Big Basin Redwoods State Park
A Santa Cruz state park, the Big Basin Redwoods is the state's oldest park, established in 1902 for the protection of the coastal redwood trees. The park is even more significant as the original 3,800 acres have expanded over the years to include over 18,000 acres, protecting the largest collection of ancient redwoods south of San Francisco.
Many people operate under the impression that the only redwood forests to be found in California are in the northern region, along the border to the Pacific Northwest. Big Basin Redwoods State Park proves that distinction wrong. 10,800 acres of the park contains an old-growth forest including the Father of the Forest, a 250-foot tall tree along the Redwood Loop trail (0.6 miles). Mother of the Forest, along the same trail, comes in at a formidable 329 feet. Walking the trails is the most popular and most rewarding adventure opportunity in the forests, allowing all to witness the glorious height of these ancient trees, the crystal clear waterfalls, and the wildlife that call the forests home.
Animals such as black-tailed deer, foxes, raccoons, coyotes and the occasional cougar or rare California black bear have been spotted throughout the park. However, it is a wonderland for bird watching enthusiasts, featuring Stellar's jays, acorn woodpeckers, sharp-shinned hawks, and dark-eyed juncos among the masses. Make sure you watch out for Pacific tree frogs and California newts crossing paths or climbing the massive trees!