Established in 1902, Big Basin Redwoods is California’s oldest state park. In the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Big Basin camping's biggest attractions—literally—are its ancient coast redwoods. Some of these giants are more than 50 feet around and as tall as the Statue of Liberty. At 1,000 to 1,800 years old, some may predate the Roman Empire. The park also offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, lush waterfalls, and a fascinating natural and cultural history.
The park has more than 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 the beach and adjacent Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve, a freshwater marsh.
The park has a number of waterfalls, a variety of habitats (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.
Gorgeous location! Stayed at Huckleberry Campground for a night and loved it. Very serene, beautiful redwoods and small trails by the campsite. Facilities were nice and clean, showers required quarters. There was no AT&T cell service anywhere, but you can get free wifi at the Park Headquarters. You need to check in there before getting a campsite! Thankfully they’re open late, at least 6:30pm - I didn’t ask for their official hours.
We stayed here with our 2 dogs last November as a nice winter getaway from L.A. We got one of the tent cabins, which are just adorable and so cozy. The sites are nice and distanced from each other, bathrooms were in great shape and it was pet friendly. We got a package with the tent cabin that came with bedding, cooking utensils and firewood, so were pretty much set once we got there. The beds are comfy and the wood burning stove (photo attached) is the only source of heat. It is neat but BE WARNED…it gets COLD on those winter nights so make sure you a) have enough wood; b) are good at keeping fires going throughout the night; and c) have lots of dry wood. The wood that was left for us as part of our package was really wet and wouldn't burn so we had a very chilly night even with loads of sleeping bags and blankets. Other than that, we had a great experience and got to take the dogs for a great walk on the paved trails in the State Park. Can't wait to go back!
This is a great place to camp for the sheer beauty and stillness. I would say it is not perfect because it is very remote and there are not as many easy/moderate hiking trails as I would hope. There are many very long hiking excursions, however, that seem to be really popular. Still a great place to spend a night or two!
Great setting, awesome trails to trek, can get busy during the weekend. Redwoods galore and look out for the slugs please don’t step on them. If you need a place to chill this is the spot.
No matter what site you reserve, all the site are amazing! We had #108. Near the bathroom, wash room, garbage dumpsters. The only con was the windy road! I eat sour patch kids to help with getting car sick. Easy to find. The site is pet friendly. You can only walk the dogs at paved areas, no trails. Our dogs still had fun. The redwood trees were amazing! Definitely an experience you will never forget!
Make a reservation. If you don't have one, come super early to add your name on the waiting list. They'll let you know by 5PM if you got a spot and have a back up plan.
Lots of redwoods making it shady a private. The campsites seemed private. There are walk-in sites that are easy to get to and very private. This campground seems huge. There are little streams all over that add to the wonder.
There is no down side to this campground. I stayed in Blooms Creek, site 122.
You may find a fussy thing here or there, but really, it's a delightful place to camp.
Camp site 122 is truly the best - I scouted for better ones, but this one was tops! Lots of space (I set up my 14 x 9 tent in a circle of redwood trees), lots of privacy (hey-yo!). But really, every campsite is pretty great. Tall redwoods all around, plenty of shade, potable water, a dish washing stations (!!!!), flush commodes, coin operated showers, hiking trails galore and a camp store with most anything you might have forgotten to bring along. Also, lots of programming through the Park Headquarters (nature walks, kids activities, amphitheater fireside talks).
Things to know so you get your head around it now …
1) NO CELL SERVICE. There is free wifi at the camp store and it stays on all night (I know, I went after hours to check the *Cubs/Cards score - go Cubs! *Cubs won 5-1).
2) Firewood sold at the camp store or camp host (as of June 2019) is $13.00 a bundle. Yes, that's twice what you might normally pay. In town (Boulder Creek) is not much better. Side note, there is a CUTE coffee shop in Boulder Creek called Tree House Cafe - GREAT coffee and nice staff. Plus there are two Redwoods in the middle of the cafe. I mean… come on!!!
3) This campground is very close to UC Santa Cruz. I camped Sun-Tues right after school let out for the summer so there was definitely the 'let's camp and get wasted' kinda thing. They were actually kinda of adorable and nothing too unruly, but maybe time your stay with that in mind if you are not in the mood for that sort of camping neighbor.
4) No Bigfoot sightings. I looked.
5) The bathrooms (while decent) did NOT have hand soap. Bring your own. And remember, sharing is caring (read: leave it in the bathroom cause most people were not aware of this).
6) Midweek in summer is still crowded. This place is RAD and people know it… get your reservations EARLY.
7) Mosquitoes are for realz here. I left with over 30 bites (16 on my knees alone). Citronella candle did NOTHING. I had DEET spray… NOTHING. I heard Bounce Dryer Sheets brings the magic (yes, take the sheet and get carried away on your arms, legs etc as if you are toweling off). I'm trying this cause it's better than ya know… West Nile/Zika (which I probably now have).
I definitely returned better than when I arrived… this place is pretty. I truly hope you have an outstanding time here.
Really awesome campground and the classic departure point for hiking the mellow but long mostly downhill Skyline to the Sea Trail (first mile is the gnarliest, then almost all downhill on a nice trail. Fairy rings (where the redwoods have grown up in a ring) and hollowed out tree trunks made awesome forts when we were kids. Sites aren’t too close together.
Our site was inside a redwood tree circle and was nice an isolated feeling from the other sites. We had a few perfectly clear nights and the stars through the silhouette of the trees was unforgettable.
There are also miles upon miles of trails to hike and explore on through the redwoods and around some waterfalls. Absolutely stunning.