Big Basin Redwoods Launches Free Summer Shuttle Service for Weekends and Holidays

As the Memorial Day weekend approaches, California State Parks and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks have announced a series of enhancements to improve access to Big Basin Redwoods State Park for the busy summer season. These improvements include a new pilot shuttle program, an interim parking area, and weekend bus service by Santa Cruz METRO.

The newly introduced State Parks shuttle will operate within Big Basin Redwoods State Park, running on a loop from a new interim satellite parking area at Saddle Mountain to the main day-use area near the park’s former headquarters. This service aims to augment the existing reservation parking at the historic core of the park, significantly improving day-use access during the interim period as permanent facilities are being developed following the devastating 2020 CZU Fire.

The shuttle, which can accommodate 14 passengers and is ADA-accessible with a bike rack for two bicycles, will be operational from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays starting Memorial Day weekend, May 25, 2024, through Labor Day, September 2, 2024. Visitors can make reservations for day-use parking at the park for $8, which includes a $6 day-use parking fee and a $2 reservation fee. Once the main parking reservations are full, visitors can reserve parking at Saddle Mountain and take the shuttle into the park. Day-use passes and other park entry programs will be honored, though a $2 reservation fee applies.

In addition to the shuttle, Santa Cruz METRO has begun offering weekend bus service to the park via Bus Route 35. This service, which started in March, will continue through the spring and summer, with five daily stops at the park. Bus riders can park for free at the METRO station in Scotts Valley and catch the bus to the park. Single-ride tickets cost $2, a day pass is $6, and K-12 students with a student ID can ride for free. Visitors arriving by bus will enjoy free access to the park.

To ensure smooth access and avoid disappointment, visitors are encouraged to check parking availability and make reservations online in advance. First-come, first-served parking will be available at Saddle Mountain for $10 per vehicle if the shuttle parking area isn’t fully reserved, payable by credit card at the kiosk. All fees collected will support the park’s operations and maintenance.

For more information and to make reservations, visitors can check the official Big Basin Redwoods State Park website.

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