Explore the most popular birding trails near Saratoga with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Beautiful trail. We didn’t find it physically challenging but it was a little mentally challenging for me (I’m scared of heights) as we hiked the middle section along the ridge. Beautiful views of the Santa Cruz Mts and Monterey Bay. Highly recommend.

Lots of uphill, but a gorgeous trail through the forest, and very quiet on the Monday we went. Highly recommend.

The loop is significantly different from one side to the other. The right side trail while going from the parking to the campground is safer than the other. Staying on the left side trail going from the parking to the campground will take through the Castle Rock Falls and most part of this trail is on the edge of steep slope and through narrow crevices between rocks but gives fantastic views. We used one side going to the campground and another side returning to the parking lot.

It was good hiking for a few hours to see the nice view. Relax and fresh there

Nice uphill climb with a great view at the top! It was super dry, so no waterfall. But super pretty nonetheless!! ♥️

hiking
1 month ago

Lots of shade. Perfect for a get up and go hike. Good ups in the beginning.

Gorgeous hike with great views. Some slight bouldering along the way adds some technical challenge. Bring a sun hat or some sunscreen, part of the hike is pretty sun exposed. From points you can see both the Pacific Ocean and the Monterey Bay. Completed multiple times now.

A short and sweet hike that meets all the criteria when you're looking for something simple.

It is not too strenuous but has a few fun parts that'll get your heart rate up. The view isn't breathtaking, but very refreshing. It's not too crowded, nor is it desolate.

Great place for a short afternoon hiking that doesn't need too much preparation.

hiking
1 month ago

not alot of scenic views, but great shaded hike

backpacking
1 month ago

We started at Castle Rock instead of Saratoga Gap. This was highly recommended by the rangers and afforded us beautiful scenic views on Day 1 until meeting up with the traditional trail which mostly follows the highway for the first day.

Day 1: Starting from Castle Rock, hiked 9.5 miles to Waterman Gap Camp. Super remote, but had a bathroom and water spout so it was perfect. Campsite 1 is the best!
Day 2: Hiked another 9/10 miles to Jay Camp in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. There are facilities here and it is not as remote but still great.
Day 3: The last ~ 10 miles take you back to Waddell Beach. A much recommended detour visits Berry Creek Falls. We actually ended this night at a beach in Davenport at the main stoplight across the highway from the restaurants. There were fire pits for a bonfire and we stayed the night on the beach. This was actually our favorite night.

The trail is closer to 30 miles than 25. We parked one car at Waddell Beach and another at Castle Rock since there is NO SHUTTLE and none of us had phone service either. The start and end points are roughly one hour away from each other driving.

WEATHER was GREAT, btw. We slept half in our bags as we had really warm nights even now in mid-October. Overall a great trip and I highly recommend it for this time of year when it is really cold elsewhere.

backpacking
1 month ago

Did it in one day, starting at Hwy 9 and 35 , finishing at Waddell Beach. Its around 29-30miles, not 25. Took us 9.5hrs excluding 2 breaks to eat and tape up our feet. Would have done it in 2 days but Big Basin is reservation only and books 2 months in advance so book early.

hiking
1 month ago

Fun for hiking. 5 stars if having a great view for photos.

Completed the trail in 2 nights & 3 days. 1st day hiking was harder than the other 2 days. Basin was crowded.

Tip: A couple people thought to break in their shoes on this trail = lots of blisters. Also, bring poles if you have bad knees = lots of downhill.

Such a beautiful trail!! I hiked it alone on a moderately busy Sunday afternoon. It was the perfect combination of ease and difficulty for me. Very straightforward to follow along the path, and when you come to a fork in the trail it is marked properly. There are a few decent sized rocks along the way to stop and hang out to take a short break.

backpacking
2 months ago

Started at Castle Rock HQ, ended at Waddell Beach and loved every minute of this hike. Camped at Waterman Gap and then Jay camp and both were in good shape and nice. Thanks to our awesome state park rangers, staff and volunteers! Definitely would do this again.

trail running
2 months ago

Super fun. Ran skyline to sea marathon with Pacific Coast Trail Runs. Very fun event. Highly recommend.

Wonderful hike!
Early October, Sunday morning, got there at around 7:30 and the parking was halfway full. Very windy, lots of shades, waterfalls was only dripping water. Descending first then ascend when going back to the parking.
Paid the fee for $10 (fee is only $8, but didn’t have change, self pay in the envelope)
Definitely come back for camping overnight!

Beautiful trail. View of the Santa Cruz mountains and it’s a loop too back to the parking lot. Not too much elevation change. Make it by 9am to have a good shot at parking.

A nice hike up hill the entire way but the view is worth it, no waterfall, dry and dusty!!

Great trail. It's well maintained, has some beautiful views, and (early in the morning) wasn't too crowded. The parking lot at the trailhead is pretty limited, but there's some extra along the road.

Awesome hike with beautiful views! Definitely go in the morning to avoid getting hit too much with the sun.

One of the absolutely most beautiful views I've gotten in the Bay Area. Going around 7-10 am you get to see a snake of fog slithering through the valley

hiking
2 months ago

one of my all time favorite places to hike

Short but steep trail- I wouldn’t do this trail in the heat of day, but the view at the top is worth the hike.

Met a rattle snake that makes this trial special

Fantastic trail for running before or after work with beautiful views during a good part of the loop. Most of it is wide and not technical, but you’ll share it with mountain bikers as well, so keep that in mind and be alert.

We (my wife, 30, and me, 38) did this trail yesterday, 8th September, but went a little further to the east to not have to hike through the community.

It took us nearly 4 hours with a short break to do the 9.6 miles loop, which was downhill for about 5.5 and uphill from there on. Going through forest and some open places, where we got quite some sun yesterday. Temperature got really high then, reaching nearly 100°.

There were nearly any other people during the hike so it was quite relaxed. And there are quite some nice views. But that is it for the positive side.

Things we did not like:
- trail is difficult to follow (thank you stranger for putting up your orange hints)
- bugs and mosquitoes all the time (take repellent with you during this time of year)
- gun fire can be heard all the time

PS: quite often you will have no network coverage, so downloading the track beforehand is a good idea.

Did 11 miles out and back since I couldn’t get a ride home from the beach. Downhill helps but there are some climbs for sure. Take plenty of water.

Love it! Great for a quick trail run with a good elevation workout and lots of shade! Parking is super convenient and free!

3 months ago

Okay hike. Pretty steep with some shade here and there. Consistent incline throughout the whole thing.

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