Big Basin Redwoods State Park Reopens 4 Additional Miles of Roads and Trails
California State Parks announced Big Basin Redwoods State Park will reopen an additional four miles of roads and trails effective this Friday, December 23.
Visitors on foot will be able to explore the newly renovated Meteor Trail, a one-mile segment of Skyline to the Sea Trail, and dog-friendly access along the first mile of North Escape Road. The first mile of Sunset Trail is finishing reconstruction and is expected to open sometime next month. Redwood Loop and Dool Trail, both which opened in the summer, are also available to visitors. Additionally, about 20 miles of multiuse fire roads near the historic park core remain open to hiking and biking. The Big Basin Redwoods State Park webpage contains a map detailing the new trail access. Services remain limited within the park. There is no cell phone coverage, running water, or electricity.
“We are pushing to reopen fire damaged trail segments in Big Basin as they are safely reconstructed and look forward to welcoming more visitors in 2023,” said Santa Cruz District Superintendent Chris Spohrer. “These newly opened trails offer a novel window to witness the remarkable recovery of the ancient forest – come visit and enjoy!”
Since Big Basin reopened to the public on July 22, 2022, over 16,000 people have visited the park through the online parking reservation system created and operated by nonprofit partner Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks. Visitors will continue to be required to make a reservation online in advance to guarantee access to the limited parking area to visit the new trail segments.
“We’re committed to supporting new ways to grow public access at Big Basin, and we’re proud to partner with State Parks on this program,” said Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks Executive Director Bonny Hawley. “Big Basin has come a long way in less than five months since the park reopened. The amount of parking available by reservation on a daily basis has nearly doubled. The newly opened trails offer visitors more ways to explore the amazing regrowth happening since the CZU Fire in 2020. We’re looking forward to welcoming many more visitors in 2023.”
The expansion in the park’s trail network is a milestone in restoring trail access in the park as a couple of Big Basin’s popular loop hikes around the park headquarters area will once again be accessible to hikers. These trails also provide hikers access along a portion of Opal Creek and to up Middle Ridge to Ocean View Summit with sweeping views all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
The old growth redwood forest in Big Basin continues to recover after almost the entire park burned in the 2020 CZU Fire. Park visitors can witness the regrowth on the iconic trees and can also see signs of wildlife returning to the park’s recovering forest including deer, raccoon, fox, mountain lion, coyote, bats, many bird species and other wildlife.
The Big Basin Volunteer Trail Crew, Trails Center volunteers, California Conservation Corps and the District Trail Crew are working hard to continue expanding trail access in the park. Visitors will see newly constructed steps, retainer walls, foot bridges as well as burn piles from clearing vegetation and hazard trees. The piles will be burned in the coming years to reduce fuel loads along these recreational routes. Crews will continue to rebuild trails and remove hazards along other trails and have the goal to open some additional trail segments by summer 2023.