California's Big Basin state park giant redwoods

Giant redwoods at California’s Big Basin State Park

Did you know that Big Basin is California’s oldest state park and has the largest continuous strand of ancient redwoods — dating back to thousands of years ago? And the best part? Getting there is half the fun.

California's Big Basin State Park

Heavenly views on the way down to Big Basin

Tip: Because most of the roads are extremely curvy (that’s an understatement) it can take up to an hour to reach the park entrance. Dramamine is recommended for those with motion or car sickness. I’m not kidding.

Established in 1902, and located near Santa Cruz, Big Basin offers over 80 miles of trails ranging in distance from under half-a-mile to several miles. In fact, a few of the trails connect to California’s Castle Rock State Park. The trails also range in difficulty, but the shorter trails are easy enough for smaller children to navigate and still get to experience the splendor of these magnificent giants.

Long winding roads take you to the bottom of Big Basin with breathtaking plateaus along the way, and pull-offs where you can take in the heavenly views of those mountainous chains. It’s also the perfect drive to breath in the deep, earthy scent of conifers, redwoods and practice your wave out the car window.

Tip: Visit the park office first for a map of the trails and, most importantly, a map to find your way back home out of the mountains. Before beginning your hike, don’t forget to use the facilities. Don’t worry, they are clean.

California Big Basin

Redwood roots run deep

If you decide to stay for more than a day, there are plenty of camp sites for small or large groups. Reservations are recommended. Visit littlebasin.org to secure a site.