May 18, 2017

There aren’t too many places in the world where you can see ancient redwoods, sun yourself on the beach and see endangered species of wildlife all in one place. Luckily for us, the Rancho del Oso Big Basin Redwoods State Park is right at our very own doorstep.

Big Basin State Park Entrance Sign

What makes Rancho del Oso Big Basin Redwoods State Park so special?

The variety of species you will encounter during your visit is incredible. The park is actually made up of seven distinct ecosystems with each one more different than the last. 

The park is also an important sanctuary for many different endangered species. These include the Coho Salmon and red-legged frogs. If you love birds, make sure to bring your binoculars. Rancho del Oso is home to over 250 species of birds, including the endangered marbled murrelet.

Rancho Del Oso

Are there hiking trails?

Of course! There are seven different trails which guide you through these unique ecosystems. The Skyline to the Sea Bypass Trail Loop is the best option for anyone wanting to get a taste for the park. On your hike you go through samplings of five different ecosystems in under two hours.


Park MapSkyline to the Sea Bypass Entrance

You will wander through the Riparian and Coastal Scrub zones. Cross a bridge over Waddell Creek and smell the fragrant aroma on a variety of wildflowers. This hike will also take you through three different types of forests. The Monterey Pine Forest is one of the few natural groves of these trees in the world. Woodpeckers and owls live in the upper canopies. Deer and squirrels scamper below the mixed Evergreen Forest. Finally you will encounter the Coastal Redwood Forest. Where you will find some of the tallest trees in the world.

Waddell Creek

While you won’t experience them on this hike. The trail has views of the final two ecosystems – the Coastal Strand and the Marsh Habitat. Hikers will also experience views of the Waddell Valley and old growth redwoods.

Trail views of Waddell Valley

Guided Hikes

If you aren’t too confident in your ability to map read. Or you want to explore somewhere off-the-beaten track. Then you might want to join a guided hike led by a California State Park ranger. 

The park offers five guided hikes ranging in length from 2 days 1 night to 4 days 3 nights. These guided hikes are a great way for more adventurous travelers. Allowing you to explore parts of the park that day-trippers would not be able to reach.

Redwood TreesBanana Slug on trail

Is there anything for non-hikers?

If hiking isn’t your thing then you might want to hit the beach. You can try your hand at windsurfing, kite surfing, surfing or boogie boarding. There are also equestrian and biking trails. Great if you would like to cover more ground when exploring the park during the day. If you need a break from all outdoor activities, you can put your feet up at the Nature and History Center. Where there are interactive exhibits, a courtyard and a ranch-style house and grounds.

Waddell Beach

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