May 24, 2010 at 10:58 pm #1259407
Is anyone from the area? I will be there for 5 days in August for surf lessons but if anyone knows of any awesome 3 day hikes around there, I'd gladly stay a few more days.May 25, 2010 at 12:31 am #1613483
@benjammin21Locale: The Grid, Brooklyn
Not necessarily from the area. However, look at the Big Basin State Park. It is beautiful there, and there's easy, covered hiking in the redwood forests.
26 miles Skyline to the Sea Trail, for its length it's a fairly easy DIAD hike.
Also, on the drive up highway 9 to Boulder Creek from Santa Cruz, on the way, there is a river along some train tracks, and beautiful swimming holes all up and down the river. It often has a dozen other people enjoying the area, but they mostly go to one spot. Plenty of serene spots that aren't hard to get to.May 25, 2010 at 3:38 am #1613497
Big Basin, Portola St. Park. Ventana WildernessMay 25, 2010 at 10:20 am #1613610
This looks amazing. Thanks.May 25, 2010 at 10:40 am #1613623
I grew up in Los Gatos/Saratoga/Monte Sereno where they all come together off of Quito Road (right along HWY 9) for about 28 years and have some great memories of the area. It is a nice hike but can be crowded at times but if you wander off trail a bit for campsites you should have no problem.
I also spent many summers surfing in Santa Cruz and points north….now landlocked in Salt Lake City but I love the skiing and close mountains.
Enjoy your trip!May 25, 2010 at 11:46 am #1613643
and John, you must have gone to Westmont too right?May 25, 2010 at 11:59 am #1613650
Do you have to use established campsites? I'd rather not camp in a "tent city" so to speak.May 25, 2010 at 12:28 pm #1613659
If you are referring to the Skyline To The Sea trail yes. Anything in Big Basin or Castle Rock you will have to. On the Skyline To The Sea Trail, you can get away with stealth campiing. Just don't go to far off. Once in Big Basin, you cannot. If you're caught I am sure there is a fine and you get kicked out.May 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm #1613661
Ken, yes I attended Westmont. What year(s) were you there?
I didn't have any established campsites and just cowboy camped where ever I liked for the most part. We seemed to just follow creeks and drainage areas mostly exploring with no destination in mind. That could be great hammocking area but back then I only carried a plastic tube tent for nasty weather in the winter.May 25, 2010 at 12:49 pm #1613666
Boy it sounds like things have really changed over the years. We used to roam those mountains at will, never really thought of it as stealth camping, we just wanted as much solitude as possible. My favorite hike was from Castle Rock State Park out to the beach going through Big Basin, but it has been so long I don't think I could find my way.May 25, 2010 at 1:22 pm #1613677
John, I went to Prospect, class of '82. Played in Quito Little League at Westmont when I was younger. Just saw you mention the apex of Monte Sereno, Saratoga, LG…Kinda like me with Saratoga, San Jose, and Campbell. I grew next to El Paseo De Saratoga.
As for the Skyline To The Sea Trail. The route follows Hwy 9 with many road crossing. You hear cars for most of the time while hiking. Once you enter Big Basin then the hike really becomes nice. Big Basin is beautiful!!!! There are many hikes that you can do in Big Basin as well as hike to the ocean. I know of many people that have stealth camped on the beach there. Just be careful. There are many roaming, interesting types of folks out and about at night around there.May 25, 2010 at 1:23 pm #1613678
oh and going off trail nowadays means running into (illegal) pot farms…..I would be VERY careful if I were to do that now………………………….May 25, 2010 at 1:43 pm #1613691
@davidlutzLocale: Bay Area
Peterson High School in Sunnyvale, class of '80.
El Paseo is gone now, of course. What was the name of that little club there where Joe Sharino used to play all the time? I think I saw Shooting Star and Eddie and the Tide there, also.
Wait….I'm on Facebook, right?
I was at Big Basin last weekend and we had to camp in designated sites that are lined up cheek by jowl. Very nice walking, camping not that great. Still camping, though.May 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm #1613705
Dave, the club was called Muzzies and there was the dance club too which I cannot remember the name. It was an 18 and over club. Slightly of topic and sorry for hijacking the threadMay 25, 2010 at 2:24 pm #1613714
This came up last year and a few BPLer's recommended I do an alternate route for the first half of the trail and avoid the Highway 9 nonsense. It really worked out wonderfully and I didn't see a soul until Big Basin. There are backcountry campsites in Big Basin state park, but I think the budget cuts means they are "closed". If you bivy, it shouldn't be hard to stealth camp at them. A lot of the parks there are connected, so check out the maps online.May 25, 2010 at 7:16 pm #1613850
Could you tell me about this alternate route? Reading all of these posts about hiking next to the highway has made me think twice about spending the few extra days in Santa Cruz.
