This shady loop winds through redwoods and brings you to four distinct waterfalls. If you listen as you hike, you can enjoy the different sounds that water can make, whether in the trickling stream beside you or flowing down a waterfall. There are also ample opportunities to spot all kinds of mushrooms, to watch banana slugs trudging along with you, and to hear birds singing to each other above your head. If you are into big expansive vistas, which I am learning I am, this hike may not make your favorite list as it only rises above tree line briefly once on the Sunset Trail
Bring cash for the park fee of $10. Ask a park ranger in the visitor center for any trail closures.
For the most part, the trail is beautifully maintained and marked, although there are a few sections where you'll need to step over or duck under a fallen tree or two as you go.
The trail begins on the Skyline to the Sea Trail
in the shade of the redwoods going mostly downhill. Early on, there is a partially hollowed-out tree that you can get inside. When I visited in early December 2017, there was a washout, so I had to follow signs taking me on the Middle Ridge Road
to the Sunset Trail
to the Skyline to the Sea Connector
and back to the Skyline to Sea Trail.
Continuing on the Skyline to Sea Trail, the trail will go beside West Waddell Creek. I found this section of the trail had the most gorgeous mushrooms, though there were tons throughout.
Berry Creek Falls Trail
is probably the most rewarding part of the loop as the trail begins to have some up and downs and brings you quickly from one waterfall to the next. At the first waterfall you reach, you can look down at the falls from the trail behind a wooden fence and there is a bench to sit and view it. If you position yourself correctly on a sunny day, you should be able to see a rainbow crossing it. The second waterfall is tall and narrow and you end up hiking right beside it to the top on some steep rocks with wires for you to hold onto. The third waterfall is quickly followed by the fourth waterfall, which is the widest one and falls over pink tinted rock.
As Berry Creek Falls Trail
turns onto Sunset Trail
, the trail goes upwards moderately steeply and eventually you break tree line and are rewarded with sunshine, though the view itself is not particularly stunning. The rest of the trail continues to be pretty well maintained with portions of flat and portions of uphill. On the day I did this hike, it was the best day for banana slug viewing. I made sure to warn everyone I saw to watch their step! As the trail returns to the parking lot, it passes by some particularly large redwoods.
Redwoods, banana slugs, squirrels, birds chirping, and tons of fungi can be found here!