Why are reservations being required at Big Basin Redwoods State Park?
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.
When will reservations be required?
Reservations are required to park a vehicle at Big Basin since the park reopened on July 22, 2022.
How will I make a day-use reservation for Big Basin Redwoods State Park?
Make a reservation online. Reservations also are available by phone. Leave a message at (831) 338-8867.
What do I need to bring to the park the day of my reservation?
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.
What else should I bring to the park?
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.
Who will need to obtain a reservation?
Any park visitor who wants to park inside Big Basin Redwoods State Park needs a day-use reservation. Visitors arriving by bicycle do not require a reservation.
How many day-use reservations will be issued each day?
A total of 96 parking spots and 4 disabled spots are offered daily.
How far in advance can I make a reservation?
Reservations need to be made by 6 a.m. on the day of the visit 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.
Can people show up and make a reservation in person?
Reservations will be available in advance only. Make a reservation online or by phone.
Can I change/cancel my reservation?
Please call 831-338-8867 or email firstname.lastname@example.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.
What happens if State Parks needs to cancel my reservation?
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.
Can I transfer my reservation?
Reservations are non-transferrable.
Is there a day-use fee for Big Basin Redwoods State Park?
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.
Is bus parking available at Big Basin Redwoods State Park?
Yes, and reservations are required. The day-use fee for parking a small bus (10-24 passengers) is $50, including a $40 parking fee and a $10 reservation fee. The day-use fee for parking a large bus (25+ passengers) is $100, including an $80 parking fee and a $20 reservation fee. Make a reservation online. Reservations also are available by phone. Leave a message at (831) 338-8867.
Can participants use their Parks Pass at this park?
Parks passes will be honored at the park, but the reservation fee of $2.00 will be charged.
What passes will be honored?
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.
Is there a discount for a Disabled Discount Pass?
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.
Will there be a discounted day-use fee for CalWORKs families?
Are trailers and RVs permitted?
Only passenger vehicles are allowed to reserve day-use parking at Big Basin Redwoods SP at this time.
Is there motorcycle parking?
Motorcycle parking is allowed through the reserved day-use parking system.
How can media access the park?
Credentialed media should contact Ann at Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks by email to arrange a media pass.
Will reservations be required year-round, or only during the busy seasons?
It is anticipated that reservations will be required year-round.
Where does the day-use reservation allow a visitor to go?
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.
When will more trails be open?
The 2020 CZU Lighting Complex Fires damaged 175 miles of trails and roads in Big Basin, Butano, Henry Cowell – Fall Creek Unit and Ano Nuevo state parks. The fire burned over 97% of Big Basin, destroying bridges, steps, retainer walls, observation platforms, safety railings, plastic culverts and trail signage. Along with damaged structures, there’s an immense amount of hazard trees along these recreational routes as well as burned-out rootballs and root systems have undermined trails and roadways. Dead standing trees are beginning to fall in the forest creating additional hazards and workload to open these routes.
State Parks, Conservation Corps and volunteer groups are actively working to clear burned vegetation, mitigate hazard trees and repair structures. These labor forces have been focused in and around Big Basin Park headquarters with crews now branching out from the day-use area. The intent is to repair segments of trail that create recreational loop opportunities, then branch out further into the backcountry. These crews are camping in the park to increase work production and efficiency. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to open more of the park.
What else can I do in the park?
An interim Visitor Center will be open. Park visitors should check the interim Visitor Center for the availability of guided walks.
What services are available at Big Basin Redwoods State Park?
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.
Are field trips available at Big Basin Redwoods State Park?
Currently, field trips are not being offered at this park. Please visit the Field Trip page to learn about other exciting opportunities for school groups to visit local state parks and beaches.
Is horseback riding or mountain biking allowed at the park?
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.
Can people bring their dogs to the park?
Dogs are not permitted on any trails or fire roads in the park. Dogs on leash are allowed in paved areas only.
What is the timeline to reopen the full park?
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.