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
- Distance: 16.4
Location: 37.172064, -122.222536
Begin hiking southwest along the Redwood Trail. In 600 feet, turn right onto Skyline to Sea Trail @ Y-junction.
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.
Location: 37.17638, -122.233597
Bear right @ Y-junction.
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.
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).
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.
Location: 37.177773, -122.270805
Trail passes Golden Falls, a 30-foot waterfall.
Location: 37.177475, -122.270416
Cascade Falls drops a total of 80 feet. Continue hiking southeast along trail.
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.
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.
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.
Location: 37.172218, -122.2509
Turn right @ Y-junction.
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.
Location: 37.172966, -122.239288
Continue straight on Skyline to Sea Trail.
Location: 37.17532, -122.2323
Turn right @ Y-junction.
Location: 37.171219, -122.230301
Cross fire road, then bear left. Follow trail signs back to park headquarters and your car.
Location: 37.17514, -122.225815
Location: 37.182995, -122.251144
Waddell Creek at the intersection of Timms Creek and Sunset Trails.
Location: 37.180008, -122.2659
Out from under the canopy and into a chaparral zone.
Location: 37.17945, -122.26721
Location: 37.177773, -122.270782
Location: 37.177479, -122.270393
Location: 37.177357, -122.269653
Top of Silver Falls
Location: 37.177261, -122.269447
Location: 37.174141, -122.267517
Berry Creek Falls
Location: 37.169682, -122.264374
Location: 37.16967, -122.264458
Location: 37.168732, -122.260239
The trail weaves through lush and dense forest.
Location: 37.171534, -122.224102
Gary, Dave, and Tim at the end of the hike.