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Who knows anything about Big Basin Redwoods State Park?

Who knows anything about Big Basin Redwoods State Park?

Old Mar 15th, 2011, 05:33 PM
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Who knows anything about Big Basin Redwoods State Park?

Any opinion on Big Basin Redwoods State Park?

In a couple weeks we arrive in San Francisco on a Sunday morning and have a long afternoon—if all goes right--before we need to be in our hotel for DH's conference the next day. We pick up a rental car around 11 am at SFO and plan to drive down Pacific Highway for a while. We have Half Moon Bay, Pigeon Point Lighthouse, and Santa Cruz as possible stopping points, knowing we can’t predict traffic, weather, or how many photo ops we’ll want to stop for! Then, depending on the time and weather, we turn east and north at some point, probably Santa Cruz, drive back to SFO, turn in car, and get a cab to hotel near Union Square (won’t need car in the city). One possible route on our way back from Santa Cruz could be to do a wiggly way back towards either 280 or 101 with a possible stop at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. We generally want to drive from SFO down the Pacific Highway for some time and then loop back to SFO by 7 or 8 pm; don’t need to be at hotel before 10 or so if we need to be that late. (I’ve been to Monterrey and Carmel without him, but we don’t imagine we’ll have time to go that far south this trip.)

So just wondering if this state park would be worth a stop if we end up having time?
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Old Mar 15th, 2011, 06:38 PM
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Big Basin is great (Every time folks recommend Muir Woods I want to yell "BIG BASIN IS BIGGER/BETTER/LESS CROWDED")

But Half Moon Bay, Pigeon Point, Santa Cruz, and back to SF is an awful lot for one day even w/o trying to squeeze in Big Basin. It isn't a place you can just pop in -- it takes a while to get there. And you aren't even getting on the road until after 11AM.
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Old Mar 15th, 2011, 06:38 PM
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If the object is to see some nice Coast Redwoods, you can save a few miles of driving on switch backed roads by stopping at Butano State Park. About 2 miles south-east of Pigeon Point Lighthouse turn up the Gazos Creek Road. Continue a short distance beyond an intersection on Gazos Creek road to a parking area for the Candelabra Redwood Trail @ N37 11.15 X W122 19.90 if you have a GPSr. The trail will lead up to a big Candelabra shaped Redwood.
You could save taxi fare if you took your luggage to the hotel and checked in and then took the car back and rode the BART if the hotel is anywhere near BART.
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Old Mar 15th, 2011, 06:44 PM
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Hi janisj--so great to get your feedback about California instead of UK for a change (a change for me, I mean). Thanks. Yeah, we know we may not have time for anything besides just high-tailing it back from ??Santa Cruz in time to get car back and such. Just wishful thinking--and picking some "wow, we might be able to squeeze this in" options.

tomfuller--thanks for info!

We'll keep both places on the radar (or in the GPS) but won't count on either of them.
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Old Mar 15th, 2011, 06:59 PM
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The drive on Highway 1 through Half Moon Bay between San Francisco and Santa Cruz is beautiful.

The drive San Francisco, Big Basin Redwoods, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, San Francisco is about 200 miles and takes about five hours (without stops) under good driving conditions.

This is wonderful way to spend a day. (Beware: It is easy to get lost in Santa Cruz and to waste time there trying to figure out how to get back on the highway.)

HTTY
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Old Mar 15th, 2011, 07:05 PM
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(I'm moonlighting in CA )

I wouldn't mess about w/ SFO or BART to return the car. That just adds hassle. And you'll be hitting town well after the commute rush. I'd collect the car at SFO and drop it in downtown SF. You can drop the bags at the hotel and then return the car -- or depending on the agency/hotel you might be walking distance.

All of the majors have several locations in central SF. Just double check the operating hours of the specific location.
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Old Mar 15th, 2011, 07:15 PM
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Got our Mini-Cooper reserved--woohoo--but Avis, near our hotel, is only open til 6 on Sundays, so we'll just do the 24-hour-airport thing. Might look at the BART option, though--the Hilton is just .2 miles (although up hill, as I recall) from Powell Station.
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Old Mar 15th, 2011, 07:56 PM
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That is a lot of driving. Any particular reason to go to Santa cruz? To me it is a destination in itself. If it is ocean you want to see, then I would go a bit further to Capitola for a charming town plus the ocean and call it a day but if you really want to see the redwoods then Big Basin should be the destination. It would be a shame to drive down there to just turn around a drive back. Walking in the redwoods can be so healing. The drive down Hiway 1 to Santa Cruz is lovely and you see lots of ocean so I would decide what is the most important.....Beach or Redwoods.....
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Old Mar 16th, 2011, 08:57 AM
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The drive north out of Big Basin back toward the city is Skyline Drive (Hwy 35), and it's gorgeous. Just a delight to drive. I think you can do what you've planned but I'd skip Santa Cruz--the town is a big letdown IMO. I would actually recommend taking Bonny Doon Road north from Hwy 1 before you get to Santa Cruz, and heading up to BB that way. There are lots of pullouts, views and trailheads along the way.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Route_35
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Old Mar 16th, 2011, 08:59 AM
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I agree -- IF you skip Santa Cruz, Big Basin is doable. It is too bad you don't arrive earlier. W/ a full day you'd have more options.
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Old Mar 16th, 2011, 09:16 AM
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Big Basin is one of my favorite parks. However, if you do go to Santa Cruz, but don't have time for Big Basin, Henry Cowell Redwoods state park is also good - it is next to the town of Felton, which is much closer to Santa Cruz than Big Basin.

Butano State Park is a great choice too - I love that park. You won't see the really large trees there though, so if you are looking for old-growth trees, Henry Cowell and Big Basin are your best choices. Butano has some good second-growth groves that are very beautiful, some wonderful oaks, and this time of year, the wildflowers will be very nice.
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Old Mar 16th, 2011, 12:19 PM
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We will look at skipping Santa Cruz; it was not a must see by any means--just a possible southernmost point of reference when planning times and routes, since I could tell I wasn't going to be able to show him Carmel.

Thanks for all the info--most helpful. Will write up a tiny TR upon return (I will have Monday to go somewhere in San Francisco while DH is conferencing, then I return alone to get back to the classroom while he finishes up a couple days later. Thinking of taking one of Stu Dudley's recommended free City Guide walks--Chinatown maybe) (And we're getting in about as soon as we can, flying from deep south Texas, so we'll just enjoy what we get to)
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Old Mar 16th, 2011, 12:49 PM
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A short distance past the Gazos Creek Road along Rt. 1, is a pull off/trail head. The trail goes out to a point on the shore called "the fist". There is a platform with a nice bench looking out to sea. There is (or was) a geocache hidden under the platform. I really enjoyed the hike out there after checking out of the HI Hostel at Pigeon Point.
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Old Mar 16th, 2011, 01:47 PM
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Skip Santa Cruz and do all the other stuff.
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