If you go camping at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, you'll be in the home of the largest continuous stand of coastal redwoods south of San Francisco. Most of the campsites are underneath the giant trees. They're well spaced to give plenty of privacy.
Hiking is the primary form of recreation for campers at Big Basin, with lots of trails, some leading to waterfalls. Many bird species also live in the forest, making the park a good birdwatching spot.
Big Basin Camping Facilities
Big Basin has 146 sites in four campgrounds. Many sites are for tents only, but some can accommodate RVs to 27 feet and trailers to 24 feet long. There's a dump station but no hookups.
There are also six horse campsites in the park. Dogs are not allowed in the horse camp at any time.
In Huckleberry Campground, you'll find tent cabins. They are 12 by 14-foot size, with wooden floors and sides - and canvas tops. Each has two double beds with a mattress. Three cabins are equipped for handicapped access. You can reserve camping gear if you need it - or choose a deluxe cabin with beds already made up for you.
The campground has restrooms and pay showers. There's an RV dump station in Huckleberry Campground.
The camp store has a coffee bar that also serves organic juices.
Big Basin Redwoods is only one of the places you can go camping near Santa Cruz. You can find more places to camp near the beach, more places to camp near town and some campgrounds in the nearby mountains if you use this Guide to Camping at Santa Cruz.
What You Need to Know Before You Go Camping at Big Basin State Park
- Camping reservations are a necessity on weekends and during the summer. Make them as early as you can. Learn about how to make California state park reservations. Be ready to reserve online by checking the campground map ahead of time.
- Reserve trail camps on the Skyline to the Sea Trail up to 56 days ahead by calling.
- Bring quarters to pay for the showers, or get change from the Blooms Creek camp host.
- Up to 8 people can stay in one family drive-in or walk-in site. Standard tent or RV drive-in sites allow parking for one vehicle and one extra vehicle. Trailers are counted as a vehicle.
- Walk-in tent sites allow parking for one vehicle only in an assigned parking lot space.
- Tent site means just tents and not tent trailers or other tiny trailers. Don't try to get away with it because you could be asked to leave.
- In many places, insect repellent might be a secondary need, but at Big Basin, we'll call it a primary one. Mosquitoes love Big Basin's climate as much as humans do - and they're always hungry.
- Mosquitos aren't the only troublesome critters for campers at Big Basin. Raccoons, birds, and squirrels will steal food if you leave it out. They can break into tents, picnic table storage boxes and ice chests, too. Some campers report raccoons stealing hot dogs right off the buns when left on the table. Your best bet is to hold onto your food or lock it in your car.
- Poison oak grows in Big Basin. Be on the lookout for it if you're allergic. If you're not sure what it looks like, a park ranger can help.
- Dogs are allowed except in the Rancho Del Oso section of the park but must be kept on a leash and in the car or tent at night. They can only go to the picnic area, campground and on paved roads.
How to Get There
Big Basin is in Santa Cruz County, but actually closer to the town of Boulder Creek than it is to Santa Cruz.
The park headquarters is 9 miles north of Hwy 9 on CA Hwy 236. The turnoff is in the town of Boulder Creek. The roads in the Santa Cruz Mountains are far from straight, and CA Hwy 236 between the park and CA Hwy 9 is especially narrow and winding. If you're towing a trailer, the best route is to take CA Hwy 1 to CA Hwy 9 and go north.