Santa Cruz County’s vast preserves of open space are a tribute to the early conservation efforts that began here over a century ago. The first campaign to save the redwoods succeeded in establishing Big Basin Redwoods State Park in 1902, now California’s oldest state park.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is home to the largest continuous stand of ancient redwoods south of San Francisco and encompasses 18,000 acres of old growth and recovering redwood forest. Elevations in the park vary from sea level to over 2,000 feet. Some of the trees here are more than 300 feet tall and 50 feet in circumference, with some as old as 1,000 to 2,500 years. The 100+-year-old park offers over 80 miles of trails alongside creeks, waterfalls, and giant trees. Some of the trails link Big Basin to Castle Rock State Park and the eastern reaches of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The popular 30-mile Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail threads its way through the park along Waddell Creek to the beach. This trail usually takes a few days to complete for accomplished hikers, but it is one of the more iconic hikes in the region. Hikers can also choose Berry Creek Trail to view a series of four waterfalls which make up Berry Creek Falls or set up camp at Sunset Trail Camp.
The park has a wide variety of environments in addition to redwood forest, many animals and lots of bird life. Big Basin Redwoods State Park welcomes dogs in the campsites, picnic areas, and on paved roads. They must be on a leash and attended at all times. Dogs are not permitted on any of the trails.