Big Basin's Sunset Trail Camp

Boulder Creek, California

4.8/5
based on 6 reviews

Details

Distance

9.46 miles

Elevation Gain

2146 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Christian Arballo

Currently Closed. Big Basin's backpacking sites are open from May 1st - Nov. 1st. The hike into Sunset Trail Camp is 6 miles, 12 roundtrip. The campsite is situated in close proximity to the waterfalls.

This trail and campsite is currently closed (learn more). Looking for a more authentic hiking and camping weekend, without having to drive hours away to find it? Then the Sunset Trail Camp within Big Basin Redwoods SP is your ticket. To access this site, you'll need to hike the famous Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail where you'll meander through redwoods and across creeks. You'll then find yourself at Big Basin's big three waterfalls. Your destination is only a quarter-mile from Golden Cascade Falls. There are 10 campsites to choose from, all set along West Berry Creek. While all of the other hikers are turning around, you'll be unpacking and making yourself at home.

To reserve a spot at Sunset Trail Camp, call 831-338-8861.Campsites are $15 per night and there's an additional $5 reservation fee.

Head to http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=26658 for more info.

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Features

Camping
Backpacking
Hiking
Forest
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

Backpacking through the Redwood forest to reach camp is simply amazing. The scenery is beautiful. Sunset camp is in close proximity to the waterfalls along Berry Creek making it an excellent place to camp.

The Santa Cruz Trail camps (including this one) are open year round, it’s just their maintenance vehicles generally can’t get in for the toilets & trash cans, so you’ll need to pack in your own toilet paper & pack out all your trash.

I spent two days, and extended the loop further south. With a backcountry permit, parking is required at Jay camp, just a short walk to headquarters. I was able to enjoy the redwood loop both at the beginning and the end of the trip. Day one went up skyline, then hollow tree trail, circled around to Sunset Camp. Great location to set up the tent then enjoy all the remaining daylight at the falls along west berry creek. Then day two takes you by the falls again, soaking in the morning sunlight of the trails. I continued to Berry Creek falls and stopped for breakfast. Had the place to myself on Tuesday morning. Plan to spend all the time you can along this trail, every step is time worthwhile. I then continued south on skyline, took McCrary Ridge up, then Howard King to bring me back. McCrary is a 1,700 ft climb in 3 miles, and exposed for a good portion, be prepared. Ocean views along most of the trail. In all, I extended the total to about 20 miles with about 4,000 ft. Great alternative to the full Skyline to Sea if you are limited on time or don’t want to coordinate a ride.

This is a great hike at almost any time of year because of the shade and forest canopy. To turn it into a multi-day backpacking trip, hike here for your first day and then down to one of the trail camps closer to Wadell Beach for the 2nd day. After setting up camp hike down to Wadell Beach and back. This adds quite a few miles but at the low elevation, it's a great way to get some mileage and elevation gain before a summer spent in the Sierra Nevadas.

It was an easy to moderate hike. Almost entirely under the shade of redwood trees, so good for any time of the year the camp site is open. The three waterfalls are all within a mile and a half of the camp sites. Overall a great backpacking trip that was not very strenuous. Only negative was that the campground is a bit crowded with campsites very close to each other. Reservations are required (phone) for the campsite and are hard to get.

Highly recommend the loop hike, but NOT the Sunset Trail Camp. Campsites were packed so closely together that we could hear our neighbors' conversations perfectly. Not an ideal backcountry experience - might as well have car camped. If I were to go again I would bring a bear canister and pick one of the more secluded, unofficial spots, or just complete the loop as a day hike.

This is a great place to camp and explore while doing a coastal trek from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo! Watch some of the roads up here, they are very narrow, and don't always have a shoulder. Use your headlights!

This is one of my favorite state parks.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Hike the Ocean View Summit Loop

Hike the Berry Creek Falls Loop

Camp at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Hike to Sempervirens Falls

Hike the Old Growth Redwoods Trail

Hike the Sequoia Trail at Big Basin Redwoods SP