Pine Mountain Trail to Buzzards Roost, Big Basin Redwoods State Park: Redwood Trailhead, San Francisco: Marin Headlands - Mt Tamalpais - Point Reyes, California
Pine Mountain Trail to Buzzards Roost - 4.5 miles
Big Basin Redwoods State Park: Redwood Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||4.5 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||1,010' - 2,125 ' (2,125' max elevation - highest in park)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,115' net elevation gain (+1,218' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Pine Mountain Trail to Buzzards Roost - 4.5 Miles Round-Trip
Buzzards Roost (2,125') is the highest point in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The Pine Mountain Trail climbs 1,115' in just 2.25 miles to the summit with exceptional panoramas across the Park. Visitors will enjoy old growth redwoods, pine-oak forests, diverse chaparral, and terrific views on the hike to Buzzards Roost:
From Park Headquarters, follow the Redwood Trail toward Blooms Creek Campground.
A groomed path leads .2 miles through some of the Park's largest redwood trees, including Mother of the Forest, Big Basin's tallest at 329'. The trail reaches Highway 236, where you'll bear right toward Blooms Creek Campground (.25 miles : 1,000').
Turn right from Blooms Creek Campground (.35 miles : 1,000') onto the paved road for .1 mile to a closed gate (.45 miles : 987'). This is the official beginning of the Pine Mountain Trail.
Turn left at the gate to a clearly marked Trail Access sign. The trail crosses Blooms Creek and begins a strenuous climb south through redwood, tanoak, and huckleberry,
The trail passes two splits for the Pine Mountain Service Road before actually crossing it at 1.1 mile (1,325'). Walk a few feet up the road and bear right to hop back on the Pine Mountain Trail.
The trail bends up and around the mountain through a dark canopy of mixed pine and oak, which gradually cede to manzanita, madrone, and scrub as you gain elevation (1.7 miles : 1,740').
A markedly rocky path continues with sweeping views north and west over Big Basin (2.0 miles : 1,954'). It levels and turns sharply through a knobcone pine stand before a final push up open rock slabs to Buzzards Roost (2.25 miles : 2,125').
Big Basin Redwoods State Park Weather
- Winter: Cold, overcast and rainy. Big Basin receives the majority of its average 48 inches of rain. December through March average temperatures range from highs in the 50's to lows in the 20's.
- Spring: Cool with showers and morning and evening fog. Average daytime highs in the 60's, lows in the 30's to 40's.
- Summer: Warm with cool nights. Morning fog in early Summer. Average highs 75 to 95, lows 40's to 50's.
- Fall: Warm day to cold nights. Occasional early storms with rain. Average highs 75 to 60's, lows 50's to 30. Maybe the best weather of the year.
- N37 10.320 W122 13.357 — .00 Miles: Redwood Trailhead - Park HQ
- N37 10.012 W122 13.321 — .45 miles: Start of Pine Moutain Trail at gate
- N37 09.764 W122 13.472 — 1.0 miles: Steady ascent though forest
- N37 09.736 W122 13.447 — 1.1 miles: Cross Pine Mtn Service Road
- N37 09.513 W122 13.256 — 1.5 miles: Ecology visibly changing
- N37 09.407 W122 13.440 — 2.0 miles: First meaningful vistas
- N37 09.348 W122 13.446 — 2.25 miles: Buzzards Roost - 2,125'
- Knobcone pine cones can remain closed for decades and only fire will trigger their opening and subsequent release of seeds.
- Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California's oldest State Park (1902). It protects over 18,000 acres of old growth and recovering redwood forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral, and riparian habitats.
- Elevations in the park vary from sea level to over 2,000'.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- To reserve developed campsites, call Reserve America at 800.444.PARK (7275) or visit the Reserve America Web site. The Reserve America site has campsite maps with the location of each site in relation to parking, restrooms and other facilities.
- $35 per night for developed campsites.
- Big Basin Redwoods State Park features Tent Cabin camping. These one-room cabins are managed by a private concession. Reservations: 800-874-TENT (8368).
- Backcountry camping is available May 1 - October 31. Call 831.338.8861 for backcountry camping details and reservations.
- Fishing is not permitted in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $10 fee to enter Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
- The park is open every day year round from 6am - 10pm. Office hours are 9am - 5pm Sunday through Thursday, and 8am - 8pm Friday and Saturday.
- Dogs are welcome but must be leashed at all times. They're allowed in picnic areas, campground areas and on paved roads only. Dogs are not allowed anywhere at Rancho del Oso or on any other trails or interior roads. They must be kept in a tent or car with appropriate ventilation at night.
- Swimming is not permitted in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
Directions to Trailhead
Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located about 65 miles south of San Francisco, 25 miles from San Jose, and 21 miles from Saratoga.
From San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Saratoga
Take either the 101 or 280 Highway south to the 85 freeway south. Exit 85 at Saratoga Road. Turn right and head west on Saratoga Road to a traffic signal and Highway 9. Turn right on Highway 9 through the town of Saratoga and into the mountains. Stay on Highway 9 for 12 miles to Highway 236. Turn right onto Highway 236 for 9 miles to Park Headquarters.
From Oakland, Fremont and San Jose
Take the 880 freeway south, which becomes Highway 17. As you head towards Santa Cruz and come down from the summit, you will see a sign on the freeway for Big Basin. The actual road name is Mount Hermon Road. Exit the freeway here and stay right onto Mount Hermon Road. Stay on this road through the city of Scotts Valley. Mount Hermon Road ends at an intersection with a signal (Graham Hill Rd.). Turn right at this light. You'll immediately come to another lighted intersection for Highway 9. Turn right on Highway 9 for 15 miles. You'll be traveling through several mountain towns to the town of Boulder Creek. In Boulder Creek there is one stop sign. Turn left onto Highway 236/Big Basin Way for 9 miles to Park Headquarters.
From California Highway 1, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay
Take Highway 1 to Santa Cruz. Take Highway 9 north for 15 miles. You will pass through several mountain towns to Boulder Creek. In Boulder Creek there is one stop sign. At this sign turn left onto Highway 236/Big Basin Way. Stay on this road for 9 miles to Park Headquarters.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
21600 Big Basin Way
Boulder Creek, California, U.S.A.