The giant redwood trees are something that California is known for. And luckily you can get a taste of them at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

If you’re spending time in the area and want to see some of the best natural wonders of the world, the famous California redwoods, this is the place to go. It’s not far from San Francisco and offers plenty of opportunities for spending some time outdoors, and yes, getting a few special photos for Instagram!

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about spending some time in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. 

Park History

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California’s oldest park. It was founded in 1902 and is also a California Historical Landmark too. Although originally it was just under 4,000 acres it’s been expanded over the years to only under 20,000 acres today. About half of the area is home to old growth forest.

Another fun historical fact? Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 movie Vertigo had a scene filmed in the park. 

Things to Do

There is no shortage of things happening inside this park. Here are just a few. 


Sky to Sea Trail Big Basin Redwoods State Park California

The main attraction inside the park is the redwoods. These incredible trees are some of the most unique fauna not just in the United States, but in the world too. Some of the trees in the old growth forest are estimated to be between 1,000 and 2,000 years old. Measuring 50 feet in diameter, they reach as tall as the Statue of Liberty.  


Though you won’t find much in the way of mountainous terrain here, Big Basin Redwoods State Park has just over 80 miles of trails. What you can enjoy as you hike through the area is the ecosystem. The park transitions from old growth forest to riparian habitats as it moves closer to the Pacific Ocean. 


group of friends camping and sitting around a bonfire at nighttime

You really can’t go wrong spending a few nights camping under the shade of these trees. There are over 140 campgrounds in the park spread out across three main areas. One cool campground is the Horse Camp, which allows campers to stay overnight with their horses (reservations required).

Rancho Del Oso Nature and History Center

In the coastal portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, you’ll find Rancho del Oso. Travelers have been visiting this area since the Spanish arrived in the 1600s. The canyons and meadows here are a popular attraction for hikers and visitors who want to learn more about the history of the region. 

Getting There

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is right off the Big Basin Highway, also known as Route 236. Route 236 is accessible from Highway 9. The park is ideally positioned for a day trip from many of Northern California’s biggest cities. 

It’s only an hour’s drive from both San Jose and Santa Cruz and just about 90 minutes driving from both San Francisco and Oakland. 

Visiting Hours

The park is open throughout the year. Visitors are welcome from 8 am until sunset all year long. Big Basin Redwoods State Park has a per car fee for both day visits and camping.

Want More Adventure?

Sempervirens Falls by Big Basin Redwoods State Park

If you’re hungry for more adventure, you’re in luck. Because located about 8 minutes from the Big Basin Redwoods, you can see stunning Sempervirens Falls. If you’re planning to be in the area overnight, take a look at our sister site,, for the best hotel deals.