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Skyline to the Sea Trail, Saratoga

5.0
#5 of 6 in Parks in Saratoga
Hiking Trail · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
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The Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail is a 29.5-mile (47.2-kilometre) hiking trail that descends from the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains in California to the Pacific Ocean, passing through Castle Rock State Park and Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Big Basin is California's oldest state park. It contains beautiful waterfalls and some of the largest, tallest, and oldest Redwood forests left in existence.

After the August 2020 CZU Lightning Complex fires, the trail closed, along with much of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. As of December 2021, the trail remains closed and its future is unclear.
The trail usually takes two to three days to complete, with nearly all thru-hikers traveling from East to West (towards the ocean). It is possible to walk the entire trail in one day, though this is unusual and very difficult. However, there is a 50-km (31-mi) ultra running race held on this trail one or two times per year. Many hikers like to take a detour up Berry Creek Trail to see the waterfalls or to camp at Sunset Trail Camp, adding 2.7 mi (4.3 km) to the hike.

The trail begins at Saratoga Gap on the ridge at the intersection of SR 9 and Skyline Boulevard (SR 35), although many hikers actually begin at Castle Rock due to its overnight parking facility. The trail parallels SR 9 through Castle Rock, crosses the highway, and then follows SR 236 to Big Basin park headquarters. It then descends through Big Basin, following Waddell Creek to its outlet at Waddell Beach.

Santa Cruz Metro routes 35 and 40 formerly went from Big Basin State Park Headquarters to Waddell Creek and back. Since September 2011, Route 40 no longer goes all the way to Waddell Beach from mid-December to mid-March. but instead turns around at Cement Plant Rd. Route 35 formerly stopped at Big Basin Headquarters on the weekends during the Spring/Summer season.

There is a proposed plan for a "Saratoga-to-the-Sea" Trail. The plan would create a trail starting somewhere near Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, passing through a defunct quarry, and terminating in Sanborn-Skyline County Park. This trail would connect to the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail via a completed section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The quarry is owned by the Santa Clara County Roads and Airports Department, which is conducting feasibility studies of this plan.
Use our Saratoga trip planning app to visit Skyline to the Sea Trail on your trip to Saratoga, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Skyline to the Sea Trail reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
18 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • An excellent 11 mile loop with the 3 waterfalls midway. Beautiful forests, ridge lines, and of course the redwoods. The trail is much windier than it shows on the map. Lots of up and down, but... 
    An excellent 11 mile loop with the 3 waterfalls midway. Beautiful forests, ridge lines, and of course the redwoods. The trail is much windier than it shows on the map. Lots of up and down, but...  more »
  • It was hard but finished it in 12 hours. According to my Fitbit it was more than 30 miles. We took couple of break also. 
    It was hard but finished it in 12 hours. According to my Fitbit it was more than 30 miles. We took couple of break also.  more »

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