State Park Trifecta
ElevationAscent: 4,083' 1,244 m
Descent: -4,122' -1,257 m
High: 2,639' 804 m
Low: 415' 127 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)
Popular runs nearby
Castle Rock Loop
3.4 mi 5.4 km • Loop • 749 ft Ascent 228.18 m Ascent
Fremont Older Open Space Loop
5.6 mi 9.0 km • Loop • 928 ft Ascent 282.99 m Ascent
Vista Verde Skyline Run - 50K
31.3 mi 50.4 km • Loop • 4,688 ft Ascent 1429.02 m Ascent
Black Mountain via Black Mountain Trail
10.0 mi 16.0 km • Out and Back • 2,383 ft Ascent 726.23 m Ascent
Black Mountain loop via Stevens Creek
5.9 mi 9.5 km • Loop • 1,209 ft Ascent 368.43 m Ascent
Creek/Pipeline loop at Hidden Villa
1.2 mi 1.9 km • Loop • 172 ft Ascent 52.34 m Ascent
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“The State Park Trifecta is a long run looping through Castle Rock, Big Basin, and Portola Redwoods”— Brett S
Campsites: There are three nearly equidistant campsites along the trail; Waterman Gap Trail Camp, Lane Trail Camp, Slate Creek Trail Campground. No matter where you start the run, you'll also have a campground within roughly 10 miles. Reservations are required in advance.
Parking: There are three overnight parking lots; at Big Basin Park HQ, Portola Redwoods Park HQ, and at the main Castle Rock entrance. Parking at the latter will add a few miles distance. There are also several places where one could get dropped off and hop on the Skyline to Sea Trail.
Historical Sites: There are two historical sites along the way, the Iverson Cabin and the Page Mill Site (original site of Mr. Page's Mill and road). There is not much to see at the sites except a marker and a sign, but it's nice to connect with some of the region's 19th century history.
Variations: If you're looking for a longer route, you can extend this trail by pushing further into either Castle Rock, Big Basin, and even Pescadero Creek Park, as long as you make it to the easement cross points. Pushing further into these parks can easily help you come up with a 50-60 mile loop if you really wanted.
Trail info for the parts encompassing:
- Skyline to Sea: Good trail but proximity to Highway 9 causes it to lose some of the isolation charm. Great views of redwoods though. Well trafficked popular trail.
- Basin Trail: The relatively higher elevation presents a very different vegetation, with shorter trees and more bushes, where one can capture some nice long distance views.
- Basin Trail Easement: All the property mark signs on the first part of the trail made me just want to get through it and across. The second part of the trail felt like it didn't get a lot of foot traffic but was well marked and maintained.
- Butano Ridge Trail: Sharp switchbacks take you down almost 1500 feet of elevation. Nice scenery.
- Summit Trail: Sounds like it would be a tough run based on the name but it was only about a 600 foot elevation climb.
- Slate Creek Trail: Well maintained and nice trail. Runs by a river for most of the distance.
- Ward Road Trail: Connects Portola Redwoods State Park to the Long Ridge Open Space Preserve... biggest elevation change of the entire trail here. The wide trail that really is more of a road. Something to get through, though there are some nice long views available.
- Hickory Oaks Trail: Best long views of the entire run here as one can see into the entire valley before re-connecting with the Skyline to the Sea Trail.
Trail is recommended only for experienced runners. There are several rivers along the way to refill water, but it would be worth planning for those in advance as there are some long stretches with no river access.
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Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background