(Last Updated On: )

sunlight shining through the trees at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Located within the Santa Cruz Mountains, surrounded by majestic redwoods, lies the oldest state park in California, Big Basin Redwoods State Park. This beautiful public recreation area, established in 1902, lies only 23 miles north of Santa Cruz and 37 miles southwest of San Jose.

Some of the majestic redwoods located within this picturesque park are more than 50 feet wide and over 1,000 years old. Visitors are attracted to this area to sightsee, hike, mountain bike, birdwatch, and picnic.

Activities

Big Basin Redwoods State Park’s 18,000 acres helps preserve the largest grouping of ancient coastal redwoods south of San Francisco. A sight that everyone should witness up close at least once in their lifetime.

During your visit to this scenic area explore the trails that wind throughout these majestic trees. Pack a picnic and binoculars and hike out to one of the breathtaking overlooks located within the park.

group of people looking at a very large redwood tree at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Once you’ve thoroughly explored these trails head over to nearby Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center, the coastal section of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. This area is also located near Waddell State Beach.

Here are some more activities that you can do during your visit to Big Basin Redwoods State Park:

Hiking at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Prior to the devastating fire of 2020, Big Basin Redwoods State Park had more than 100 miles of hiking trails. Today much of these trails are impassable but with the ongoing recovery that is taking place inside the park, eventually more of these trails will be available for public use.

The trails that are available now wind through the old-growth redwood forest, along creeks and falls, and climb up hilly slopes for spectacular views from above.

Here are a few of the trails at Big Basin Redwoods State Park:

  • Redwood Loop Trail – An easy 0.6 mile trail that winds through some of the oldest trees inside the park. Guided walks may be available upon request.
  • Ocean View Summit Loop – A moderate 4.15 mile trail to the top of the ridge overlooking the ocean.
  • Gazos Creek Road Loop – This difficult trail extends for 12.25 miles, through the ancient and majestic trees.

hiking trail through the woods at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Biking at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Guests are allowed to ride their bikes on all of the fire roads located within the park, but should be aware that bicycles are not permitted on any of the park’s trails.

Horseback Riding at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Guests traveling with their horses may ride along the fire roads located throughout the park. Guests should be aware that horses are not permitted on the main trail system and there isn’t any parking available for trailers.

Birding at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Many species of birds are commonly seen flying throughout the majestic trees. Here you may get an opportunity to see a Common Raven, Dark-eyed Junco, Winter Wren, Wilson’s Warbler, Swainson’s Thrush, Spotted Towhee, Purple Finch, Allen’s Hummingbird, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Vaux’s Swift, Acorn Woodpecker, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Red-breasted Nuthatch, California Thrasher, Hutton’s Vireo, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Mountain Quail, or a Western Screech-Owl.

Nature and Wildlife at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Black-tailed Deer, Gray Squirrels, Merriam’s Chipmunks, raccoons, bobcats, rattlesnakes, and other signs of wildlife may be seen throughout the park, through the ancient trees and along the creek and falls.

a park road running through the forest at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Pets

Pets are allowed in designated areas at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. These areas include the parking lot area and the first mile of North Escape Road.

Service animals are not considered pets. Dogs must remain on a 6-foot leash.

Camping

Currently there are no overnight accommodations for guests visiting Big Basin Redwoods State Park. While this may change in the future, for now visitors interested in spending a few days in the area may want to check out nearby Butano State Park.

This large state park, located at 1500 Cloverdale Road in Pescadero, has 39 campsites in its family style campground. Each site has a picnic table, food storage locker, and a fire ring. The park also offers trail campsites for guests interested in a more primitive camping experience. All campsites are near restrooms. For more information and to make a reservation call (800) 444-7275 or visit www.parks.ca.gov.

Park Location

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
21600 Big Basin Way
Boulder Creek, CA 95006
Phone: 831.338.8860

Park Website

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Big Basin Redwoods State Park: