Best Camping in Big Basin

The Best Big Basin Camping

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Everyone wants to visit California to see Hollywood, but they tend to forget the amazing wildlife that the state has to offer. Located in Santa Cruz County is the Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The oldest state park in California, established in 1902, is a historical landmark most notably famous for the coastal forests home to the ancient coast redwoods.

With over 130 km of trails and luscious forest, visitors can easily lose themselves in the magic of Big Basin park. For those who love nature, this park allows you with plenty to explore, just make sure you’re well-prepared.

Camping in Rancho Del Oso

Where can I camp in Rancho Del Oso?

Horse Camp

Best Camping in Big Basin - Horse Camp

Rancho Del Oso
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If you’re a fan of horses then you’ll love staying at the Rancho del Oso horse camp. Not your regular campsite but if you’re a rider, you’ll love spending time sleeping close by your riding partner. You’ll need a reservation so make sure you book ahead of time. This camp allows riders to camp overnight with their horses.

The only exception to the horse camp is that they do not allow dogs. Other then that, you’re allowed to ride horses and explore the surrounding nature, with a guide, of course. If you have children, this will definitely be their favorite part of the trip as this camp is highly interactive.

Visit Horse Camp

Alder Trail Camp

Best Camping in Big Basin - Alder Trail Campground

Near Rancho Del Oso
Waddell Creek Valley and Pacific Ocean by David Baron is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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This campsite is located further into the park, approximately 1.5 miles from the Rancho del Oso Ranger Station which is located along the Sea Trail. The campsites are very basic, however, they’re located in an extremely scenic area by Waddell Creek.

If you’re backpacking or looking to really throw yourself into nature, then you can’t get any more natural than this. You may encounter wild animals during your stay, so keep your food up high.

Visit Alder Trail Camp

Twin Redwoods Trail Camp

Best Camping in Big Basin - Twin Redwoods Campground

Near Twin Redwoods Trail Camp
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If you’re looking for even more seclusion from the world and wanting to really blend in nature, then the Twins Redwoods Trail camp is a good option. This campsite is tucked away even further inland, approximately 1.75 miles from the Rancho del Oso Ranger Station which is located on the Sea Trail.

It’s a basic campsite, however, does provide you with some essential amenities that come in handy after a long day’s hike.

Visit Twin Redwoods Trail Camp

What’s there to do in Rancho Del Oso?

Best Camping in Big Basin - Rancho Del Oso

Hiking around Rancho Del Oso
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If you’re looking to get out of the forest and head towards the ocean, then you’ll love the Rancho Del Oso area. The area was historically used by Spanish sailors who had to trek around the massive cliffs called Sierra Blanca.

The area is full of mixed forests, beaches where you can surf, windsurf or kiteboard, hiking paths, birdwatching and biking trails. For those that are looking for a more intensive experience, there are also backpacking adventures led my naturalists through the Santa Cruz mountains.

Camping in West Waddell Creek State Wilderness

Where can I camp in West Waddell Creek State Wilderness?

Camp Herbert

Best Camping in Big Basin - Camp Herbert

Wandering in Big Basin
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Like we said, the West Waddell Creek area is quite remote. Camp Herbert is a remote backpack campground which is situated along the Skyline-to-the-sea trail, meaning the only way to get to it is to hike to it. In the camp, you’ll be able to see large California Nutmeg trees which look similar to redwoods.

The campsite is extremely basic, however, if you’re looking to be a part of nature, then this is a great option.

Visit Camp Herbert


Sunset Camp

Best Camping in Big Basin - Sunset Camp

The Big Basin Trails
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The West Waddell area is in the centre of the Big Basin park, meaning that it’s not as popular as areas such as the Big Basin state headquarters. Those areas are usually full of amenities. However, at Sunset Camp, you’re excluded from most of that.

In order to access the site, you’ll need to hike the Skyline-to-the-Sea trail, that’s the only way. The campsite has 10 sites and is all placed along West Berry Creek. This is a very basic campsite, yet situated right in nature.

Visit Sunset Camp

What is there to do in West Waddell Creek State Wilderness?

Best Camping in Big Basin - West Waddell Creek

Exploring the Area
West Waddell Creek in Big Basin Redwoods State Park by Miguel Vieira is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The West Waddell Creek area is full of scenic trails reaching the coastline and going right into the wild forest. Famous trails such as the Redwood trail go through this area where you’re able to see ancient redwood trees at their greatest.

Not only does this area have a number of trails but also a thick variety of wildlife and natural waterfalls such as Berry Creek Falls and Golden Falls. This area, though not popular like others parts in Big Basin State Park, is full of nature that is really a must-see.

However, the only way to this area is by foot, so if you’re with small children, it’s recommended to stay either close to the coastline or near the Big Basin headquarters.

Big Basin

Where can I camp in Big Basin?

Blooms Creek Campground

Best Camping in Big Basin - Blooms Creek

Exploring Big Basin
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This campground is great if you’re wanting to experience sleeping among the redwood trees. If you’re going to be taking on some trails, Blooms Creek is situated nearby multiple hiking trails for you to choose from.

Most of the campsites in Blooms Creek are not located very close to the creek itself. Though the campsite is designed in a cathedral-like setting with giant redwoods, enchanting trails and babbling brooks.

Each campsite is well equipped with a fire pit, food locker, and picnic table. If you need something, the campsite is located close to amenities, so it’s very convenient.


Sequoia Group Camp

Best Camping in Big Basin - Sequoia Group Camp

Near Sequoia Group Camp
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If you’re wanting to explore the Coastal Redwoods in the Big Basin, then you’ll love this spot. There are multiple trails for you to access nearby, all ranging in different levels of difficulty and duration.

The Sequoia Group Camps offer users with two group sites, both accommodating up to 50 people. Both campsite offer picnic tables, fire rings, and plenty of space for everyone to enjoy. Both campsites are shaded so you won’t have to worry about getting a sunburn.

In addition, it’s close to the Big Basin Redwood Headquarters, so, you’re still well connected to amenities if you’ve forgotten something. This campsite is ideal for families as there are lots to see and explore around the site.

Semperviren Campground

Best Camping in Big Basin - Semperviren Campground

Near Semperviren Campground
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If you want to be surrounded by redwoods, then you need to try out the Sempervirens campsite. It’s in the heart of Big Basin and nearby the Sempervirens creek.

There are plenty of picnic table and fire rings which are great for socializing around, however, if you’re looking for more privacy than this campsite may not be the one for you, though, you are surrounded by towering redwood trees.

The campsite is easily accessible from the highway, making it a favorite for those who love convenience. If you have children, you’ll be happy to know you’re only ¾-mile away from the Big Basin Redwood’s headquarters, so, you’re still close to a store and other amenities if you need them.


What is there to do in Big Basin?

Best Camping in Big Basin

Big Basin
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On the West side of the Big Basin state park is where the Big Basin state Headquarter is located. This is where most of the accommodation can be found in the park itself.

Most of the trails start from this area, thus, if you’re looking for ample accommodation with a little more luxury such as picnic areas, nature store, campfire areas and proper restrooms, then this is a good place to set up camp. In addition, it’s right off of the 236 highway, so it’s extremely easy to find if you’re not good with directions.


What a great collections of campgrounds. Going on your own? See my guide to the best bivy tents.

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