Skyline to the Sea Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,910' 582 m
Descent: -4,515' -1,376 m
High: 2,623' 799 m
Low: 16' 5 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)
Popular hikes nearby
Fremont Older Open Space Loop
5.6 mi 9.0 km • Loop • 928 ft Ascent 282.99 m Ascent
Black Mountain loop via Stevens Creek
5.9 mi 9.5 km • Loop • 1,209 ft Ascent 368.43 m Ascent
John Nicholas to Skyline Shuttle
5.3 mi 8.5 km • Point to Point • 1,141 ft Ascent 347.66 m Ascent
Hostel/Grapevine/Creek Trail Loop
2.4 mi 3.8 km • Loop • 600 ft Ascent 182.97 m Ascent
Clouds Rest - Meadow Trail Loop
2.5 mi 4.0 km • Loop • 520 ft Ascent 158.64 m Ascent
Berry Creek Falls Loop
9.7 mi 15.6 km • Loop • 1,844 ft Ascent 562.19 m Ascent
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“An amazing hike from the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.”— Miguel Vieira
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.
Hiked this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, History & Background
Land Manager: California State Parks - Castle Rock State Park