Big Basin Redwoods
Guide

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Introduction

The beauty of California redwood country is unmatchable. The fern and huckleberry covered forest floor lead skyward to the towering iconic Coast Redwood trees, and together they create a scene like that out of the iconic dreamscapes of literature and movies. RVers, campers, and other guests plan trips to the California Redwood forest to feel a part of some of the most desired areas in the United States. Staying near the redwood forest is often the dream of RVers, and Big Basin Redwoods State Park, located in California’s Santa Cruz County, can provide the accommodations of RVers' imaginations.

The ancient coast redwoods are the most massive trees on earth, and the preservation of the forest’s entire ecology is paramount. Conservationists and ecologists recognize the need to keep the redwoods and the surrounding forest protected, and many of these organizations partner together to ensure the legacy of the area will remain intact. The activities and recreation in the park center around the needs of preservation, so guests will find opportunities to educate themselves while enjoying the grandeur of the trees.

Big Basin State Park is California’s oldest state park. The park has many areas that allow people of all abilities to access and enjoy the facilities. Aside from camping, guests will find an abundance of outdoor activities to participate in like special guided events, hands-on activities and classes, hiking, biking, and water-based recreation.

RV Rentals in Big Basin Redwoods

Transportation in Big Basin Redwoods

Driving

Big Basin State Park is located 31 miles southwest of San Jose and 62 miles south of San Francisco, California. RVers should take driving precautions nearing the park because all of the roads leading into Big Basin are curvy.

RVs and other vehicles must register at Park Headquarters and purchase a daily use pass. The pass is an additional fee added to the cost of camping. Please display your valid receipt on the windshield before parking.

RVs should only park in designated parking areas.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Big Basin Redwoods

Campsites in Big Basin Redwoods

Reservations camping

Sempervierens Campground

The Sempervierens Campground is a seasonally operating campground that allows well-behaved leashed pets. All of the sites are primitive without electrical or water hookups. Drinking water is available from the hydrants located throughout the camping area. Each site has a gravel driveway, a picnic table, a firepit with a grill top, and a food locker. Restrooms with running water and pay showers are located within the campground, and there is a dump station on site, near the year-round campground. This campground accommodates RVs up to 27 feet in length and trailers up to 24 feet in length, with many of the sites having space for even smaller rigs. Quiet hours are between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am, with generators allowed between 10:00am and 8:00 pm.

Huckleberry Campground

The Huckleberry Campground is open year-round and allows well-behaved leashed pets. All of the sites are primitive without electrical or water hookups. Drinking water is available from the hydrants located throughout the camping area. Each site has a gravel driveway, a picnic table, a firepit with a grill top, and a food locker. Restrooms with running water and pay showers are located within the campground, and there is a dump station near the campground entrance. This campground accommodates RVs up to 27 feet in length and trailers up to 24 feet in length, with many of the sites having space for even smaller rigs. Quiet hours are between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am, with generators allowed between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm.

Blooms Creek Campground

Blooms Creek is a seasonally operating campground that allows well-behaved leashed pets. All of the sites are primitive without electrical or water hookups. Drinking water is available from the hydrants located throughout the camping area. Each site has a gravel driveway, a picnic table, a firepit with a grill top, and a food locker. Restrooms with running water and pay showers are located within the campground, and there is a dump station on site, near the year-round campground. This campground accommodates RVs up to 27 feet in length and trailers up to 24 feet in length, with many of the sites having space for even smaller rigs. Quiet hours are between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am, with generators allowed between 10:00am and 8:00 pm.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Big Basin Redwoods

In-Season

Windsurfing, and Kiteboarding

While many guests come to the park to see the redwoods, many other people come to stay near Waddell State Beach. The beach is located across Highway 1, near the park entrance, and it is one of the most popular spots in the world for windsurfing and kitesurfing. If you are an experienced surfer, then trying out the waters of Waddell State Beach will be an exhilarating adventure. This area isn’t a safe place for novice surfers, so it's best to enjoy watching the surfers from the beach if you’ve not tried the sport before.

Biking

Guests who like to ride bikes are permitted to ride bikes within the park, and there are areas of the roadway where road bikers are often seen in groups. Keep in mind that many of the roads are multi-use, and cars share the roadways with the bikes. All bicycle riders under the age of 18 must wear a helmet while riding, and bicycles ridden after dark must have proper illumination. Bikes are not allowed on any of the trails, and they are restricted to paved and fire roads only.

Hiking Trails

One of the best ways to experience the forest is by exploring the area on foot. The park has over 80 miles of roads and trails, with many pathways accommodating strollers and wheelchairs. The park holds guided hikes, but guests don’t have to take a tour to spend time on the trails. Each trail is a little different and offers a unique view of the redwoods. Some trails are rated easy while others are more strenuous and should only be traversed by experienced hikers. Pets and bikes are not allowed on the trails. For exact trail lengths, locations of the trailheads, and other hiking information stop by the Visitor Center for a park and trail map.

Off-Season

Birdwatching

Birdwatchers should bring their bird guides, binoculars, and cameras to try and spot some of the birds that inhabit the area. The bird watching is best near the Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve, located at the mouth of Waddell Creek. The preserve is an excellent birdwatching location because of the coastal freshwater marshland, a natural attractant to different species of birds. The park has a downloadable bird guide and checklist, complete with the best places to see particular species of birds. Download your guide before your trip, or stop by one of the visitor centers for more information.

Special Events

Big Basin Redwood State Parks hosts events throughout the peak season and beyond. The interpretive programs, created with children and adults in mind, are meant to educate and entertain guests of many ages. The events often concentrate on the geology and ecology of the area, and park rangers lead many of the guided and hands-on activities. People who like animals will love some of the classes since they focus on some of the local animals like birds, snakes, and salamanders. For the complete listing of the events taking place during your visit, stop by the Rancho del Oso Nature and History Center.

Visitor Centers

The park has two visitor centers for guests who want to learn more about the park or gather souvenirs, park maps, and other small items. The larger of the two facilities is the Nature and History Center. This building is located on the south side of the Waddell Creek Bridge. The smaller visitor center is the Ranger Station Interpretive Center, and it is located on the north side of the Waddell Creek Bridge. Both centers operate on different hours depending on the season. Be sure to check the operational times as they may vary depending on the time of year.

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