Superlatives define Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. California’s oldest state park - covering more than 18,000 acres from sea level to more than 2,000 feet elevation - launched the state park movement in California. Big Basin’s biggest attraction – literally – is a rare stand of awe-inspiring, ancient coast redwoods that are among the tallest and oldest trees on Earth. Some measure close to 300 feet tall and 50 feet in circumference. Scientists estimate that these trees may range from 1,000 to 2,000 years old. Spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, lush waterfalls, more than 80 miles of roads and trails, and a fascinating natural and cultural history have beckoned millions of visitors to Big Basin since 1902. Each season offers a different park experience. The intense greens of mosses contrast with the subtle colors of lichens and mushrooms during wet winters. Rushing waterfalls and wildflowers abound in the cool, foggy spring. Find a shady getaway from inland heat in summertime. Fall offers pleasant weather without storms, pests or extreme heat. The park is about 65 miles south of San Francisco. From Santa Cruz travel approx 25 miles northwest via Highways 9 and 236 to reach Park Headquarters. Park Headquarters is 9 miles north of the town of Boulder Creek on State Hwy 236. All roads into Big Basin are curvy. The Rancho Del Oso coastal unit of Big Basin is accessible on State Route 1, about 20 miles north of the city of Santa Cruz. The Day Use Annual Pass is accepted at this park.
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.
This is quick little informational trail and is great to do before you go into the larger trails at Big Basin. Be sure to grab one of the little pamphlets on the way in so that you can follow along on the little stop points and learn about Redwoods, Douglas Firs and the Big Basin Redwood Forest. Highly recommend starting here.
was a great hike...all took about 3-4 hrs.
my only thing was most of the hike about the first 2hrs was a trail running along a road. we were able to see cars and people walking while on the trail...that kinda took the whole "in the wild" feel away at first...but the second half of the hike was really in the woods...when I hike I don't like to see a road..just woods...but overall was beautiful and recommend doing it.
I did this hike with a group of friends late spring of 2016. The drive to get there is windy so road sick travelers beware. Many trails to choose from, permits at the front office. The entrance is very shady and the number of visitors/hikers were up there.
Now the beginning of the trail itself is fairly level with little inclines/declines. Trail markers make this hike easy to navigate. The loop I tracked was 10 miles overall. Midway through the hike, you start to climb. But it's gradual and this is where the trees open up and if it's sunny, just bring a hat. You hike along a peaceful creek, as you head back down the mountain. The crowd grows as you get closer to the falls and is where people like to people watch. The platform is small so photo opportunities may be limited or you just will have to wait. Hiking over the falls takes you upon smaller waterfalls. Here the trails are a mix of flat dirt, to stairs. As you pass these smaller chains of falls, the trail takes you higher again and where the hat comes in handy as the trees clear up slightly.
The trail then brings you back down and around, mostly downhill at this point.
Jyoti R. on Sempervirens Falls Trail
Great trail - easy if taking the Sequoia Trail straight to Sempervirens Falls. But I went on the Dool Trail to Middle Ridge Rd to Meteor Trail to Sequoia Trail back to the Park Main Entrance (the map you get from the Big Basin Information/Registration center is awesome). This ended up being roughly a 7 to 7.5 mile hike - nothing too crazy, a few uphills and muddy due to the recent rains.You get beautiful views of the ocean, redwoods, creeks, plants, and other mini-waterfalls along the way. This is just another route to see Sempervirens Falls if you want to challenge yourself a bit.
Great short trail, perfect for an afternoon hiking with my young son. Note the trail is 4 miles for the the loop, not 7.8 listed by AllTrails. Here's a few prominent features to look out for if you are hiking counterclockwise.
1) A little after 1.5 miles in, you'll have an opportunity to take a detour off the trail to see Sempervirens Falls. The detour is so short that it is definitely worth it.
2) Right after you visit Sempervirens Falls you'll encounter a quarter-mile section where you gain about 400 feet by walking up a steep granite face. If there's any moisture this will be very slippery. Wear good shoes, or try to stay on the dirt as much as possible.
3) At about the 3.6 mile mark, you'll encounter a fork. You'll need to cross the stream and follow the path to 'Skyline to the Sea Trail' which you'll take south, the other path also leads to the starting location but is far less interesting. Alternatively if you're with a tired little one, follow the road south instead of crossing the stream for a quick walk back to the visitor center.