Sunset Trail to Berry Creek Falls to Skyline to Sea Trail
10.5 miles RT; 6 hours; strenuous
Berry Creek Falls is a gorgeous 60-foot waterfall worth checking out, and the process of getting there gives visitors an opportunity to really take in a great deal of the park’s diverse habitat, not to mention two other waterfalls on the way, Golden Cascade Falls and Silver Falls. Hiking in Santa Cruz Mountain territory can be challenging, and that's the case here. This isn’t an easy hike, so plan an entire day to do it—otherwise you’ll be hiking in the dark.
Though this trail is open year-round, it can get flooded in the rainy season, so check with at the park headquarters to make sure the trail is accessible before heading out.
Start at Park Headquarters and follow the Sunset Trail, which crosses the Middle Ridge Fire Road and goes downhill through a serene redwood forest. You’ll cross Waddell Creek via foot bridge and go back uphill where the trail intersects with Timms Creek Trail. Here the trail gets steeper (and very difficult) and ultimately leads to a clearing. Take a moment to drink in the view of the valley. It’s your brief reward for all the hard work getting there.
Shortly thereafter, the Berry Creek Falls Trail begins and takes you past Golden Cascade Falls and Silver Falls. The view opens up and gets more beautiful the closer you get to Berry Creek Falls. The trail eventually heads down to a viewing platform where you can get a good look at the falls (and most likely run into several day hikers). After a short break, turn left and cross a bridge. You’ll be on the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail. You cross one more bridge and climb up through a very lush, otherworldly forest. Continue straight up the hill to get back to headquarters. By the time you reach Middle Ridge Road you’ll be beat, but it’s a short downhill from there to get back to the park headquarters.
Back to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.