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.
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.
Overall great time when we went. The spot we had was a little small but was no problem because not many people were there. Great trails and great service. The raccoons were a little much at night.
There is something awesome about standing inside a tree that is literally 10 times bigger than you! Camping here was one of the most special, amazing camping adventured in my life. My husband is an environmental geologist, so he had been working in California for the cleanup after the wildfires. So we decided when he was done I would fly down and we would take a little vacation. We had spent the week before in Yosemite National Park, so by the time we got here (not even gonna lie) we were exhausted and a little sick. In Yosemite the temperature drop at night gave us both a little cold, but thankfully the temperature in Big Basin was not nearly as harsh.
Before arriving we reserved a campsite on their website at the Huckleberry campground. At the time the Huckleberry campsite was the only one open, maybe because it was off season, although I am not sure. On the website there are actually pictures of each site so you can choose to your liking. I chose a small site with a lot of trees, what I thought was the most breathtaking site. It was just our little tent so we didn't need much room. The site had one parking spot, a picnic table, a fire pit with rack, and what I call a "bear box" which is a animal resistant container for food.
Our site was close to the bathrooms, showers, and dumpster which was convenient for us especially after 'roughing' it in Yosemite. Every facility was clean and surprisingly very nice. We didn't end up using the fire pit, but instead just cooked our food over a pocket rocket, but I do believe they had firewood for sale at the rangers hut. They had a grocery store but it is not open during the winter months so plan accordingly. However there is a town in Bouldercreek, CA with a grocery store, some bars, and a few restaurants. It is about a 20 miles drive out of the park to the town.
We ended up taking a break from the cold one afternoon while we were there and drove into town to eat at Boulder Creek Pizza & Pub. It was absolutely delicious, but whether it was actually the best pizza in the world, or it had been so long since we had a real meal, either way it was great!
The trails and campground are easy to get too and well marked, but we did lose service on the drive into the park. The education center on site is very interesting and teaches you so much about the history and growth of the amazing Redwood trees. Even every single campsite is breathtaking so you can't lose. We did a few trails around our campsite, nothing very extreme.They do have very good hiking trails with distance, just make sure you get a map before. Everything was just so wondrous and beautiful. I felt like a kid exploring this place, so small and insignificant in the big scheme of things. I will never forget this park, it will forever hold a spot in my heart and soul.
My husband and I have camped here since we first started dating and I camped here as a child while on family vacations. One of the most spectacular campgrounds I have been too. Hiking trails throughout the park, private camping, and a quick trip to Santa Cruz. The winter months are super cold and on numerous occasions we have been the only people camping. The sky is super clear at night and the stars are amazing.