Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail

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Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail
The 70 ft. (21 m) Berry Creek Falls, as seen from the
Length 29.5 mi (47.5 km)
Location Santa Cruz County, California, USA
Trailheads Saratoga Gap, California
Waddell Beach, Pacific Ocean Castle Rock State Park California
Use Hiking
Elevation change 2,600 ft (790 m)
Highest point Saratoga Gap, 2,600 ft (790 m)
Lowest point Waddell Beach, 0 ft (0 m)
Hiking details
Trail difficulty Easy
Season May 1st through November 1st
Sights Castle Rock State Park
Big Basin State Park
Hazards Severe Weather

The Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail is a 29.5-mile (47.2-kilometre) hiking trail that descends from the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains in California to the Pacific Ocean, passing through Castle Rock State Park and Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Big Basin is California's oldest state park. It contains beautiful waterfalls and some of the largest, tallest, and oldest Redwood forests left in existence.

The trail usually takes two to three days to complete, with nearly all thru-hikers traveling from East to West (towards the ocean). It is possible to walk the entire trail in one day, though this is unusual and very difficult. However, there is a 50-km (31-mi) ultra running race held on this trail one or two times per year. Many hikers like to take a detour up Berry Creek Trail to see the waterfalls or to camp at Sunset Trail Camp, adding 2.7 mi (4.3 km) to the hike.

The Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail passing through a stand of California Redwood trees.

The trail begins at Saratoga Gap on the ridge at the intersection of SR 9 and Skyline Boulevard (SR 35), although many hikers actually begin at Castle Rock due to its overnight parking facility. The trail parallels SR 9 through Castle Rock, crosses the highway, and then follows SR 236 to Big Basin park headquarters. It then descends through Big Basin, following Waddell Creek to its outlet at Waddell Beach.

Santa Cruz Metro routes 35 and 40 formerly went from Big Basin State Park Headquarters to Waddell Creek and back. Since September 2011 Route 40 no longer goes all the way to Waddell Beach from mid-December to mid-March.[1] but instead turns around at Cement Plant Rd. Route 35 only stops at the Headquarters on the weekends during the Spring/Summer season.

There is a proposed plan for a "Saratoga-to-the-Sea" Trail. [1] The plan would create a trail starting somewhere near Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, passing through a defunct quarry, and terminating in Sanborn-Skyline County Park. This trail would connect to the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail via a completed section of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The quarry is owned by the Santa Clara County Roads and Airports Department, which is conducting feasibility studies of this plan. [2]

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