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Skyline to the Sea Trail

 4.6 (12)

Length


25.4 Miles 40.9 Kilometers


1,910' 582 m

Ascent

-4,515' -1,376 m

Descent

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

27%

Max Grade (15°)

2,623' 799 m

High

16' 5 m

Low

Shared By Miguel Vieira

Conditions


Unknown

Getting forecast...

An amazing hike from the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

Miguel Vieira

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

Reservations are required for the trail camps. Some camps are closed during the winter.

Overview

This hike takes you from the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains through ancient redwood forests to windswept Waddell Beach on the Pacific Ocean.

Description

The trail starts across Skyline Boulevard from the Saratoga Gap parking lot. Note that there is no overnight parking allowed at Saratoga Gap and most parties doing the entire trail instead start from Castle Rock State Park.

The trail parallels State Route 9 through the forest for six miles, but there is little traffic noise. After six miles is Waterman Gap Trail, where most hikers spend their first night.

After Waterman Gap, the trail crosses SR 9 and starts to parallel State Route 236, which is even less trafficked than SR 9. On this stretch of trail, you'll start to see your first old-growth redwood forests.

After you cross China Grade around eleven miles in, the forest gives way to open chaparral and you'll get some nice views of the surrounding mountains.

The trail turns south and descends toward cool and shady Opal Creek. The forest here has huge redwoods and an understory of sword fern.

On the second night, it's convenient to camp near the Big Basin Redwoods State Park headquarters, which has snacks, showers, and bathrooms. Jay Camp is preferred.

From the park headquarters, the trail turns west and follows Waddell Creek. Be sure to make the side trip to Berry Creek Falls around the nineteen-mile mark.

After the falls, head south and follow a dirt road down forested Waddell Creek canyon.

Pass Twin Redwoods Camp and, where the trail splits around mile 23.5, continue on the singletrack trail to the right. The dirt road to the left heads to the same place, but it's not as scenic.

The trail ends at Waddell Beach.

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 22, 2018
Dion Campbell
Sep 22, 2018
Scott Campbell
With Atlas (4), and Dion (smiles) including Berry Creek falls trail to sunset camp. 41.9mi
Sep 16, 2018
Rafael Peraza
Jun 11, 2018
Kate Giersch
Jun 3, 2018
Xu Hu
26.6mi
Mar 24, 2018
Kevin Lockwood
6mi
Mar 9, 2018
Ranger Danger
Feb 18, 2018
Sean K
26mi

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 12 votes

#1

in Saratoga

#415

Overall
  4.6 from 12 votes
5 Star
58%
4 Star
42%
3 Star
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1 Star
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Rankings

#1

in Saratoga

#75

in California

#415

Overall
479 Views Last Month
4,453 Since Jan 24, 2017
Intermediate Intermediate

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