Hike The Great Park: Ocean View Summit

This Big Basin hike offers a stunning summit-to-sea perspective on the Great Park, a 200-square-mile swath of Santa Cruz Mountain redwood forest.

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Sept. 19, 2014—September's weather couldn't be better, the trails are clean and dry and the days are still on the longish side (for now). The Great Park is calling!

If you hike or bike in the redwoods around Santa Cruz, chances are you've already spent some time in the Great Park. It extends from the summit to the sea in a 200-square-mile swath of redwood forest and associated ecosystems that starts at Pescadero and runs south to Wilder Ranch State Park. About 75% of it is already protected from development; the rest will be soon, if conservationists have anything to say about it.

Want to know more? Read about the Great Park here.

It's a treasure we're lucky to have, so get out and explore it! The Ocean View Summit hike in Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a dandy way to start. When you stand at the craggy, sunny high point of the hike and look down toward Waddell Beach and the rest of the dramatic North County coastline, most of what you can see lies inside the Great Park.

Here's a little taste of what's in store on this 4.5-mile, 3-hour tromp, from Hilltromper's own pages:

"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." —Read the rest at Ocean View Summit Hike.

Remember to bring water, a snack and layers (a warm hat goes a long way when the late-afternoon cool sets in). Afterward, tell us about it and post a photo below!

About The Great Park

The Great Park has no entrance kiosk or employee uniform, but it's as real as can be. Writer L. Clark Tate puts it this way: "The Great Park is Sempervirens Fund’s bid to achieve its ultimate goal to preserve a fully functioning redwood ecosystem in perpetuity ... it will link preexisting parks (such as Big Basin, Wilder Ranch and the 8,500-acre San Vicente Redwoods) in a mixed-use matrix including wild lands, recreation areas and working forests."

Intrigued? Find out more about the Great Park.

About Sempervirens Fund

The club now known as Sempervirens Fund was founded in 1900 to protect the old-growth trees of Big Basin—what eventually became the first park in the California state park system. Fueled by the passion of individuals as well as foundations and green-minded corporations, Sempervirens Fund has leveraged tens of millions of dollars to protect redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Read more about Sempervirens Fund here.