Over the three day weekend, my friend and I took a trip to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, in need of some escape from the stress of college applications. While there, we had half a day to hike, so we chose the recommended Sequoia Trail. Later on, the Sequoia Trail split into Shadowbrook Trail or the Skyline to the Sea Trail, but both would lead to the parking lot. After looking at their route on the map, realized that if we hiked the Sequoia Trail, we would wind up at Sempervirens Falls.
By the time we paid our ten dollar fee to enter the park, most parking spots were already filled up at 11 in the morning, and runners and hikers were bustling about. Four miles long, the Sequoia Trail was a complete loop that started next to the ranger information booth and took us back to the parking lot.
Setting off on the trail, we began to notice the surrounding redwoods as we started a slight ascent. The first mile had minimal change in elevation with a relatively smooth path that ran parallel to the road with cars passing by. However, the trail soon veered off to the left, leading us into the dense redwood forest, where we were surrounded by nothing except for the sounds of chirping birds and large, peaceful trees filtering morning sun through their branches. After one mile, we came to an intersection, allowing us to go down to a small staircase that took us to a platform to see Sempervirens Falls. Tucked in the redwood trees, it was a small waterfall that fell into a stunning lagoon that had us in awe for a few minutes.
After a small snack break by the Falls, we returned to the Sequoia Trail and hiked on, coming upon a large incline called Slippery Rock. In contrast to the redwood forest that had surrounded us for our first mile, we had to hike up the steep surface of Slippery Rock that was bare and exposed to the morning sun. Slightly out of breath from the incline, we took a break at the top and then continued until we came to another fork in the road, directing us to take Escape Road or Skyline to the Sea. Following our map, we decided to stick with Skyline to the Sea, which ran parallel to Opal Creek near the second mile. The trail would occasionally increase and decrease in elevation, but those changes were nothing. The trail ran along the side of a slope at times, so it might be too narrow for two to walk side by side, but it was always smooth and easy to hike on.
Although the Big Basin map guide told us that the hike would take us three hours, we finished the trail much faster than we had anticipated: in an hour and a half. With some extra time, we realized that the good thing about the location of Big Basin State Park is that it is relatively close to Santa Cruz, so we drove over to Santa Cruz to grab lunch.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy trail for an outing on the weekend, the Sequoia Trail offers a slight variation in elevation with a level path that is not too monotonous or boring. It offers stunning views of the redwoods, along with the quick stop by Sempervirens Falls and was the perfect activity for a Sunday afternoon.
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