4 miles; 2 hours; easy to moderate
Sequoia Trail to Sempervirens Falls to Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail
If you want to take in old-growth Santa Cruz Mountains redwoods while getting a fairly lengthy hike in the process, the Sequoia Trail is a good place to start. It’s one of the oldest trails in the park and doesn’t involve a whole lot of hill-climbing.
Sequoia Trail begins at park headquarters, just beyond the parking spaces. Right off the bat, you walk through a large group of old-growth redwoods—perhaps one of the most beautiful clusters found in the park. As you hike, the redwoods get smaller until you reach the Wastahi Campground, where the trail opens up and a spur to the right takes you to a viewing platform of 20-foot Sempervirens Falls. Just a short way from there, the trail disappears into a large exposed slab of Miocene sandstone known as Slippery Rock. As the name suggests, it’s pretty slick, especially when wet. (Those algae can make it tough to maintain traction.)
At the top of Slippery Rock take a moment to take in the sights before heading back downhill. The trail crosses Big Basin Road, gradually moving back into the shade of the redwood trees. What a welcome sight they are. When you reach the North Escape Road, you’ve reached the end of the Sequoia Trail. After crossing a bridge, turn left and you’ll be on the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail. After a short climb, you’ll walk past the Maddock Cabin, built in 1883, and you once again see many more (and much larger) redwood trees. You’ll cross another bridge that takes you to the parking lot and back to park headquarters.
Back to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.