Redwood Trail

Read on if you like: old-growth redwoods, redwood hikes, Big Basin

Half-mile; 30 min.; easy

Though not a long day hike by any means, the wheelchair-accessible Redwood Trail is a must-see for every Big Basin visitor and anyone wishing to experience the full splendor of hiking among Santa Cruz Mountains redwoods. This short loop has several remarkable old-growth redwoods, including the Mother of the Forest (329 feet tall), the Father of the Forest (2,000 years old, pictured) and the massive Santa Clara Tree (17 feet in diameter). The amazement factor of these trees is compounded by the fact that several are hollowed out, allowing for plenty of room to stand inside. If you didn’t already feel small, you will once you try this Alice-in-Wonderland move. Other noteworthy trees are the Chimney Tree, hollowed out by fire damage years ago yet still healthy and vibrant, and the Animal Tree with its cornucopia of shapes made from burls—harmless deformities—that resemble animals.

At the turn of the last century, trees like the ones in this grove inspired the Sempervirens Club (now the Sempervirens Fund) to launch a preservation campaign that in turn led to the creation of the California state parks system. The California Redwood Park opened in 1902 and was later renamed Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

The trailhead is by the parking lot across from the park headquarters.

—Aaron Carnes

Ten Amazing Facts About Redwoods
Ocean View Summit Hike
Sequoia Trail

Back to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.