I would just go somewhere else for those days but I'm on a mission to learn how to surf so that takes first priority.May 25, 2010 at 11:25 pm #1613921
Check out these threads:
There is also a crazy long distance guy who I haven't seen post in a while, but he's pieced together 45 mile treks in the Santa Cruz Mtns (one day excursions for him!). If you can find threads he posted in (this time last year, he was more active), you could PM him for more information. (Anyone know who I'm talking about?)
But as you'll see I started out in Pescedaro Creek instead of the of Long Ridge Open Space Preserve. You can start here (map link) and extend the trip. This route goes West towards Slate Creek trail and into Portola Redwoods SP (map link) and from there you can reach Pescedaro State Park, take a trail over an easement into the backside of Big Basin (very near one of the trail camps, can't remember which) and then follow the remainder of the trail to the ocean.
There is a trail camp on the Slate Creek Trail which I think is open, though you'll have to check with the Portola Redwoods people, and it's very possible the trail camps in Big Basin are now open as some of the closures were just for part of the year. Check with them too.
Here's a map link to a map of Pescadero.
If you google the state parks, you can find maps for the entire route, as well as contact info for rangers. I did cross "closed trail" fences a few times in Pescadero. But if the trail's "closed", the chance you'll be noticed is vanishingly small.
Have fun!May 25, 2010 at 11:44 pm #1613928
On my trip I fly in and out of SF. Remind me to buy you a 6 pack for the info. I think I'm going to go the same way you did but make it a 3 day 2 night trip to leave lots of time for exploring. I'm guessing the weather won't be that bad in August so I might even try out this whole tarp thing instead of taking my (GASP) tent. We'll see though. Again, thanks for all the info.May 26, 2010 at 8:45 am #1614015
Now I'm excited about Nate's post, as the Sierras will be snowed in for a long time in early summer and I've been looking for a Bay Area trip.
The thing worth noting about Portola Redwoods Park is that the best, most beautiful, most humbling Redwood grove I've ever been to, is located there. It's called Peters Grove. Visiting this grove might require a side trip (~6-8 mi RT) from that (waterless) backcountry campsite in the park. Really, you have to go to Peters Grove.
And yes, you will have to research which of these parks (or which campgrounds/sites inside them) are closed on weekdays now. Stealth camping might be possible in Portola Redwoods & Big Basin, but I'm having more trouble envisioning that in Memorial/Pescadero parks.
ElizabethMay 26, 2010 at 9:57 am #1614042
There are also more options if you just keep looking for maps of the adjacent park lands. One that jumps out is the largely unexplored western portion of Big Basin. No one goes there! It'd have a more "wilderness" feel to it than the StS trail for sure.
Pescadero wouldn't be hard to stealth camp in once you get past the main area, and climb a ridge (Butano ridge?) there are some sites that would be easy to sleep in, and doubtful anyone goes there.
I noticed you mentioned a tent. Autumn in the Bay Area is the best season here. Clear skies, moderate temperatures, zero precipitation. You can go ultralight by bringing practically nothing because you will need practically nothing to be comfortable. (Check the forecast for sure, but it will probably be days and days of no rain on end.) One great thing about heading out in that time of year is you can leave everything at home except your bag and pad and food and get a crazy low baseweight. Plus, you'll look like a dayhiker in case Ranger Rick takes notice of you. That's been my method avoiding the problem.May 26, 2010 at 12:52 pm #1614102
Wow. It started as a 5 day learn to surf trip and it looks like it's going to end up being 14 day backpacking/surfing trip. I'm going to spend the next few days doing a ton of research and I think I might just check out eh western portion of Big Basin. And I think I might just do the tarp thing. I use a tent now because I spent 9 years in the Army as an Infantryman sleeping under a "hooch" good weather and bad.
And Elizabeth…I will definitely check out the grove you are talking about.
I wish it were August already so I can go get lost in the woods.
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