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.
Black Tail Buck
Junior Rangers

Monday, June 26 at 3 pm
Tuesday, June 27 at 3 pm
Thursday, June 29 at 3 pm
Friday, June 30 at 3 pm
Saturday, July 1 at 3 pm
Sunday, July 2 at 3 pm
Monday, July 3 at 3 pm
Tuesday, July 4 at 3 pm
Thursday, July 6 at 3 pm
Friday, July 7 at 3 pm
Saturday, July 8 at 3 pm
Sunday, July 9 at 3 pm
Monday, July 10 at 3 pm
Tuesday, July 11 at 3 pm
Thursday, July 13 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

Monday, June 26 at 4:30 pm
Tuesday, June 27 at 4:30 pm
Wednesday, June 28 at 1:30 pm
Thursday, June 29 at 4:30 pm
Friday, June 30 at 4:30 pm
Saturday, July 1 at 4:30 pm
Sunday, July 2 at 4:30 pm
Monday, July 3 at 4:30 pm
Tuesday, July 4 at 4:30 pm
Wednesday, July 5 at 1:30 pm
Thursday, July 6 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

Monday, June 26 at 7 pm
Tuesday, June 27 at 7 pm
Friday, June 30 at 7 pm
Monday, July 3 at 7 pm
Tuesday, July 4 at 7 pm
Friday, July 7 at 7 pm
Saturday, July 8 at 7 pm
Monday, July 10 at 7 pm
Tuesday, July 11 at 7 pm
Friday, July 14 at 7 pm
Saturday, July 15 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.
Diane Shaw, Eva Fewel, Paul Fewel on Chalk Mountain, Big Basin
Tuesday Nature Hikes

Tuesday, June 27 at 9 am
Tuesday, July 4 at 9 am
Tuesday, July 11 at 9 am
Tuesday, July 18 at 9 am
Tuesday, July 25 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.
Acorn Woodpecker Granary
Animal Detectives Campfire
(tracks, scat, sounds)

Tuesday, June 27 at 5 pm

Can you guess an animal by the signs it leaves? Be a detective: look at the signs of Big Basin animals, and see if you can figure out who left the clues! All are welcome, but this earlier campfire will be geared toward a younger audience. Fire lighting and marshmallows (we provide the sticks and marshmallows) at 5 pm; program begins at 5:30 pm. Wheelchair, stroller accessible. Good dogs welcome! Meet at the Campfire Center across Highway 236 from Park Headquarters and bring insect repellent.
Gray Squirrel
Special Junior Rangers

Wednesday, June 28 at 10:00 am
Wednesday, July 5 at 10:00 am
Wednesday, July 12 at 10:00 am
Wednesday, July 19 at 10:00 am
Wednesday, July 26 at 10:00 am

This two hour special Junior Rangers is for kids ages 7–12 only. We'll be taking a hike, so make sure your Junior Ranger dresses appropriately, with closed-toe shoes. Please register your child 15 minutes before the program with Interpreter Susan Blake at the Nature Lodge.
Stripped Skunk Skull on rabbit pelt
Afternoon Campfire Program

Wednesday, June 28 at 3:30 pm
Wednesday, July 5 at 3:30 pm
Wednesday, July 12 at 3:30 pm
Wednesday, July 19 at 3:30 pm
Wednesday, July 26 at 3:30 pm

Enjoy roasting Ranger Apples and marshmallows along with music and crafts at an early afternoon campfire program with Park Interpreter Susan Blake. Touch the skulls and pelts of Big Basin animals. What can you tell about the lives of the animals from their bones, skulls and pelts? This is a rare opportunity, you would normally only see a lion pelt displayed in a glass case. Seldom would a curator allow you to pet a lion pelt.

Drop by anytime between 3:30 to 5:00 pm at the historic Campfire Center. It's best to arrive early if you plan to roast apples. The picture to the left is of a stripped skunk skull on a rabbit pelt. Courtesy of the Wednesday and Pugsley Addams nature collection.

