Looking for a great trail in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California? AllTrails has 29 great hiking trails, trail running trails, forest trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 16 moderate trails in Big Basin Redwoods State Park ranging from 1.7 to 10.8 miles and from 967 to 2,490 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

hiking

forest

no dogs

views

nature trips

trail running

wildlife

walking

bird watching

camping

waterfall

wild flowers

river

backpacking

kid friendly

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, giant ancient coast redwood groves that are home to 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, old-growth redwood forest, more than 80 miles of paved roads and popular 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. Beautiful waterfalls, banana slugs, 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 entrances into Big Basin are windy roads. 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. Dogs are only allowed on the paved trails.

Hardly a waterfall and you walk next to the road most the time

My son and I did this trail May 9-11, 2019 and had a fantastic adventure! The creeks we’re running strong, the trails were in great shape and the landscape was beautiful. I would have given it a 5-star rating but the road noise while on the trail and at Waterman Gap Campground has to be taken in to account. I’ll for sure do this trail again!

hiking
closed
private property
7 days ago

Easier to walk counterclockwise. Super long. Took us 10 hours. We had to run to get back before sunset. I would start early next time. Some parts of the trail were closed. No parking. So we parked 2.5 miles away. Adds another 5 miles. Overall nice trail.

Really nice, mostly shaded trail that's not too tough and well kept. There's no big view though due to the forest. There was also a lot of water in the streams, but I'm guessing that dries up later in the summer. I went on a sunny Saturday in mid-May yet, for some reason, the trail was almost empty. I was expecting it to be really crowded as this park is typically very popular.

Takes about 1.5 hours to get there (google maps says lesser time to the state park but route from AllTrails). Parking can be difficult to find, so try to get there by 10 or 10:30am latest. It’s best to have cash to pay with. There are pretty good flush toilets near the park HQ. This hike basically combines a couple of different hikes and makes it harder and longer. Berry creek is popular and gets crowded but Howard king isn’t, and you’ll barely run into ppl there. There are a couple of places where it’s easy to venture off the trail, so it’s best to keep checking the recording/route every 10-15 mins, unless you’re on a long straight stretch. Berry creek is usually closed early in the year and dries out later in the year, so it seems like April-August might ve the best time. Most of the trail is shaded with fiat redwood trees. Would prolly avoid coming here after regular rains. A really good workout with lots of elevation!

A couple trails were closed, but the waterfall was awesome. Ended up being closer to 12 miles

Great for a 3-day backpacking trip near the Bay!

hiking
16 days ago

Went on a Saturday and only ran into 2 hiking groups and two mountain bikers. First portion is nice shaded switchbacks with little off shoot views to take breaks along the way and look out at the ocean. Second half is great views of the hills to one side and the ocean to the other. Also the last 2 miles of the drive to the trailhead is on kind of a bumpy dirt road, which most cars should be able to handle but just in case be aware.

Did this trail April 25th-28th 2019 spread out over 3 nights. Stayed at castle rock campsite, waterman gap, and jay camp in big basin. Had great weather all 3 days. We parked our car at waddell beach and had a friend drop us off at castle rock trail head. Started late Thursday 25th around 8pm and hiked to castle rock campsite then began the decent to waterman gap the next morning. Waterman gap is a nice camp site just be ready with the bug spray as we got rushed by mosquitos.The decent to big basin (jay camp) was the best part of he trip, nice and cool with some of the best views that are remarkably beautiful through old growth redwoods. Our last day down to Waddell beach was also quite nice but had a lot more traffic. Definitely a challenging hike but well worth the efforts! Only complaint is that the trail can be very vague and makes you question whether your heading in the right direction. Would do again in a heartbeat!

muddy
21 days ago

Trail was perfectly clear today with none of the obstructions I saw mentioned in other reviews. Waterproof shoes are nice to have in the muddy parts.

hiking
21 days ago

Beautiful trail about 2 hour trip, easy hike, a small incline for about 5 minutes after that smooth sailing under shades of redwoods. It can be quite muddy, but not the whole way, only tiny spots. Enjoy!

Nice two-day trip. We started at Waddell beach, camped at Waterman Gap, and finished at Castle Rock. The views aren’t that amazing, but the trail is nice and well-maintained.

Beautiful trail, walking through a tunnel of trees, not a lot of views (unless you start from castle Rock). Hiked with with a abnormally healed fracture and I do say the downhill destroyed my feet. Been two weeks and I can't walk right still, getting it checked but make sure you take care of your feet, unfortunately I have permanent damage. Take ecare of your feet!

hiking
muddy
scramble
26 days ago

There are dead tree lie in the way, and some part of the trail is really muddy. Restroom in the middle of the trails are all locked. It’s close to the road so noisy from the traffic has ruin the ambiance. Plus, it’s kinda boring and not challenging. I know lots of people love the trees. But I’ve been to Muir woods north to SF and Mariposa Grove near Yosemite. Those are way better sequoia woods than this one.

hiking
27 days ago

Muddy : ) Lots of water flowing

Started the hike at empire grade entrance. Hiked towards eagle rock and continued down. That direction the hike down was more technical than the hike at the end of the loop. The last 2 miles was walking along a cal fire access road. Steep fire road. Great tree coverage the entire hike. Kept us relatively cool. Definitely a work out.

hiking
muddy
29 days ago

Trail with nice waterfalls approximately mid-way. Easy to get lost due to incorrectly marked directions though!

Nice trail, pretty muddy at the moment.. depending on where you park you may do start at an odd point

I really enjoyed this trail. Two of the largest redwoods in this park are next to the trail for easy viewing. It was easy just as the rating implied.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

For my first time going hiking it was a great experience. For people who aren’t used to cardio this is a great trail. It was really muddy and slippery due to rain but over all it was great.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

My friend and I went on 04/16/19. It was a little bit muddy since it rained on Monday. Definitely a good easy beginner's hike. This hike is a good way for getting the momentum going for future moderate to hard hikes in the future.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

My friend and I did the full 30 miles in one day back in September. We started at 8 am and I believe we finished around 3:30/4 pm. The trail is beautiful and we had a great time but doing 30 miles in a day takes a major toll on your body! At around 25 miles our feet were blistered and we were exhausted but we made it!

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

This was a very nice hike and I’d definitely recommend it (I have a high bar for 4/5 stars). Huge, beautiful redwoods and a nice waterfall. It was not all that strenuous — my 5-month pregnant wife and I did it in a little over 2 hours. Note that it’s listed as a little over 4 miles but it was actually a little over 5, at least if you come back via the Skyline to the Sea trail.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

The trail got quite muddy. We walked down to the side of the road that the trail runs along and walked to the fall all the way up. On the way down once we hit the main road it was too busy to walk along, so we went back to the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

It had rained the day before our hike so the path was muddy otherwise everything else was fine. We finished it in a couple of hours.

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