Explore the most popular Waterfall 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.

hiking
bugs
10 days ago

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.

Such a great shady trail, moderately up and down. Husband and I did it in 3.75 hours with some short breaks and did it counterclockwise. It was less crowded this direction in our opinion. Such beautiful waterfalls, saw 3 in a row!! Started at like 3:15 and ended at 7pm. Would definitely recommend again! Great summer hike since it’s not super muddy and totally shaded. Some closures but really easily marked trails.

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.

We hiked the portion of this trail from Sunset Trail Camp to Waddell Beach as the last day of our extended Skyline to the Sea trip. It was the easiest segment of the four days, and is mostly downhill. The Sunset Trail Camp was nice, but fully occupied at our Friday night stay. There is NO water at the camp, but water can be filtered from Berry Creek within a half mile of camp. At this time of year, at least, the mosquitoes were the worst I’ve encountered anywhere. But, they were not an issue at all once we hit the trail to the coast in the morning. The Berry Creek Trail portion of this hike was awesome, and absolutely one of the most beautiful trail segments I’ve ever hiked. Coming from north to south is the ideal perspective as the falls get progressively more beautiful along the way. The entire Berry Creek Valley valley is an amazing temperate rain forest; several big trees complete the grandeur. Leaving the valley, the trail broadens to a road and is comfortable and easy. Views are nice, but not spectacular. There is great variety on the route, however, and the view of Waddell Beach from the trail is exciting. We had a great time.

NOTE: the map is NOT Berry Creek Falls Trail. This description pertains to the Berry Creek Falls Trail. We hiked Berry Creek Falls Trail on day 4 of an extended Skyline to the Sea trip. This segment of the trip was absolutely stunning. Beginning at Sunset Trail Camp, the trail descends through the lush, shaded, green Berry Creek Valley. There are a good number of old growth redwoods along the route, and the impression of the ferns, trees, mosses, and falls are very “Jurassic Park.” The north to south route is ideal. It is downhill the whole way. More importantly, the falls appear as a progressive sequence that gets better at each turn. There are many“take your breath away” moments. This was our favorite portion of our backpacking trip, and I highly recommend this trail.

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
bugs
22 days ago

Did this a couple weekends ago. We went at 9am and the parking lots were already packed. Our hike was beautiful. We walked it rather quickly and were done within 3.5 hours. There were quite a few people on the trail. lots of mosquitos, bring bug spray!

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!

Amazing trip. Lots of bugs so bring bug spray.

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.

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!

backpacking
bugs
1 month ago

I completed this trail during the July 4th weekend. It was confusing to find the trail head at Saratoga Gap, and I almost took the wrong way. You have to cross the street after you park your car in the parking lot, and go straight, the trail head will be on your right side. The trail is relatively easy. The 1st day was the easiest, it took me 4.5 hrs to walk 6.1 miles from Saratoga Gap to Waterman Gap. The 2nd day, I think, was the most difficult one, from Waterman Gap to Jay Camp with some uphills. The last 5.2 miles on the 3rd day was mostly flat and downhill. Even though it was long (~13 miles), it was pretty easy. There were not much sceneries on the trail from Saratoga Gap to Jay Camp. I prefer the tall redwood trees in Big Basin.

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!

Just finished this 3 day backpacking trip. I give it very mixed review. The first day out of Castle Rock state park was pretty. Enjoyed the horizon view to sea and hill tops. Lots of tall coastal red woods. As you approach Waterman gap camp ground the hiking is very close to a road which ruined the outdoor experience for me. The sounds of motorcycles racing up and down made me feel as though I was next to the freeway. This may of been particularly bad because it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Second day we hiked to Big Basin headquarters (Jay camp). We practically followed the road the entire way. Passing next to homes and backyards. Once we made it to headquarters we enjoyed a leisurely lunch and pushed on to Sunset campsite. This is were it was really pretty. We passed 3 waterfalls and enjoyed a very private camping experience. Saw a bunch of banana slugs. Last day headed out to Waddel beach. It was a beautiful hike and slightly downhill for a very easy hike. My recommendation would be to start at Jay camp (Headquarters) hike to sunset and out the next day only making this a one night trip and about 12 mile trip.

Did this as an overnight starting at Saratoga Gap. Scenery is beautiful, we had minimal vehicle noise and encountered few other hikers until we were in Big Basin. Stopped at park HQ to refill water, grab some lunch and rest before wrapping up the day with Berry Creek, Silver & Cascade falls on our way up (and up, and up) to Sunset Camp. Second day was gorgeous. Went back down to the falls and enjoyed them in the morning light then linked back up to S2S trail, following the creek most of the way. A quick 6ish miles from our campsite to Waddell Beach. Great hike and I’d do it again for sure, though it’d probably be better broken up staying at Jay Camp and doing the falls and finishing up on the second day (couldn’t grab a reservation for Jay though) That last push up the falls on stairs with cables to Sunset Camp was pretty rough after a 22+ mile day!

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

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

This isn't the most scenic trail for the most part but definitely iconic and was part of my bucket list. 1. The first part of the trail until waterman gap trail was quite meh. Runs too close to the road and wasn't very pretty. 2. About a mile after waterman gap, it got quite foggy and the trees were dripping so it was a very pleasant and interesting experience throughout the major incline. 3. After the intersection with China grade road, it gets a bit exposed with some sweeping mountain views. I got lost at the bridge crossing and took the wrong trail across the bridge and had to come back when I realized after about a mile. You're supposed to go straight and cross the highway and not go across the bridge. 4. Soon after the views when you go down the steepest part, is about 3 miles flat in big basin which has a few redwood groves and overall pleasant along the creek until the part hq. 5. After the park hq, it is a bumpy tide down to berry creek falls (the falls are the best part of the hike. I'd go until silver falls if you have energy because that's the best part of the forest). This is also the toughest part of the hike which is Rocky and narrow but has the most traffic. 6. From there on to Waddell creek it's straightforward and uneventful for the most part except the last incline to the beach which was quite overgrown and had lots of poison oak. I'd wear full pants. The beach is just gorgeous. Probably one of the most beautiful along highway 1 with lots of surfers. I did this as a day hike and it took me about 10 hours including a big break at the hq. I hitchhiked from the highway to Santa Cruz and took an uber back to the Saratoga Gap. Don't expect data to be working at the beach to call an uber and the phone booth at the beach was broken too.

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.

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