Information on area mountains lions can be found at the Puma Project and Santa Cruz Pumas.
Alex Tabone Ohlone Indian Food
Native Ohlone Cooking Campfire
Nature’s Supermarket

Thursday, June 29 at 7 pm
Thursday, July 6 at 7 pm
Thursday, July 13 at 7 pm
Thursday, July 20 at 7 pm
Thursday, July 27 at 7 pm

How would a Quiroste Ohlone mother make dinner Big Basin 500 years ago? No microwave, no Zojirushi rice cooker with fuzzy logic, not even an induction cook top. Lucky for the Ohlone moms these necessities weren’t necessary. Join Ranger Alex Tabone as he takes a look at Nature’s Supermarket and makes dinner the way it was done by the native Ohlone people 500 years ago.

Following a song to the Tanoak Tree, an offering of a broad-leaved herb to the fire, you get to taste Ranger Tabone’s creation. Meet Alex at the Campfire Center across Highway 236 from Park Headquarters and bring insect repellent.
Ohlone Native American Dancer
A Walk in the Past

Saturday, July 1 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
Redwood Trail, Redwood Loop
Redwood Loop Walk

Saturday, July 1 at 11 am and 2 pm - Norm
Sunday, July 2 at 11 am and 2 pm - Barry
Monday, July 3 at 11 am and 2 pm - Barry
Tuesday, July 4 at 11 am and 2 pm - Barry
Wednesday, July 5 at 11 am and 2 pm - Hal
Saturday, July 8 at 11 am and 2 pm - Barry
Sunday, July 9 at 11 am and 2 pm - Kathy E.
Thursday, July 13 at 11 am and 2 pm - Hal
Saturday, July 15 at 11 am and 2 pm - Michael S.
Sunday, July 16 at 11 am and 2 pm - Nan
Thursday, July 20 at 11 am and 2 pm - Hal
Saturday, July 22 at 11 am and 2 pm - Barry
Sunday, July 23 at 11 am and 2 pm - Norm
Saturday, July 29 at 11 am and 2 pm - Barry
Sunday, July 30 at 11 am and 2 pm - Tom R.

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.
Paul Fewel, Logging Demonstration
Felling the Giants

Saturday, July 1 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
Ridge Road in Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Discover Big Basin Hike

Saturday, July 1 at 12 pm
Sunday, July 9 at 12 pm
Saturday, July 15 at 12 pm
Sunday, July 16 at 12 pm
Sunday, July 23 at 12 pm
Sunday, July 30 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.
Emily Bertram recites the Pledge of Allegiance
4th of July Weekend Celebration
Talent Show

Saturday, July 1 at 7 pm

Come and celebrate Independence Day with a campfire, sing-a-long and on the main stage, the world renown Big Basin’s Got Talent show! If you have a skit, poem, song or a talent you’d like to share, sign up at headquarters in advance. All presentations should be appropriate for all ages. Acts should be 3–5 minutes in length.

Actresses, actors, divas and Hollywood talent scouts need to arrive promptly at 7 pm. Campfire lighting and marshmallow roasting (we provide the sticks and marshmallows) begins at 7 pm; theatrical program begins at 7:30 pm in the main amphitheater across Highway 236 from Park Headquarters.
Fly's mouth
Journeying Through Time

Sunday, July 2 at 10:30 pm

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.
Susan Blake lighting the candle for the eyesight adaptation activity.
Twilight Adaptation Adventure

Sunday, July 2 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, July 9 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, July 16 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, July 23 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, July 30 at 7:30 pm

Twilight is the soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon. Adventure is an exploration into the unknown. Put these together and venture into the evening with State Park Interpreter Susan Blake on a walk for the whole family and experience the adventure of the forest during the transition from day to night.

