Henry Cowell and Big Basin Redwoods State Parks
Santa Cruz Attractions, Wilderness and Old Redwoods
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a state park of old redwoods located in Santa Cruz wilderness near Sant Cruz. Not only are visitors stunned by the beauty of the wilderness and spectacular views from the mountains, but they are also pleased to visit some of the largest redwoods in the state.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park was established in 1900. It is California’s oldest and first state park of redwoods, and home to the most impressive collection of old-growth redwoods in the entire Bay Area – far bigger and much older than the redwoods in Muir Woods. Some of these giant redwood trees are more than 50 feet in circumference and as tall as the Statue of Liberty. At 1,000 to 2,500 years old, some may predate the Roman Empire. The park also offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, lush waterfalls, and a fascinating natural and cultural history. For those who do not want to hike, there are other options to see the majestic redwoods.
Santa Cruz Mountains are part of the Pacific Coast Ranges that form a ridge down the San Francisco Peninsula, it separates the Pacific Ocean from the San Francisco Bay and the Silicon Valley Area and creating a magical landscape of mountainous steep terrain and dense forests, totally in contrast with the corporate world of Silicon Valley located only 30 minutes away.
Nearby, you may take a stroll through historic villages like Saratoga, Boulder Creek, or Los Gatos and enjoy your lunch at one of the local restaurants. If you are interested in the Silicon Valley tech world and iconic sites, we recommend visiting either Stanford University or Apple’s “spaceship” new headquarters in Cupertino and visit this massive ring-shaped office building and amazing park, this gives it an exotic retro-future feel, evoking illustrations from science fiction magazines of the 1950s.
Big Basin is California’s oldest State Park and was established in 1902. It is part of the Northern California coastal forests ecoregion and is home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods south of San Francisco. It contains 10,800 acres (44 km2) of old-growth forest as well as recovering redwood forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral, and riparian habitats. Elevations in the park vary from sea level to over 600 m (2,000 ft). The climate ranges from foggy and damp near the ocean to sunny, warm ridge tops.
Hikes and loops: The park has over 130 km (81 mi) of trails. Some of these trails link Big Basin to Castle Rock State Park and the eastern reaches of the Santa Cruz range. The Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail threads its way through the park along Waddell Creek to Waddell Beach and the adjacent Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve, a freshwater marsh.
The park has many waterfalls, a wide variety of environments (from lush canyon bottoms to sparse chaparral-covered slopes), many animals (deer, raccoons, an occasional bobcat) and abundant bird life – including Steller’s jays, egrets, herons and acorn woodpeckers.
In popular culture: In Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, Vertigo (1958), Inspector Scottie Ferguson, James Stewart, walks with Madeleine Elster, Kim Novak into Big Basin, where she appears to disappear behind a tree. The movie states that they travel to the better-known Muir Woods, but in fact the scene was shot in Big Basin.
Update: In August 2020, the visitor center and headquarters were destroyed in the CZU Lightning Complex fires that tore through Big Basin Redwoods State Park, burning about 97% of its 18,224 acres and destroying nearly all its historic infrastructure. Not everything is lost, but it will take time to restore the park. There are other old forests of redwoods nearby you can visit like Rancho del Oso Park of Redwoods (along Highway 1 ).
It’s famed for its ancient redwoods, cascading waterfalls, and epic hikes, located near the northern border of Santa Cruz County and south of Half-Moon Bay.
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is another park of old and massive redwoods , it’s located in the Santa Cruz Mountains and is most famous for the 40-acre grove of towering old-growth redwood trees. Its historical significance and spectacular scenery draw travelers from around the world.
Visitors can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, swimming, and camping on more than 4,650 acres of forested and open land. These skyscraping redwoods were admired by explorer John C. Frémont, President Theodore Roosevelt, and inspired some of California’s earliest redwood preservation efforts. Take a walk beyond the redwood grove and you’ll find four diverse habitats that this park preserves: grasslands, river/riparian, sandhills, and redwoods. The tallest tree in the park is approximately 277 feet tall, about 16 feet wide, and around 1,500 years old. Keen-eyed visitors may spot banana slugs, black-tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, or steelhead trout.
Nearby attractions and things to see: You maty explore some of these attractions nearby including Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow-Gauge Railroad , Mount Hermon Adventures abs ziplines, Bigfoot Discovery Museum, University of California at Santa Cruz, Felton Covered Bridge Park, Wilder Ranch State Park, UCSC Arboretum, the Mystery Spot,
Natural Bridges State Beach, Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Wharf and Boardwalk.