Meteor Trail Big Basin Redwoods State Park Entrance Sign Mule deer fawn, Black-tail fawn
Big Basin Merriam’s Chipmunk Big Basin Activities and Events Berry Creek Falls
The Big Basin activities calendar is comprised primarily of hikes led by Big Basin Redwoods State Park volunteer docents on the popular park trails. All docents undergo training in plant communities, animals, cultural and historically significant park events. Hiking with a docent as your guide gives you ready access to knowledge of the local environment.
Peggy O’Shea
Meteor Trail Hike
Ocean View Summit Loop

Friday, August 25 at 2 pm

Join docent, equestrian, certified California Naturalist and avid hiker Peggy O’Shea for one of our most diverse hikes. Travel along mountain streams, by oak woodlands, the Elephant Tree, chaparral and redwoods. You’ll discuss forests, flowers, fires and early park settlers, on this 3.5 hour hike. This is a challenging 800 foot ascent on the Meteor Trail, home to some of Big Basin’s tallest redwoods to Middle Ridge Road and Ocean View Summit. It is rewarded with a view across the Waddell Valley to the Pacific Ocean.

From Ocean View Summit the abandoned fire lookout at Eagle Rock, Buzzard’s Roost, Mt. McAbee, Whitehouse Canyon Road and Chalk Mountain are visible while we enjoy lunch. Completing this loop, it’s downhill back to park headquarters on Dool Trail or Gazos Creek Road. Bring water, lunch, sun protection and good hiking shoes. Meet Peggy at Park Headquarters.
Albino Redwood Tree
Special Guest Campfire Program
Unique Coast Redwoods in Big Basin

Friday, August 25 at 7 pm

Join extreme tree-trekker Zane Moore, botany undergraduate student at Colorado State University and redwood researcher as he discusses Big Basin’s Redwoods from seed to tall tree. Hear Zane speak about the tallest tree in the world south of San Francisco which happens to be located in Big Basin. He will also discuss the extremely rare albino redwoods, pictured to the left, what we do and don’t know about this genetic expression. Meet Zane at the Campfire Center.

Zane will be giving a walk on Saturday, August 26 at 12:30 showing how scientists measure these tall trees.
Redwood Trail, Redwood Loop
Redwood Loop Walk

Saturday, August 26 at 11 am and 2 pm - Norm
Sunday, August 27 at 11 am and 2 pm - Nan
Saturday, September 2 at 11 am and 2 pm - Hal
Sunday, September 3 at 11 am and 2 pm - Nan
Monday, September 4 at 11 am and 2 pm - Norm
Friday, September 8 at 11 am and 2 pm - Hal
Saturday, September 9 at 11 am and 2 pm - Mike W.
Sunday, September 10 at 11 am and 2 pm - Michael S.
Saturday, September 16 at 11 am and 2 pm - Barry
Sunday, September 17 at 11 am and 2 pm - Barry
Friday, September 22 at 11 am and 2 pm - Hal
Saturday, September 23 at 11 am and 2 pm - Barry
Sunday, September 24 at 11 am and 2 pm - Barry
Thursday, September 28 at 11 am and 2 pm - Hal

Sequoia sempervirens also known as Coast redwoods or California redwoods are the tallest trees on earth. Once the dominate tree of the northern hemisphere, their linage running back 200 million years to the time of the dinosaurs. Restricted to the California coast by the last ice age 20 million years ago, extensive logging beginning around 1850 cut down 95% of this primal forest. Join us for this fun and informative guided stroll on the Redwood Trail as it passes along Opal Creek and through an old-growth redwood forest.

Meet the famous Mother Tree, the Father of the Forest, the Animal Tree and the Chimney Tree on this 90 minute, level 0.6 mile walk. Trail guides are also available at the trailhead should you wish to do this as a self-guided loop. The “walk” is also available via Google Street View, and headquarters along with the museum have free WiFi. Stroller and wheelchair accessible. Meet at Park Headquarters next to the flag pole.
South American Boa Constrictor
Snakes Alive

Saturday, August 26 from 12–3 pm
Saturday, September 23 from 12–3 pm

Come to the Sempervirens Room, meet herpetologist Diane Shaw and learn about the fascinating world of snakes. Stop by anytime between noon and 3 pm to meet the snakes and talk to Diane. She’ll let you know why are snakes important, how they see, smell, taste and hear. You can find out for yourself what a snake feels like and learn how they can be useful if you’re troubled by small ocelots and you happen to live in Bolivia. Otherwise, don’t get one. Meet Diane at Park Headquarters.
Ridge Road in Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Discover Big Basin Hike

Saturday, August 26 at 12 pm
Sunday, August 27 at 12 pm
Saturday, September 2 at 12 pm
Sunday, September 3 at 12 pm
Saturday, September 9 at 12 pm
Sunday, September 10 at 12 pm

Explore the park’s most scenic wilderness back-country with docent naturalist Barry Grimm. The route, mileage and elevation gain will be chosen based on the participant’s experience level, weather and trail conditions. The pace will be moderate - with short stops to learn about the redwood forest’s plants, animals and native peoples.

