San Francisco, CA: Berry Creek Falls Loop

Explore young redwood forests and several waterfalls along this 10.5-mile loop in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
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Explore young redwood forests and several waterfalls along this 10.5-mile loop in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

From the Big Basin visitor center, head southwest for 200 yards on the Redwood Trail. At the first junction, turn right onto Skyline to Sea Trail to begin the loop. The route follows several trails through Waddell Creek State Wilderness and meanders through lush prehistoric forests filled with sword ferns and banana slugs. About 5 miles into the hike, enjoy sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean from an exposed ridgeline, then drop back down to sea level. Grab some lunch at the base of Berry Creek Falls—a 40-foot waterfall that cascades down moss-covered rock. The trail passes three more waterfalls and loops back up and over the ridgeline to the visitor center.
-Mapped by Dave Miller

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 16.4

Waypoints

WFL001

Location: 37.172064, -122.222536

Begin hiking southwest along the Redwood Trail. In 600 feet, turn right onto Skyline to Sea Trail @ Y-junction.

WFL002

Location: 37.175308, -122.223

Turn left onto Dool Trail @ Y-junction. In 500 feet, turn left again onto the Sunset Trail. Begin a series of climbs and descents through mixed evergreen forest crowded with sword ferns and banana slugs.

WFL003

Location: 37.17638, -122.233597

Bear right @ Y-junction.

WFL004

Location: 37.181438, -122.253899

Continue right @ Y-junction to tackle the steepest climb along this loop. At the top, descend to the southwest toward Berry Creek through quiet evergreen forests.

WFL005

Location: 37.178253, -122.270714

Continue left @ Y-junction. Lizards scamper across the dry sandstone trail as you leave dense evergreen canopy for an exposed ridgeline littered with chaparral and manzanita. Camping: Backpackers can turn right @ Y-junction and head 800 feet to Sunset Camp (reservations required).

WFL006

Location: 37.178291, -122.271904

Turn left @ Y-junction onto Berry Creek Falls Trail. Head southeast along Berry Creek towards four waterfalls (each growing sequentially in height). A dark, thick canopy filters the bright hot sun. Several redwoods may have fallen across the trail, but there should be enough room to walk under them.

WFL007

Location: 37.177773, -122.270805

Trail passes Golden Falls, a 30-foot waterfall.

WFL008

Location: 37.177475, -122.270416

Cascade Falls drops a total of 80 feet. Continue hiking southeast along trail.

WFL009

Location: 37.177383, -122.269714

Pass Silver Falls, a 60-foot waterfall. Next, navigate the hike's steepest section; cables and handrails are provided to make the ascent or descent easier and safer.

WFL010

Location: 37.169682, -122.264397

Berry Creek Falls: Arguably the most beautiful set of falls in the park, Berry Creek cascades roughly 40 feet down a rocky cliff, pooling below and then flowing towards the ocean. Locals say the best viewing is during the spring, but the creek does flow year round.

WFL011

Location: 37.168648, -122.264198

Turn left @ Y-junction back onto the Skyline to the Sea Trail and head back towards park headquarters. The trail crosses and then parallels Waddell Creek. Continue through thick canopy and lush vegetation.

WFL012

Location: 37.172218, -122.2509

Turn right @ Y-junction.

WFL013

Location: 37.173439, -122.2444

Turn right @ Y-junction and start to climb, leaving the creek behind. Pass tan oak, Douglas fir and madrone; ahead, the canopy begins to open up.

WFL014

Location: 37.172966, -122.239288

Continue straight on Skyline to Sea Trail.

WFL015

Location: 37.17532, -122.2323

Turn right @ Y-junction.

WFL016

Location: 37.171219, -122.230301

Cross fire road, then bear left. Follow trail signs back to park headquarters and your car.

Morning Rays

Location: 37.17514, -122.225815

Waddell Creek

Location: 37.182995, -122.251144

Waddell Creek at the intersection of Timms Creek and Sunset Trails.

Clearing

Location: 37.180008, -122.2659

Out from under the canopy and into a chaparral zone.

Sandstone Trail

Location: 37.17945, -122.26721

Golden Falls

Location: 37.177773, -122.270782

Cascade Falls

Location: 37.177479, -122.270393

Silver Falls

Location: 37.177357, -122.269653

Top of Silver Falls

Location: 37.177261, -122.269447

Young Redwoods

Location: 37.174141, -122.267517

Berry Creek Falls

Location: 37.169682, -122.264374

Perspective

Location: 37.16967, -122.264458

Primordial

Location: 37.168732, -122.260239

The trail weaves through lush and dense forest.

Redwood Trail

Location: 37.171534, -122.224102

Gary, Dave, and Tim at the end of the hike.