This past weekend I went back to Big Basin State Park in the Santa Cruz mountains to hike to Sempervirens Falls. I’ve been hoping to visit some of the waterfalls around the Bay Area this year because of all the rain we had this past winter. There have been years when hiking to falls is disappointing, because you hike all that way and then there’s only a trickle of water.
I remember one year when I went to Castle Rock State Park and there was no water at all where the falls were supposed to be!
So, it turns out I had done this hike once before. I think it was before I started this blog, because I haven’t written about it. I went on Saturday morning and the park was packed! Cars were waiting in line to get into the parking lot. The website was not kidding when they said to be prepared with your parking fee in your hand to keep things moving.
I parked in the overflow lot and put on my bug repellent. Big Basin is crazy when it comes to mosquitos. I grabbed my pack and headed to the information booth to figure out how to get to the trailhead.
I started the hike on Sequoia trail near the parking lot and ranger station. The hike to the falls is about 1 1/2 miles. There were 2 possible loops but I wanted to finish near where my car was parked. I passed a few people on the trail along the way. It always surprises me how many people are hanging out around the parking lot but how few people are actually out on the trails. There were quite a few people at the falls, but it is near the campgrounds and there is a road for anyone who wants to drive there.
The waterfall was beautiful! There was a lot of water pouring down and it fell into a lovely little pool of clear green water. I didn’t stay long because of the crowd. I headed back to the trail and continued on Sequoia trail to Skyline-to-the-Sea trail.
My dream is to someday backpack the Skyline-to-the-Sea trail. It’s a 3 day trip from Castle Rock SP to the Pacific Ocean through Big Basin SP and ending at Waddell Beach near Davenport, CA. Someday!!
After heading down Skyline-to-the-Sea trail along Opal Creek, I ended up near the overflow parking area near my car. I’m hoping to head back soon and hike to Berry Creek Falls. It’s a longer hike, about 10 miles so I will need to start early and plan on spending most of the day hiking. There is quite a nice nature center, gift shop, and snack bar at Big Basin SP but it looked a bit crowded and I was anxious to head home. I’ll save that for next time.
Big Basin SP is definitely a great park to visit if you haven’t been there yet. The redwoods are amazing and huge and the park is so big with so many trails that even on a crowded weekend summer day it is possible to get away from the crowds on the trails.
Start/end: parking lot near ranger headquarters
Trails: Sequoia trail, Skyline-to-the-Sea trail
Approximate mileage: 3.5 mi
Has anyone done the Syline-to-the-Sea trail completely? Has anyone done the Berry Creek falls hike? Any tips or experiences would be greatly appreciated!