Bring water and shoes that are suitable for primitive foot trails. Meets at the park headquarters flag pole. Rain does not cancel this hike.
Tall Coastal Redwood, Sequoia sempervirens
Measuring Tall Trees

Saturday, August 26 at 12:30 pm

How do you measure the tallest trees in the world? Join Zane Moore, a redwood researcher, to learn about measuring these tall trees. Zane will show you how scientists determine the height, diameter, volume, and ages of these trees. We will look at the history and then at the future direction of tree measurement including direct tape drop, camera and 3D imaging, laser rangefinders, and drones.

If you’re looking to clear cut a forest, apply for research grants, or just want to discuss the benefits of the "sine top/sine bottom method" at parties, then this walk is for you. One mile, 90-minute walk will take us to where technology and trees intertwine, because that’s where the fun is. Meet Zane at Park Headquarters.
North Escape Road Dog Walking
The Road Less Traveled
Dog-Friendly Walk

Sunday, August 27 at 9:30 am

Travel on North Escape Road, a paved road the second half of which is closed to motor traffic as Diane Shaw guides you on a tour through stunning old-growth redwood groves along beautiful Opal Creek to the informational kiosk and picnic area. We’ll discuss redwood ecology and park history while exploring the deep shade of the redwood forest.

This is a fun, easy, three-mile, two-hour roundtrip walk. You and your dog can continue to explore along the road if you wish or turn around at any point. You are not required to have a dog on this walk, but they are welcome. Bring water for both you and your dog, a doo bag and meet Diane at Park Headquarters.

Santa Cruz Sentinel Article
Diane Shaw, Eva Fewel, Paul Fewel on Chalk Mountain, Big Basin
Tuesday Nature Hikes

Tuesday, August 29 at 9 am
Tuesday, September 5 at 9 am
Tuesday, September 12 at 9 am
Tuesday, September 19 at 9 am
Tuesday, September 26 at 9 am
Tuesday, October 3 at 9 am

Docents Diane Shaw, Paul and Eva Fewel lead these serendipitous, varied mid-week hikes. Learn about the animals, plants, talking trees, history and geology of Big Basin and the Santa Cruz Mountains. Hikes are 5–8 miles and last up to 5 hours but you can wonder off and explore on your own at any time. We go rain or shine, rain brings out the sparkle in suspended water droplets, many small streams and creeks, tiny mushrooms, banana slugs and salamanders. To avoid being squished, strong winds cancel the hike. Mornings can be cool and the afternoons warm, so dress in layers. The group meets at Park Headquarters.
Buzzard’s Roost on Pine Mountain in Big Basin
Hike to Buzzard’s Roost

Saturday, September 2 at 10 am

Use your hiking muscles on this challenging 5-mile, 1,200′ elevation gain, 4-hour round trip on the Pine Mountain Trail to Buzzard’s Roost. Join survival instructor, mountaineer and certified California Naturalist Steve Stolper for a hike to the dramatic rock formation of Buzzard’s Roost. Beginning in the redwoods along Opal Creek this hike ascends the side of the East Waddell Creek Watershed into the knobcone pines at the ridge with Scott Creek Watershed giving you a commanding view of Big Basin and the buzzards circling overhead.

After a relaxed lunch on the rocks, we take a few pictures with the roost as our backdrop and return to headquarters. Bring at least one liter of water, relaxed lunch, snacks, sunscreen and appropriate clothing. Rain cancels as portions of the trail have rocky ascents which become slippery. Meet Steve at the Park Headquarters building next to the flag pole.
Ohlone Native American Dancer
A Walk in the Past

Saturday, September 2 at 10 am

How did the Ohlone Indians flourish for thousands of years and who led to their destruction? Take a walk with certified California Naturalist Eva Fewel and learn about some of the plants and animals the Ohlone used for food. How they made tool of stones, bones, shells and how they were used. Learn of their illnesses and medical treatments on this 2.5 hour, 3.5 mile round trip, 130 feet elevation gain walk. Travel the Sequoia Trail to the ancient Ohlone bedrock mortars, Sempervirens Falls and Slippery Rock. Learn about traditional acorn processing techniques and try these techniques yourself. Meet Eva at Park Headquarters.

