The redwoods aren’t the only “big” things at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Right now the waterfalls are big, too! Sempervirens Falls is a quick 3.4-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike that rambles through an old growth forest to a plunging waterfall.
From the park headquarters, follow the Sequoia Trail through some top-notch redwoods. As you get closer to the falls, the trail passes through multiple campgrounds. Shortly after passing through the Wastahi Campground, the sound of rushing water announces that you’re close. Take the spur trail down the steps, cross the road, and descend to the viewing platform. Sempervirens Falls cascades over a 10-foot-high ledge and into a deep pool. Small trees and moss-covered logs frame the flow.
Bonus: Extend the hike 1 mile by continuing past the falls and following the Shadowbrook Trail on the right-hand side of the road. The trail follows along Union and Sempervirens Creeks, including multiple footpath bridge crossings. The Bob Kirsch Trail will bring you back to Sky Meadow Road, where you can finish your hike on the Sequoia Trail back to the park headquarters.
NOTE: After heavy rain, check the park’s website to see whether the park is open or closed. Big Basin was recently closed due to the storms, but at last notice on their site they indicated that they hoped to reopen by 2 p.m. on February 28 (today). Please check ahead on the status before going. A day use fee of $10 is required and can be paid at the park headquarters. It’s best to begin this hike early to beat any crowds that come throughout the day and to guarantee parking at the headquarters. No dogs.