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Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California’s oldest state park, established in 1902. Northwest of Santa Cruz, it is home to the largest stand of coastal redwoods south of San Francisco.
This is normally a pretty popular park with limited parking by the visitor center. But we visited in the midst of a stifling heat wave, so we had no trouble getting a spot in the early afternoon.
We stopped in at the visitor center to determine the best way to see the park given the 108 degree temperature. We opted for the Redwood Loop Trail, an easy half-mile loop with well-marked points of interest that begins at the end of the parking lot. The only other people we encountered on this trail were an elderly couple and a mom with a baby in a stroller. It’s a nice wide and flat path suitable for any ability.
As we ambled along, trying not to collapse from heat exhaustion, we stopped at the well-marked points of interest and read the placards.
We passed the ‘Father of the Forest’, a 2000-year-old, 250 foot tall redwood with a circumference of 16 feet.
We also saw the ‘Mother of the Forest.’ The Mother is not as wide as the Father, but is taller. She was once the tallest tree in Big Basin at 329 feet until a storm knocked off a portion, reducing her to 293 feet.
We stood inside the hollowed-out Chimney Tree to take in a unique view of the sky.
There are many other sights to see in Big Basin….waterfalls, varied habitats, ocean views, etc… But on this day, the short walk through the redwoods was experience enough for us. Being in the presence of these ancient giants is always a humbling experience and we were grateful for the well-maintained path through them.
Location: 21600 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek, CA
Designation: State Park
Date designation declared: 1902
Date of my visit: 9/1/2017