A brief introduction on Ohlone culture can be found at:
Monterey County Historical Society
Paul Fewel, Logging Demonstration
Felling the Giants

Saturday, September 2 at 11:30 am

Logging was the major industry in the Santa Cruz Mountains for over 50 years. What tools did lumbermen cut down these tall trees and what was life like in a logging camp? Join Docent lumberjack Paul Fewel as he tells tall tales of the logging days and demonstrates how loggers were able to fell these giants without chainsaws. Meet Paul at the Old Lodge just off Skid Row.

“Fire, however, is not the worst enemy of the redwood; a greater enemy, and more dangerous, is the greed, the rapacity, the vandalism that would hack and cut and mutilate the grandest, the most magnificent forest that can be found on the face of the globe, the Redwood Forest of the Big Basin.”
—Josephine McCrackin
 The Overland Monthly 1900
Black Tail Buck
Junior Rangers

Saturday, September 2 at 3 pm
Sunday, September 3 at 3 pm
Monday, September 4 at 11 am
Saturday, September 30 at 3 pm

Discover the fascinating secrets of the forest with Park Interpreter Susan Blake. Explore, practice outdoor skills and play games as you learn about plants, animals, geology, and more. This one-hour program is for kids ages 7–12. Sorry parents, this program is for kids only! Please register your child at the Nature Lodge, next to the camp store, 15 minutes before the program begins. Please be sure your child is dressed for active play in the outdoors.
Black-tail fawn
Big Basin Nature Club

Saturday, September 2 at 4:30 pm
Sunday, September 3 at 4:30 pm
Monday, September 4 at 10:00 am
Saturday, September 30 at 4:30 pm

This fun program is for children ages 3–6 and their families. Pretend, play, story telling, sing and explore. This half-hour program will introduce youngsters to the wonders of the redwood forest and the animals that call it their home. Meet Park Interpreter Susan Blake at the Nature Lodge next to the camp store.
Evening Campfire Program
Campfire Program

Saturday, September 2 at 7 pm
Sunday, September 3 at 7 pm

Join Big Basin Interpreter Rhiannon or Susan at the historic campfire center for an evening of song and story. Serenade the glittering stars and learn about redwood ecology, creatures of the forest and listen to stories of the park while relaxing as twilight envelops the towering trees.

Fire lighting and marshmallow roasting (we provide the marshmallows and sticks) starts at 7:00 pm and the program begins at 7:30 pm. The campfire amphitheater is wheelchair and stroller accessible. Good dogs on a leash are always welcome. Bring insect repellent and meet at the Campfire Center across Highway 236 from Park Headquarters.
Acorn Grinding
Ocean Views and Waterfalls
Meteor/Sequoia Trail Loop

Sunday, September 3 at 10 am

Join Docent Diane Shaw on one of her favorite hikes. You will see an ocean view, waterfalls, wildflowers, massive trees, interesting geology, historic sites. This 7-mile tour is one of our most diverse hikes in Big Basin. Bring plenty of water and food. Meet Diane at Park Headquarters.
Madrone tree on Middle Ridge Road, Big Basin
Meteor Trail Hike
Ocean View Summit Loop

Wednesday, September 6 at 10:30 am
Monday, September 25 at 10:30 am

Join Certified Naturalist Hal Anjo on one of our most diverse hikes by mountain streams, oak woodlands, the Elephant Tree, chaparral and redwoods. You’ll discuss forests, flowers, fires, early park settlers, and why the uphill portion seems longer than the downhill portion on this six-mile, four hour hike.

This somewhat strenuous 700 foot ascent to Ocean View Summit, is rewarded on a clear day with a view across the Waddell Valley to the Pacific Ocean. A short 100 foot ascent to the ridge and then down along Rodgers Creek on the Meteor Trail, home to Big Basin’s two tallest redwood trees and interesting mushrooms. Bring water, lunch, good hiking shoes and sun protection. Meet Hal at Park Headquarters.
Sunset Trail Storm Damage
Volunteer with the Trail Crew

Saturday, September 9 at 9 am
Saturday, October 14 at 9 am
Saturday, November 11 at 9 am
Saturday, December 9 at 9 am

Big Basin Volunteer Trail Crew makes it possible for others to safely enjoy the beauty of our park by clearing fallen trees and making other repairs to the trails. Join crew leaders Norm Beeson, Mike Peasland and a dedicated group of volunteers for a unique perspective of Big Basin, in a lively and productive experience with others who share a love of these redwood forests.

