Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail


Two of the Bay Area’s most popular hiking locales – Castle Rock and Big Basin Redwoods state parks – promise one of the region’s top backpacking experiences. A three-day, 34-mile hike through these parks from the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Pacific Ocean shows off everything to see in the South Bay woods, from the redwoods towering above to the banana slugs creeping along the forest floor.

The first third of our Skyline-to-the-Sea route starts from the Castle Rock State Park headquarters. The pathway through Castle Rock offers wonderful vistas of the mountains stretching to the sea and a meandering trail through groves of moss-draped oaks and rather mature madrone stands with a fruiting understory of manzanita shrubs. The route’s second day traverses a misty ridgeline and then descends into the ancient redwood groves of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Our final day features the impressive Berry Creek Falls and a gentle descent along Waddell Creek’s southern shore before ending dramatically at the edge of America on the Pacific sands of Waddell Beach.

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