Beach to Berry Falls
This hike starts at Waddell Beach which is the lowest portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The beach is popular with surfers and travelers along Hwy. 1, but is also the beginning of a pretty nice hike. Park in the parking lot on the seaward side of Hwy. 1, cross the highway and walk through the pedestrian gate as the ridges of the Santa Cruz Mountains rise on your left and the marsh slough in the Theodore J. Hoover Natural Preserve on your right. You are officially on the Skyline to the Sea Trail (STTS), and a hikers-only bypass trail heads uphill on the left after a few hundred yards.
Take this STTS bypass trail as it goes about halfway up the ridge then contours along before gradually descending back to the main trail at Alder Trail Camp. "Trail camp" is a misnomer because one can evidently drive there with the proper permit. The trail continues due north along Waddell Creek until reaching the Berry Creek Falls Trail after a little more than 6 miles. STTS turns east towards the park headquarters, and Berry Creek Falls are about 200 yards up the trail on its namesake trail. The falls are very nice, but there are usually a lot of people here as this is a popular destination in a popular state park.
Most of this hike is in the shade of a riparian redwood forest so leave your sunglasses at home, but don't forget the bug juice. This hike is very popular with hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners so don't expect to be alone unless it's raining. The nice mix of redwood, Douglas fir, bigleaf maple, alder and sycamore provide lots of shade the entire hike. There are a few ups and downs, and the total AEG is deceptively high because there are very few steep grades.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.