A typical workday lasts until mid-afternoon, rain or shine. The tasks are diverse and the locations are sometimes far flung. Please bring your own work gloves, lunch, snacks and water, tools will be provided. Planning for the day takes place at nine, this is the time to have all your questions answered. Children are welcome, but must have a responsible adult or parent attending them at all times. Meet Mike and Norm in the parking area in front of the bathrooms adjoining Park Headquarters.
Manzanita Flower
Wildflower Walk

Saturday, September 9 at 9 am

Join California Naturalist, Kathy Willott and learn to identify many of Big Basin’s species of native mosses, lichens, fungi, wildflowers and plants. Discuss the diverse terrain, natural ecosystems and human impact on this four mile, three hour walk. Bring water and lunch. Meet Kathy at Park Headquarters.
Fly's mouth
Dinosaurs in the Redwoods
Journeying Through Time

Saturday, September 9 at 10:30 am

Imagine yourself back in the time of the dinosaurs. It’s easy on this walk where we’ll see some of the very same plants that lived on earth during the Mesozoic Era. Discuss what survived from the distant past and why. This one-hour program is designed for school age kids, but anyone who can make the fairly flat one-mile walk is welcome. Docents Micki Downs and Maura McNamara will share child-friendly redwood information and activities along a beautiful trail.

Then, some free play time in an awesome redwood fairy ring will give the adults a chance to explore deeper forest issues such as history, logging, climate change, redwoods and glaciers. End the program with a short, fun tribute to the dinosaurs (whose 165 million winning streak makes them a top contender in the survivor game). Meet Maura and Micki at Park Headquarters.
Silver Falls, Big Basin
Berry Creek Falls Hike

Sunday, September 10 at 9:30 am

Join Docent Bill Rhoades as he guides you on this seven-hour signature hike. Travel along the famed Skyline to the Sea Trail through shady redwood canyons and climb dry ridges as you experience a wide range of habitats on this strenuous 11 mile hike to 65′ Berry Creek Falls. Berry Creek was named after lumberman Tilford Berry who had a cabin near the base of the falls. He vanished only to reappear thirty years later the victim of sudden onset intercrainal lead poisoning and then vanished again, never to reappear.

Continue on the Berry Creek Trail to Silver Falls, Lower Cascades, Upper Cascades and Golden Falls see first hand the effects the March storms had on the redwood forest. Bring lots of water, lunch and wear layers. Meet Bill at Park Headquarters.
Ancient Redwoods
Grandparent’s Day Walk

Sunday, September 10 at 1 pm

Take a leisurely walk to Big Basin’s Grandparent Tree as we celebrate all our Grandparents on this special day. Join Docent Norm Beeson on a walk through ancient redwoods and marvel at their beauty and timelessness. Grandparents, parents and children are all welcome! Meet Norm at Park Headquarters.
Merriam Chipmunk
Story Time Walk

Saturday, September 16 from 1–1:30 pm

Bring the whole family and join docent Norm Beeson for a walking story time. Starting at Park Headquarters, walk through ancient redwoods while reading a story about an animal, forest, bird or insect. We’ll stop and read one page, walk a bit then read the next page until we finish the story. We’ll end up at the historic campfire circle and gather for Nature’s Reading Room, where you can choose from a wide variety of books about trees, animals, birds, bugs and more for the whole family to read together. Meet Norm at Park Headquarters.
Gray squirrel reading a book about squirrels
Nature’s Reading Room

Saturday, September 16 from 1:30–3:30 pm

Come sit in the circle of ancient redwoods, nature’s reading room, and choose a book or two to read with your family. Drop by anytime between one and three in the afternoon and literary critic and docent Norm Beeson will help you find the perfect book for your family to enjoy. With a little cajoling he’ll even read it to you. Nature’s Reading Room is a favorite playground for chipmunks and is located in the campfire center across Highway 236 from Park Headquarters.
Bay Area Orienteering Club, Big Basin
Bay Area Orienteering Club

Sunday, September 17 at 9 am

BAOC invites you to experience the thrill of orienteering amid the glorious forests of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California’s first state park and home to some of the most magnificent groves of Sequoia sempervirens found anywhere. Discover the outdoors and discover yourself! In orienteering, "the thinking sport", you use a map and compass to navigate a course through unfamiliar terrain. People of all ages enjoy orienteering as a leisurely walk in the woods or as a competitive cross-country race. Teams of 1 to 5 find checkpoints in parks and wilderness areas using specially-produced maps.

