at the information center and all hikes must start from that point. Other starting points for other hikes in this park are reserved for campers only, apparently. Therefore, you are somewhat limited in your trail options. It is the time of year when mosquitoes are out in full force, but they seemed extra prevalent on this hike. It is true that you walk along roads for part of the hike, but they are roads that only lead to campsites, not main roads, so there wasn’t a lot of car traffic to see/hear. Despite all of this, I really did enjoy the trail which I agree is moderate (although on the easier side).

This was a fun outing! Detour for a large part of the Dool trail, onto the sunset trail, to access this hike, but definitely a great little outing!

hiking
1 month ago

The trail was pretty moderate to easy. The waterfall was pretty but the trail was along side of the road almost the whole time. We had to walk threw a few camp sights right next to tents. As well as ended up walking threw a parking lot with trash cans mid hike.

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked it at the end of June. Lots of wide and flat ground, beautiful redwoods, some wildflowers, and creek with little bridges. Also some good places to step into the creek if you’re so inclined. I did have to contend with mosquitos. Sewer manholes along part of the way, which I think is the reason it was flat.

trail running
bugs
closed
1 month ago

Amazing mini-thru-hike. Campsites have running potable water, Jay Camp HQ has all the amenities and fully stocked (beers!). The third day was by far the best part of the trail through beautiful redwood groves and the highlight Berry Creek Falls. Can't wait to do it again, next time with my kids. Mosquitos were pretty brutal (July) when standing/sitting still, so bring plenty of repellent!

How could a walk through the majestic redwoods be anything but a 5-star experience?! Could the signage have been better? Yes. But, have you ever seen great signage at a state or national park? We did the classic Skyline to the Sea hike over 3 days and 2 nights, starting at Castle Rock parking lot and ending at Waddell Beach. My wife and I both drove separate cars since there isn’t a public transit option, or a reliable taxi/Uber option from either location. After dropping off a car at Waddell we drove to Castle Rock to start the trip. Day one we hiked to Waterman Gap. The signage was pretty poor and confusing at times so think about downloading a GPS guide (we paid for All Trails pro) that works offline and talk to people on the trail if you have questions. From there we went to Jay Camp at the Big Basin headquarters. Both sites had bathrooms and potable water. The walk from Jay to Waddell Beach was incredible! So hard to put into words. Trekking through giant redwoods for hours, mostly under the shade, so much green! There were some fallen trees along the way but it was all manageable. The final 1.5 miles to Waddell Beach felt longer than it was because we were tired and the trail borders the edge of a rocky hillside. But coming around the corner to see the ocean and feel that cool breeze is worth every step. I’d highly recommend this hike to anyone with some backpacking experience. In total we probably did about 30-32 miles, but like I said the hike is easy to moderate, and the campsites have amenities to make things easier. Can’t wait to go explore the Santa Cruz Mountains again!

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

Such a cathartic trail. We were there on a Thursday in June, expecting tons of people, but passed only three other small parties outside a quarter mile of either end of the trailhead. Most folks tend to gravitate toward the falls which is great for those who want to take in the forest for the trees

Great backpacking to sunset camp. Has 10 sites with food lockers and a toilet. Waterfalls before you get there. Recommend skyline accent and sunset back to bay camp/ basin HQ. research and know your goals before you head out.

hiking
2 months ago

Very chill trail. Went solo! A lot of facilities on the way (benches, bathrooma, showers). Insects and nature encountered were stunning (watch out for those banana slugs).

Different terrains. The meteor trail is awesome! Very light traffic and you can hear your echo in the dense redwoods. Dont expect a great ocean view from the too though

hiking
2 months ago

Th redwoods were great and the trail was well maintained. As far as the trail goes for hikes it was okay.

hiking
2 months ago

You must stop at headquarters and pay $10 fee for day use. Then they will advise you on trails and where to start. Not to hard. Went counterclockwise. It’s just above a road and goes through several campsites. Waterfall was very beautiful. We sidetracked a bit, but was able to backtrack to finish trail. We were able to see several banana slugs.

Hit the trail around 9:45am on a Sunday. Party of 6 and a leisurely lunch led to a relatively slow pace. Finished around 4:45pm. Linked the following together for a ~13mi hike loop: Skyline to the Sea-Sunset Connector-Sunset-Berry Creek Falls-Howard King-Hihn Hammond to Mt McAbee Overlook-Hihn Hammond Connector-Skyline to the Sea.

We went clockwise starting (after detour) at Skyline to Howard King awesome (overlook) views of the ocean.. then Berry Creek Falls... the falls are beautiful, I highly recommend going up berry creek trail even if you double back. It’s amazing, lil waterfalls all the way up. We continued on sunset trail and it’s no joke...! Steady uphill (Some STAIRS) for 5miles. Bring water, bug spray and strong glutes!!! Loved this hike! Highly recommend! We ended up at 14miles with detours (and mistakes) ✌

HUGE redwoods! Beautiful trail but some of it is closed and you walk on a not busy road. still worth it though. :)

Absolutely incredible hike, there really are no words to describe how breathtaking Big Basin is. Some parts of the trail were closed so it ended up being pretty close to 12 miles and took me about 5 hours. Beautiful and challenging, for me at least. Definitely bring some bug repellant and get out there early to miss the crowds :)

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