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.
Redwood Loop Walk
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
Sunday, October 1 at 11 am and 2 pm - Hal
Saturday, October 7 at 11 am and 2 pm - Norm
Sunday, October 8 at 11 am and 2 pm - TBD
Saturday, October 14 at 11 am and 2 pm - Hal
Sunday, October 15 at 11 am and 2 pm - Michael S.
Saturday, October 21 at 11 am and 2 pm - TBD
Sunday, October 22 at 11 am and 2 pm - Kathy E.
Saturday, October 28 at 11 am and 2 pm - Mike W.
Sunday, October 29 at 11 am and 2 pm - Nan
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.
Saturday, September 23 from 9:30–12 - Norm
Saturday, October 7 from 9–12 - Kathy
Sunday, October 8 from 9–12 - Micki
Saturday, October 21 from 9:30–12:30 - Norm
Saturday, October 28 from 9:30–12:30 - 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.
Saturday, September 23 from 12–3 pm
Saturday, October 28 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.
Tuesday, September 26 at 9 am
Tuesday, October 3 at 9 am
Tuesday, October 10 at 9 am
Tuesday, October 17 at 9 am
Tuesday, October 24 at 9 am
Tuesday, October 31 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.
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.
Outlook from Mt. McAbee
Saturday, September 30 at 10:30 am
Saturday, October 15 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.
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.
Big Basin Nature Club
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.
The Road Less Traveled Dog-Friendly Walk
Sunday, October 1 at 9:30 am
Sunday, October 22 at 9:30 am
Sunday, October 29 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.
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:
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.
Felling the Giants
Saturday, October 7 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.”
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.
Spooky or Not Spooky!
Saturday, October 14 at 11:30 am
Saturday, October 28 at 11:30 am
A special walk for Halloween! Examine some forest creatures and their habitat. We'll ask questions like, "What lives in all of the little holes in the ground?" Come along and you can help decide if something is Spooky or Not Spooky if you dare! Geared for children, this is an easy one-hour walk. Meet Maura and Micki at Park Headquarters.
Berry Creek Falls Hike
Sunday, October 15 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.
Start from in front of the general store at park headquarters. Plan to arrive by 9:45 to allow time for parking, fees, rest stop, etc. Big Basin docent and certified California Naturalist Peggy O’Shea will be guiding us on a loop from park headquarters up to a lunch stop at Buzzard’s Roost. Then back via Tanbark Loop and Eastridge Trail. Meet hike leader Monica Lodge at the general camp store across Highway 236 from Park Headquarters. If you wish to hike fast and get back early, this is not the hike for you. Mellow hikers welcomed.
Sierra Singleaires are Sierra Club members, generally over 50 and single, but open to all, who are interested in furthering conservation activities as well as participating in weekend hikes, cycling, backpacking, car camping trips, snow activities and other events. Guests are always welcome on our scheduled hikes.
Saturday, October 21 at 10 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.
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.
Questions about Big Basin or becoming a Docent contact: Susan Blake State Park Interpreter (831) 338‒8883