San Jose, California
Big Basin is California's oldest State Park, established in 1902. Home to the largest continuous stand of Ancient Coast Redwoods south of San Francisco, the park consists of Old Growth and recovering Redwood Forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral, and riparian habitats. Big Basin has a surprising number of waterfalls, a wide variety of environments (from lush canyon bottoms to sparse chaparral-covered slopes), many animals (deer, raccoons, bobcats) and lots of bird life—including Steller’s jays, egrets, herons and California woodpeckers. Each season provides a different park experience. During wet winters, the intense greens of mosses contrast with the subtle colors of lichens and mushrooms.
Our campsite is Sequoia group site #2, and is located on a hill just north of the camp headquarters, off of hwy 236. Bathrooms are close and paid shower stalls are available at the headquarters .25 miles away. The campsite has parking for 20 cars and holds up to 50 people. Theses group sites are isolated from the rest of the campers in the park, we will likely have the hillside to ourselves. Meetings will be held each night at 7pm and there will be plenty of room for those who would like to come up for just the meeting and/or the hikes!
Friday: Buzzards Roost
Level: 3 Challenging | Elevation change: 1200 ft | 5 miles
This is one of the favorite Big Basin hikes: it starts on the legendary Redwood Trail near the park headquarters, heads over to Blooms Creek Campground and zigags up the Pine Mountain Trail -- leaving the redwood forest completely for awhile -- then culminating with a steep scramble to a rocky overlook. You can see pretty much all the remarkable diversity of Big Basin (except the waterfalls) along this route. Bring a headlamp in case we stay out after sunset.
Saturday: Berry Creek Falls
Level 4: Difficult | Elevation change: 2150 ft | 11 miles
This hike features a series of impressive waterfalls in a narrow, redwood-filled gorge, followed by a four-mile climb through a lush, steep-sided canyon lined with big redwoods. Almost the entire loop is in pristine old-growth redwood forest, with remarkably little encroachment from roads and other development. The otherworldly scenery is like nothing else in the Bay Area. This hike takes about six hours, bring a lunch.
Directions: From San Jose: Take Hwy 9 South up to the CA35/Skyline Blvd. intersection, crossing Hwy 35 and staying on Hwy 9 to Boulder Creek. Make a right onto Hwy 236 in Boulder Creek and drive 8 miles to the park headquarters. (Hwy 236 can also be taken on the north side, but is single lane). Travel time from San Jose: Approximately 1 hour
Check in is 2pm Friday and check out is noon Sunday. Average temperature for this time of year is in the low 60s, with nighttime temperatures in the 40s. Clear skies will bring cold nights and cloudy skies may bring drizzle or rain. Bring raingear, gloves, and lots of water.
Cost: $33 pp for the weekend and covers parking by the group site. Day trip visitors cost $10 per vehicle/day. Parking is limited, so carpooling is recommended. No dogs (except service dogs) allowed on trails, but dogs ARE allowed at the campsite. Dogs cannot be left unattended at any time.
Host: Melody K. and Bill E.