This is the time when crepuscular animals are active, the nocturnal animals awaken and the diurnal animals retire. Experience the heighten sense of hearing, smell and visual adaptations as the light fades. The walk is a 1.5 hours, level, half-mile and wheelchair/stroller accessible. Meet Susan at Park Headquarters.
Peggy O’Shea
Meteor Trail Hike
Ocean View Summit Loop

Friday, July 7 at 10:30 am

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.
Sunset Trail Storm Damage
Volunteer with the Trail Crew

Saturday, July 8 at 9 am
Saturday, August 12 at 9 am
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.
Black tail deer fawns, Mule deer fawns
Hike to Ocean View Summit
Meteor Trail

Saturday, July 8 at 10 am

Escape the crowds on this six-mile, four hour loop through shaded forest to a hilltop view of the West Waddell Valley, and on a clear day, out to the Pacific Ocean. Join California Naturalist and animal tracker Steve Stolper following Opal Creek to the Meteor Trail. Travel by the parks tallest trees along Rogers Creek, gaining 700 feet before emerging at Middle Ridge Road.

Turn south on Middle Ridge Road to Ocean View Summit where you'll enjoy lunch in the company of Merriam's chipmunks, Western fence lizards, and wrentits. After a relaxing break we descend back into the primeval forest watching for animal tracks and return to headquarters on the Dool Trail. Bring at least one liter of water, lunch, snacks, sunscreen and appropriate clothing. Meet Steve at Park Headquarters.
Hal Anjo
Outlook from Mt. McAbee

Sunday, July 9 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
Manzanita Flower
Spring Wildflower Walk

Saturday, July 15 at 9 am

Winter storms brought lots of fallen trees but a whole new flowering season. 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 warm clothing, water and lunch. Meet Kathy at Park Headquarters.
Mule deer fawn
Family Discovery Walk

Saturday, July 15 at 1 pm

Is that an Black-tail fawn or a Mule deer fawn and how do you tell the difference? That’s one of the many questions naturalist Norm Beeson will answer if you ask him on this fun-filled family walk. Investigate the mysteries, marvels and miracles of Big Basin’s phenomena as you walk through the redwood forest. Unearth hidden gems and realizations on this level, one-mile roundtrip walk that lasts 1.5 hours. Bring water, a snack and meet Norm at Park Headquarters.
Madrone tree on Middle Ridge Road, Big Basin
Meteor Trail Hike
Ocean View Summit Loop

Sunday, July 16 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.
North Escape Road Dog Walking
The Road Less Traveled
Dog-Friendly Walk

Saturday, July 22 at 10:30 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
Merriam Chipmunk
Story Time Walk

Saturday, July 22 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, July 22 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.
Sempervirens Falls
Sempervirens Falls Hike

Sunday, July 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
South Bay Storytellers and Listeners
Tales of the Basin
A Storytelling Event

Fryday, July 28 at 7 pm

The oral storytelling tradition comes to life with the ancient redwood forest as a backdrop. An evening campfire program on Friday and events throughout Saturday. Saturdays events include Junior Rangers at 3:00 pm, a one-hour program is designed for kids ages 7–12, register at 2:45. Big Basin “Nature Tails” storytelling program at 4:30 pm, animal stories presented for children of all ages and their families.

Storyteller Showcase at the historic Campfire Center beginning at 7:00 pm. Sit back and experience an old-fashioned evening steeped in oral tradition as our guest storytellers weave their yarns. Come early marshmallow roasting at 6:30. Presented in collaboration with:

South Bay Storytellers and Listeners
weaving our stories into the tapestry of life
Steve Widmark
Here Comes the Sun

Saturday, July 29 from 11 am to 1 pm

Join Steve Widmark of the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club and look through a solar telescope at the Sun. You’ll see sunspots, solar prominences and other features of our closest star as you learn about the parts of the Sun and how it shines. There will be Sun-related activities for the kids. Meet Steve at the Campfire Center across Highway 236 from Park Headquarters.
South American Boa Constrictor
Snakes Alive

Saturday, July 29 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.
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

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