Big Basin Redwoods State Park FAQs

The implementation of a reservation system will allow the public to return to Big Basin for the first time since the CZU Lightning Complex Fire engulfed the park in flames in August 2020. Permits are necessary to:

1. Ensure visitor safety in the limited areas where public access is available. 

2. Protect the fire-damaged forest as it slowly recovers from the devastating fire. 

3. Provide a safe, high-quality visitor experience in which overcrowding of parking lots and trails will not deter visitors from having the ability to seek out recreational experiences that allow for a connection to the natural environment.

Reservations are required to park a vehicle at Big Basin when the park reopens July 22, 2022.

Make a reservation online. Reservations also are available by phone. Leave a message at (831) 338-8867.

After submitting your reservation request and payment, you will receive an email with a reservation confirmation document attached. Print out the document or download to your device before your visit as there is no internet service at the park. If you stated you have a valid park pass, disabled parking pass or other discount pass, please bring your pass to show staff at check-in. If you arrive without your pass, you will be turned away. Furthermore, no refunds will be issued.

There is no water in the park – please bring plenty of drinking water. Consider bringing snacks, sunscreen and a hat (there’s less shade now since the fire), and suitable footwear for uneven surfaces.

Any park visitor who wants to park inside Big Basin Redwoods State Park needs a day-use reservation. Visitors arriving on the public SC Metro bus or arriving via bicycle do not require a reservation.

A total of 84 parking spots and 4 disabled spots are offered daily.

Reservations must be made at least 1 day in advance and can be made up to 60 days in advance. A limited number of spots will also be made available to reserve 3 days in advance.

Reservations will be available in advance only. Make a reservation online or by phone.

Please call 831-338-8867 or email reservebigbasin@nullthatsmypark.org to cancel your reservation. To receive a refund for parking fees, you must contact us at least four days before your arrival date. The $2.00 per vehicle reservation fee is non-refundable.

The park may be closed due to a weather event, emergency, disaster or other operational necessity as determined by State Parks. If your reservation has to be cancelled due to a closure, we will make every effort to notify you and issue a full refund as soon as possible.

Reservations are non-transferrable.

Yes, the day-use fee is $8 (a $6 day-use parking fee with a $2 reservation fee) and stays local to support the park.

Parks passes will be honored at the park, but the reservation fee of $2.00 will be charged.

If you indicate that you have a valid California State Park Pass for a vehicle when registering online, the parking fee will be waived. Pass holders must still pay a non-refundable $2.00 reservation fee for each parking space reserved. You must show the pass to the staff person at check-in, or your reservation will not be honored, and you will be turned away. 

Any of the following passes are accepted: Golden Poppy, California Explorer, Golden Bear | CALWORKS, an in-season Limited Use Golden Bear, Distinguished Veteran, Adventure Pass for 4th Graders, Santa Cruz District Volunteer, or a Library Park Pass. Holders of a California State Park Disabled Discount Pass receive a 50% discount on parking fees.

The parking fee is discounted by 50% if you present a valid California State Park Disabled Discount pass for a vehicle at check-in. The reservation fee of $2.00 will be charged.

As part of the Outdoor Access for All Initiative CALWORKS families may receive a free annual, vehicle day-use pass, which will be honored at the park. Pass holders must still pay a non-refundable $2.00 reservation fee for each parking space reserved. Get more information about the pass and sign up.

Only passenger vehicles are allowed to reserve day-use parking at Big Basin Redwoods SP at this time.

Motorcycle parking is allowed through the reserved day-use parking system.

Credentialed media should contact Ann at Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks by email to arrange a media pass.

It is anticipated that reservations will be required year-round.

The Big Basin Redwoods State Park day-use reservation will allow a vehicle to enter Big Basin Redwoods SP via Highway 236 for day-use access. Parking is permitted only at the designated parking area listed on the reservation. The Redwood Loop Trail and Dool Trail will be open for hiking, and 18 miles of fire roads near the former site of Park Headquarters will be open for hiking and biking. View the Big Basin Redwoods State Park Interim Access Map.

An interim Visitor Center will be open. Park visitors should check the interim Visitor Center for the availability of guided walks.

Amenities are extremely limited at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. There are chemical toilets and handwash stations. However, there is no access to potable water, no cell phone service, no concessions and no electricity. The Redwood Loop Trail, Dool Trail and fire roads near the former site of Park Headquarters will be open for public access. View the Big Basin Redwoods State Park Interim Access Map.

18 miles of fire roads near the former site of Park Headquarters will be open for public access, including hiking and bicycling. Horse parking will not be available at this time. View the Big Basin Redwoods State Park Interim Access Map.

Dogs are not permitted on any trails or fire roads in the park. Dogs on leash are allowed in paved areas only.

Reestablishing full access to the reimagined park is expected to take years. The majority of Big Basin remains unsafe for the public to return to at this time. Burned areas remain closed for public safety and to allow fire recovery work to occur. As work continues to make areas safe, access will increase to the trails and parks that people love in the Santa Cruz District, and the forest is showing signs of recovery throughout the park system. Trails in the Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and in Butano State Park recently reopened. To find out more about future plans for the park go to the Reimagining Big Basin Vision website.