Looking for a trip out of town and a big ol' challenge? Shoot up Highway 9 to Big Basin State Park and hit up the Berry Falls Trail! It's definitely not for the beginning hiker (although there are lots of trails in that park that are more accessible) but well worth the hills and rock clambering to see the waterfalls.
Directions: Directions can be found here - but basically plan to go through Saratoga and up Route 9 to some hella switchbacks. Bring ginger for the weak of stomach...
Big Basin Redwoods State Park 21600 Big Basin Way Boulder Creek, California, 95006-9064
Parking : Day use for the park is $10 per car - so carpool if you can - and there is plenty of parking. There are multiple parking lots and slots for street parking. We hit it up on a holiday weekend and had no problems (just had to drive into the park a little bit.)
What to Expect:
- Distance: The trail map says 10.5 miles ... it took us 13.5 miles to get to the trail from the car, get lost for about half a mile and get back to the car. Plan for extra mileage.
- Topography: Hills. Just plan on lots. and lots. of hills. I scoffed at the yellow sign stating "STRENUOUS" at the trail head. It was not to be scoffed at. This spinning instructor was sweating like a beast!
- A liiiiitle rock scrambling (there were guide wires and railings when it got a little rough)
- Bring Food. Easily digested carbs and a little protein/fat works best on the fuel front. You don't want to hike this without a lunch packed.
- Bring Water. We took about a liter of water per person - and the day was relatively cool. As summer approaches, plan on a Camelbak or a few bottles of water per person.
- Wear decent, supportive shoes. Don't wear your crappy tennis shoes that you wore out a year ago. Take this one based on personal experience. Your feet will hate you.
This was probably the prettiest hike I can remember taking! Being deep in the redwood forest with bright green ferns and water falls carved from craggy rocks was really a treat.
It's well worth the effort and a wonderful way to experience *why* you've been spending all that time building up endurance!