Three waterfalls (Golden Cascade, Silver Falls, Berry Creek Falls), plenty of Redwoods and banana slugs to be seen make this a route that you won't soon forget!
Features: River/Creek — Waterfall — Wildlife
Park in the Big Basin Redwoods State Park parking lot and pay your parking fee ($10). A broad trail opens from the parking lot. Check the large park map in the lot to get your bearings before starting out.
Take the broad trail from the parking lot (to the left of the campfire area) for a short stretch until you see a break in the fence - pass through it, cross a bridge over Opal Creek and come to a trail junction. This is the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, where this route will end. Turn right and follow Skyline-to-the-Sea for about a 1/3 of a mile until you see the Dool Trail.
Turn left on Dool Trail but key your eyes peeled for the turnoff at the Sunset Trail
- a left turn just up the trail. Stay on Sunset and climb through a redwood grove until you reach Middle Ridge Road.
Cross Middle Ridge Road - you'll see a sign warning of the long journey ahead. Stay on the Sunset Trail
, which descends gradually to West Waddell Creek.
After the Waddell Creek Crossing, the trail climbs gradually until you see a sign for Timms Creek Trail - by now you'll know if you're up for the whole loop! If you're tired, turn left on the Timms Creek Trail for a gentle path through a lovely stand of redwoods until you find the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, then take another left and return to the trailhead.
If you continue on, stay on the Sunset Trail
for a steep climb up the hillside. Soon the sign for Sunset Camp will tell you you're almost to the falls.
You'll hear water roaring in the distance, then you'll turn a bend and see water pouring over a large, yellow-brown stretch of creekbed. This is the Golden Cascade and the spot where you'll pick up the Berry Creek Falls Trail
From here, the trail gets narrow and tricky in places; use extreme caution.
Water tumbles down the canyon until it reaches another major drop-off - this is Silver Falls.
You'll be so close to the falls you can almost reach them - but you'll really want to grab the steel cable and step gingerly down the trail. The base of Silver Falls is one of the best photo opportunities in the park. It's also a nice place to break for a snack and recharge for the remaining trail to come.
The Berry Creek Falls Trail
continues through a sublime redwood grove and eventually comes out at Berry Creek Falls, the subject of so many photographic forays. There's a large viewing platform to soak in the view, but there's also invariably a mass of humanity, too, so you'll be itching to move on soon.
The Berry Creek Falls Trail
ends at Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, where you turn left and head for the park HQ.
The first section of this trail includes a short, steep climb to a bench where you can pause for one last look at the falls, then descends to a make-shift creek crossing bridge that is occasionally under water or removed during heavy rains.
From here it's a long, lush climb back to Middle Ridge Road, and a quick downhill jaunt to the park HQ. Just take your time and absorb the experience of passing among these majestic trees. It can be quite tiring if you take it too quickly.
Not long after passing the Timms Creek Trail, you'll see an "alternate" trail - this adds about a half-mile to the journey; it's scenic but disorienting, and best avoided if this is your first time on this loop.