Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of California, located in Santa Cruz County about 23 miles northwest of Santa Cruz. The park contains almost all of the Waddell Creek watershed, which was formed by the seismic uplift of its rim and the erosion of its center by the many streams in its bowl-like depression.

Big Basin is California's first State Park, established in 1902. Its original 3,800 acres have been increased over the years to over 18,000 acres . It is part of the Northern California coastal forests eco-region and is home to the largest continuous stand of ancient Coast Redwoods south of San Francisco. It contains 10,800 acres of old-growth forest as well as recovering redwood forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral and riparian habitats. Elevations in the park vary from sea level to over 2,000 ft. The climate ranges from foggy and damp near the ocean to sunny, warm ridge tops.

The park has over 80 miles of trails. Some of these trails link Big Basin to Castle Rock State Park and the eastern reaches of the Santa Cruz range. The Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail threads its way through the park along Waddell Creek to Waddell Beach and the adjacent Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve, a freshwater marsh.

The park has a large number of waterfalls, a wide variety of environments (from lush canyon bottoms to sparse chaparral-covered slopes, many animals (deer, raccoons, an occasional bobcat) and lots of bird life – including Steller's Jays, egrets, herons and Acorn Woodpeckers.
Location – Directions

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.

Winter: Cold, overcast and rainy. Big Basin receives the majority of its average 48 inches of rain. December through March average temperatures range from highs in the 50's to lows in the 20's.
Spring: Cool with showers and morning and evening fog. Average daytime highs in the 60's, lows in the 30's to 40's.

Summer: Warm with cool nights. Morning fog in early Summer. Average highs 75 to 95, lows 40's to 50's.

Fall: Warm day to cold nights. Occasional early storms with rain. Average highs 75 to 60's, lows 50's to 30. Maybe the best weather of the year!
Tent Cabins
Registration for the Tent Cabins is at the Gift Shop or after hours at the Host Site at Huckleberry Campground. Tent Cabins are managed by a private concession. To make Tent Cabin reservations, call (800)444-7275 (PARK).

Big Basin has a full schedule of interpretive programs during the Summer and on weekends during the Fall and Spring as staff allows. Visitors to the park should look for flyers for additional information, programs and updates.

Redwood Loop Nature Trail
Starting Sunday, March  1st, and each Saturday and Sunday thereafter, 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
Meet in front of Park Headquarters for an informative and fun walk through an old growth forest. Learn about these magnificent giants and other forest inhabitants.
Easy, 7/10 mile (~1 km.), level, paced walk.
Wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Mountain Biking

Fire Roads are open to Mountain Biking

No Mountain Bikes allowed on Single Track Trails

North Escape Road (Picnic Area Road) is level and paved and makes a good easy route.


Fire Roads in Park

Gazos Creek Road - 16 miles. Goes to Highway #1 North of Swanton.

Middle Ridge Fire Road

Hihn Hammond Road

Johansen Road

Chalks Road

Trail Camps

Six people per site

Reserve via Big Basin Headquarters

Trail Camps open May 1 through Oct. 31. Closed Nov. 1- April 30.

Advance reservations are required.

Reservations via Big Basin Headquarters, Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm, (831)338-8861.

Big Basin Redwoods SP Websites
Big Basin Redwoods Official Site
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Big Basin Redwoods State Park - EveryTrail

Other Campground Sites

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Big Basin Redwoods SP is listed as one of the Top Ten Campgrounds in California. Our top ten list is constantly being revised as we experience and visit new campgrounds. So, if you feel we are missing one, please email us and let us know!