All are welcome at our events - runners, joggers, hikers, and walkers. In orienteering, you use a map and a compass to locate a series of points shown on a specialized topo map, choosing routes on or off trail that will help you find all the points and get to the finish in the shortest amount of time. Each point, or "control", is a distinctly mapped feature, such as a stream junction, boulder, or hilltop, and is marked with an orange-and-white flag, or "bag". Meet at the intersection of Gazos Creek Road and North Escape Road. Additional information available on the BAOC Website.
Hal Anjo
Outlook from Mt. McAbee

Wednesday, September 20 at 10:30 am
Saturday, September 30 at 10:30 am

Join docent Hal Anjo on a hike to McAbee Outlook also known as the Wheat Overlook. We’ll follow the Howard King Trail gaining 750 feet in elevation in three miles, learning about the different habitats as the environment changes as we climb. At the top we stop to enjoy the ocean view down through the East Waddell Creek Valley and have a quick lunch before returning through a beautiful old-growth redwood forest along Hihn Hammond Road. The hike is six miles and about three and a half hours. Bring plenty of water, lunch, snacks and good hiking shoes. Meet Hal at Park Headquarters.

Martinez News-Gazette Article
Debris Stove and Coffee Pot for Coffee Talk
Coffee Talk and Crafts

Saturday, September 23 from 9:30–12 - Norm

Come to the Sempervirens Room in the Park Headquarters building for complimentary morning cup of camp coffee or hot chocolate around the stone fireplace in the park’s historic visitor center. This is a great way to start your day in Big Basin. Big Basin docent barista Norm Beeson or Kathy Willott will be happy to answer your questions about the park and help get you going on the right trail.

There’s a fun craft activity for the kids, nature and historical displays, information desk with handouts, a raised relief map of Big Basin showing trails and a multimedia kiosk that displays trail information, events calendar and park photography.

Sempervirens Falls
Sempervirens Falls Hike

Saturday, September 23 from 10:30 am

This beautiful hike takes you over Slippery Rock by Sempervirens Waterfall, Ohlone grinding rocks and Founder’s Monument, the birthplace of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Join certified California Naturalist Hal Anjo on this 4–mile, 3–hour hike. Bring water and snacks. Meet Hal at Park Headquarters
Chipmunks prefer Android Tablets
Big Basin Founders’ Day
Redwood Jubilee

Saturday, September 30 at 9 am

Celebrate the wild heritage of Big Basin Redwoods State Park with a day of special events. A melodrama with the forest as our theater, a timeline tree, games for kids and a special evening campfire program as we honor the Visionaries, Valued Workers and Visitors that have shaped the character of the Big Basin over the past 115+ years.

Exhilarate in the beauty of the majestic old growth forest that inspired men and women to Save the Redwoods. There will be events throughout the day with the schedule posted in front of the Sempervirens’ Room at Park Headquarters.
Missing Arm of William W. Waddell Raccoon
The Missing Arm of William Waddell

Saturday, October 21 at 6:30 pm

History plays out along the Redwood Trail as the true tale of the missing arm of William Waddell unfolds. Enjoy the redwoods on a fall night with music, storytelling and roasted apples with sugar and cinnamon, known in Big Basin as Ranger Apples, around the campfire. Ever loose something while hiking or camping in Big Basin. Find out the real story and who’s had a hand in it’s disappearance in this, fair and balanced, completely nutty, slightly haunting tour around the redwood loop trail. Registration opens at 6:30 pm with CSI fact finding beginning at 7:00 pm.

Please register at Park Headquarters to receive your departure time and as an aid to search and rescue. Small groups depart every 15 minutes into the cryptic primeval forest accompanied by two highly trained and experienced wilderness guides. Once you cross over to the other side of the spooky Redwood Trail sign post you’ll be entering the land of the paranormal, of Fairy Rings, the headless Iron Ranger, and the side of the Redwood Loop where the frightening truth will be revealed. This is the home of the no longer missing Arm of William W. Waddell and the California Grizzly who took it.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park Headquarters

Questions about Big Basin
or becoming a Docent
Susan Blake
State Park Interpreter
(831) 338‒8883
Big Basin Resources

Scroll to top


Webpage comments
Photos Copyright 2017
Kurt Leal
Website Administrator
(831) 704‒6855