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FEATURE ARTICLE

BERRY CREEK FALLS DAY HIKE
By Gene Raffanti

HOW TO GET THERE

Berry Creek Falls is one of the many scenic wonders found within Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

Located within the Santa Cruz Mountains approximately one hour south of San Francisco, Big Basin is accessible inland via Highway 9 and from the beach side via scenic Highway 1 approximately 30 minutes north of Santa Cruz.

The trailhead we recommend is located directly across the highway from the parking lot at Waddell Beach. The turnout for Waddell Beach is well marked, easy to find, and has a public lot where you can leave your car all day for a small fee. Waddell is a favorite spot for windsurfers and hang gliders, so you may want to allow some time for watching the action.

From San Francisco, take Highway 280 south to Highway 92 west. Turn south onto Highway 1 at Half Moon Bay and continue for about another 30 minutes to Waddell Beach.

From Santa Cruz, take Highway 1 north to the Waddell Beach turnout.

The parking lot is on the beach side of the highway. Please use caution crossing the road.

THE HIKES

The hike to Berry Creek Falls is approximately seven miles. You have a choice of walking the fire road which follows the valley floor for about six and a half miles through Big Basin Park to the end where the trail veers off to the south east (well marked) about a half mile to the falls. Or you can follow a trail that crosses the fire road several times during the hike.

The fire road is a very forgiving hike that meanders up a beautiful coastal valley following Waddell creek through valley and mountain terrain which is studded with oak, fir, and redwood trees.

On a sunny day, or even a foggy day, this hike is well worth the effort. The hike to the falls is beautiful and upon arrival at the falls the cascading waterfall and fern covered walls offer a well deserved rest.

You can also hike to the falls from the park headquarters on the inland side of the park.

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The trail from the park headquarters is about a 10.5 mile round trip hike and has a more challenging variation of terrain. The inland trail also offers some beautiful redwoods and fern grottos.

Pack a lunch, because the falls and the stream below offer some scenic picnic spots.

For further information you can call park headquarters at
831-338-8860.


DRAWBACKS:

The only drawback to the fire road is that on weekends you may have to share the road with mountain bikes and equestrians.

VARIATIONS:

If you have small children, the hike from Waddell Beach can be shortened and still be enjoyed by adults and children alike. At the end of the first half mile is a visitor's center that young children will enjoy. The center offers information about Big Basin State Park and the diverse animal and plant life that inhabit the area.

Another variation we enjoy is riding our mountain bikes on the fire road for the first 6 1/2 miles, locking up the bikes, and hiking the remaining 1/2 mile to the falls.



CALIFORNIA SPORTS PARADISE
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CALIFORNIA'S MONTHLY ON-LINE MAGAZINE FOR OUTDOOR SPORTS


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