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Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail

HARD 81 reviews
#2 of 4 trails in

Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail is a 25.2 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Los Gatos, California that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
25.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3389 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

beach

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

old growth

no dogs

Two of the Bay Area's most popular hiking locales -- Castle Rock and Big Basin Redwoods state parks -- promise one of the region's top backpacking experiences. A three-day, 25-plus-mile hike through these parks from the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Pacific Ocean shows off everything to see in the South Bay woods, from the redwoods towering above to the banana slugs creeping along the forest floor. A popular version of this hike begins at the eastern terminus of the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, at the intersection of Highways 9 and 35 (Saratoga Gap). The first third of Skyline-to-the-Sea tracks along a highway and is otherwise unremarkable, so a superior option is to start from the Castle Rock State Park headquarters a few miles south of the gap on Highway 35. Castle Rock offers wonderful vistas of the mountains stretching to the sea, and a safe place to park your car. The second and third days of the hike traverse ancient redwoods in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, passing the impressive Berry Creek Falls and ending at the edge of America at Waddell Beach on the Pacific Ocean.

5 days ago

15 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

This is the portion of the Skyline-to-the-Sea trail that was not washed out — beginning from where it is joined by the Howard King trail detour (see track). It was a long hike but with wide, nearly level trails all the way to the ocean. My daughter saw nearly a hundred banana slugs.

hiking
18 days ago

hiking
27 days ago

Started from where the Skyline-to-the-Sea crosses Big Basin Way and descends down into Big Basin park. A fairly easy day's hike that ended with us having plenty of time to set up camp and relax among the giant redwoods.

hiking
28 days ago

Just finished this trail yesterday, it's challenging but doable to complete in one day! Took us a solid 12 hours. We left a car across the street from the beach (parking allowed from 6 am to 10 pm) and had a friend drop us off at Saratoga Gap, a little over an hour drive from the beach. Storm damage is evident throughout the trail, but there's nothing too difficult or impassable. Currently one section is closed, just after you pass through Big Basin HQ up to Berry Creek Falls. You take the Howard King Trail as a detour, and although this trail only adds an extra ~3 miles give yourself time to move slower! Its almost entirely steep uphill and downhill, with little in between. It does offer some fantastic views though! The detour is by far the most challenging part, the rest of the trail is mostly a easy, gentle downhill. After the detour there's a side trail to Berry Creek Falls. Currently only the lower portion is accessible, but it was still very beautiful and worth the extra mile. From there, it's 6-7 miles of easy hiking to Waddell Beach.

1 month ago

Some of the trails are still closed. Check the park's website for trail closure information.

1 month ago

Is anyone hiking skyline to sea trail this weekend?!!!

hiking
1 month ago

The trial is looking good from Saratoga gap to the highway 9 / 236 interchange. From there on your way to headquarters there are still a few trees that are across the trail that you have to go through. I have not seen the lower half since this winter storms have gone through.

backpacking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

backpacking
2 months ago

On May 26 to 28, 2012, a group of eleven that had almost no camping or hiking hobby decided to join together for a three days hike from the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains (Watchman Gap) to the Pacific Ocean (Waddell Beach), passing through Castle Rock State Park and Big Basin Redwoods State Park, 30+ miles total, and completely stressed out at the beach, but we all survived.

hiking
3 months ago

Many bridges are damaged or completely missing south of Big Basin HQ. Mud slides have taken the trail out on numerous hills. Until fixed, give yourself plenty of extra time and be prepared to negotiate some obstacles. Great trail though.

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

4 of us did this hike in one day starting from Highway 9/35 at about 6am and were at waddell beach by 6pm. Strenuous.. yes but loved every single moment of it. Highly recommended! We are not serious hikers or anything like that... just wanted to challenge ourselves. If you are thinking of doing it in 1 day, I'd say its possible. It does require some planning i.e., the day before we drove to Waddell Beach and parked one car there (can't depend on Uber/Lyft to come there) and came all the way back to Saratoga to start our hike early in morning next day. Check the iPhone/health app image (badge of honor :))

hiking
4 months ago

I did this with a friend about a week ago we started at 8am and got to waddle beach at 5pm to catch a nice sunset. It was a hard joke but worth doing it once. We started near tin can ranch road on highway 9 and took a short cut on the equestrian trail in stead of taking skyline to the sea to see berry falls but it met up with skyline to the sea near the end and everything was fine. We had to take the short cut in order to make it to the beach in time but the short cut is beautiful as well. Hiking the whole thing in one day is definitely a one time thing for me but it is a beautiful hike.

hiking
4 months ago

Big Basin via Waddell Beach is always a good time. Went out today after the rain and the creek was full and flowing fast. Everything is lush and green...GORGEOUS! Make sure you bring layers during winter and watch out for newts crossing the path.

5 months ago