Ocean View Summit Hike


Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail to Meteor Trail to Middle Ridge Fire Road to Sunset Trail
4.5 miles; 3 hours; moderate; 700 feet elev. gain

As redwood hikes in Santa Cruz County go, this is one of the most manageable and varied. The trail from Big Basin park headquarters to Ocean View Summit leads past massive redwoods, a jewel of a creek, a patch of sun-blasted chaparral with a sightline to the sea and graceful stands of Douglas fir before easing back down into the cool of an old-growth redwood forest. It’s an enchanting way to see what this magnificent park has to offer without signing up for the skeeters, blisters and general exertion of the whole Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail enchilada. The hike starts at 1000 feet and climbs to almost 1700 feet, peaking at Ocean View Summit.

Start at park headquarters and cross Opal Creek, either on the Skyline to the Sea Trail bridge or, if you’re parked in the northern part of the park, the Gazos Creek Road bridge (if you take the latter, note the combo of giant redwood on the left and giant Douglas fir on the right, kind of an interspecies welcoming gate. It’s a theme.). Turn north on Skyline to the Sea Trail right on the other side of the bridge. It follows beautiful Opal Creek for about 1.5 miles, passing old-growth redwoods and firs, lots of bracken fern and a tangle of tanoak understory. The creek itself is a sight, strangely milky and a lovely shade of aquamarine with golden- and reddish-brown sunlit shallows. Pass the Maddock Cabin site and continue until you reach Meteor Trail, which heads left and up the hill, following Rodgers Creek.

Meteor Trail climbs steadily for about ¾ of a mile through classic Santa Cruz Mountains redwood forest: ferns, sorrel, cool moisture in the air and soft duff underfoot. Late winter will bring a few shade-loving wildflowers like milk-maids. When you pop out into dappled sunshine on the ridge, it feels like walking into a party. Follow that party to your destination by going left on Middle Ridge Fire Road, which you’ll follow for the next 1.5 miles. Blessed with plenty of light and sure footing, the trees up here on the ridge are spectacular; even tanoaks, usually scrubby and leggy in the presence of redwoods, have a chance to become beautiful here. Glimpses through the trees of the view to the right give you a sense of the treat you’re in for.

About .5 miles after turning onto Middle Ridge Road you’ll notice the terrain changes abruptly from mixed evergreen forest to chaparral. (At the border of these two biomes is a lovely stand of wild iris lining the road; look for it to bloom mid-March through mid-May.) Manzanita, sticky monkeyflower, yerba santa and knobcone pine rule the world now, and it’s very sunny and probably hot (very hot if it’s summer). Soon you arrive at Ocean View Summit, with views all the way to Waddell Beach at the park’s far end. It’s a nice spot for lunch.

Leaving Ocean View Summit behind, you’ll pass a gorgeous stand of Douglas firs, not especially old but very beautiful, and a number of nice oak and madrones. Around the intersection with Dool Trail, the Middle Ridge Fire Road’s downhill grade steepens. Here you’ll see some gobsmacking old-growth redwoods if you stop and take a look. A trio of massive flattops off to the left is worth looking out for.

Poor park signage makes the next part a little tricky. Middle Ridge Fire Road intersects with Gazos Creek Fire Road, a perfectly respectable way to head back to park HQ if you’ve had enough grandeur for one day. But we prefer to jog right on Gazos Creek Fire Road, pick up the continuation of Middle Ridge Fire Road at the top of a slight incline, turn left and immediately start watching for the Sunset Trail. Turn left again and follow the trail another mile or so to headquarters. This cool, pleasant path eases you through a whole pie shop’s worth of huckleberry and leads past some nice big trees. It hooks up with Skyline to the Sea Trail to lead you back to the parking lot.

Back to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

Huckleberry Hounds
Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail Report
Ten Amazing Facts About Redwoods

Field Notes

Plant your flag! Upload a photo, video, field note, nature poem or question for our army of (mostly) amateur naturalists.


“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”  apple login online sbi bobibanking “The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” andhra bank login aipmt pan card status govt jobs neet 2017 admit card ignou admit card jee main result jee advanced application form “Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.” ipu gate result mpanchayat annamalai university hall ticket axis bank net banking bitsat admit card car insurance companies in india corporation net banking ctet appplication form cusat cat result “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.” denaiconnect goacet admit card hdfccreditcardlogin icicibanklogin idbinetbanking passport login uco bank net banking ubi corporate login vnet banking up polytechnic engineering entrance exam “Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.”  pnb internet banking epfo member portal sbhonline boi up scholarship student name list cbse result 2017 baou result dmrc recharge “Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.” 


Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation. icloud login onlinesbi bob net banking The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”  andhra bank net banking aipmt result gst login income tax login jobs villa neet 2017 ignou jee main jee advanced 2017 “If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.” ipu cet gate 2017 result annamalai university axis bank login bitsat 2017 cheap car insurance corporation bank net banking ctet cusat cat “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”  dena bank login goacet hdfcnetbanking icici net banking login idbi net banking lic login passport seva login ucoebanking unionbankonline vijaya bank net banking jeecup entrance exam “Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” pnb net banking uan member portal onlinesbh boi net banking scholarship in india cbse result sol du boau exam 2017 metro card recharge “Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”