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Alternatives to the Skyline to Sea Trail
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Luke H.
(Scraps111) - F
Alternatives to the Skyline to Sea Trail on 05/05/2012 19:49:41 MDT Print View

I want to do some backpacking up in the Santa Cruz area, but I can't find much info on trails other than the Skyline to the Sea trail. I might just go ahead and hike that trail because it does look awesome, but I'd like to know if there are any alternatives that don't involve as many people and parking/camping fees.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Alternatives to the Skyline to Sea Trail on 05/06/2012 10:22:44 MDT Print View

Nisene Marks... Don't know the name of the trail camp, but it's a dry camp. It's somewhat near the Loma Prieta Earthquake epicenter. Portola St. Park holds some options as well. You mentioned Skyline To The Sea, but Big Basin does offer some options as well

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Re: Alternatives to the Skyline to Sea Trail on 05/06/2012 12:08:29 MDT Print View

Is Skyline to the Sea open? I had heard some talk that it was closed? There are some great hikes in Big Basin. Even Henry Cowell is nice just for short hikes.

Ryan Commons
(RyanCommons) - F

Locale: Bay Area, California
This is the Skyline to the Sea Trail in the Santa Cruz Mountains - It is open. on 05/06/2012 12:47:34 MDT Print View

Here is a video of the entire trail and all the trip planning information: http://www.walkifornia.com/2012/01/skyline-to-sea-trail-castle-rock-big.html

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Alternatives to the Skyline to Sea Trail on 05/06/2012 22:58:49 MDT Print View

Personally, I would look at a number of the hikes in Ventana Wilderness because they can give much more of a sense of remoteness. A fair bit of skyline to the sea (maybe 1/2 to 2/3) is close enough to roads that you hear cars which I am happy to do without.

--Mark

Bruce Tolley
(btolley) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Alternatives to Skyline to the Sea Trail on 05/06/2012 23:31:23 MDT Print View

If you start Skyline to the Sea from the Castle Rock SP parking lot, and not from Skyline itself you can avoid hearing the road noise from Hwy 9.

There is road noise for the first 3 or 4 miles from Waterman gap to the point where you start climbing China Grade. It is still an awesome hike: waterfalls, wildflowers, earthquake faults, and the ocean at the end.

For remoteness, I have never seen anyone at the trail camp inside Butano SP. Portola SP is scheduled for closure at the end of August,. You can reach its trail camp from Skyline Blvd. I have never seen any other backpackers there as well. There are also two trail camps in Pescadero County Park.

Marc Eldridge
(meld) - MLife

Locale: The here and now.
Re: Alternatives to the Skyline to Sea Trail on 05/07/2012 01:34:25 MDT Print View

You could start on Skyline where the Grizzly Flat Trail comes up from Upper Stevens Creek County Park. It turns into Peters Creek Trail in the Long Ridge Open Space Preserve. From Peters Creek take Ward Road which enters Portola Redwoods State Park then hit the Slate Creek Trail. There is a Slate Creek camp which will take reservations up until June 30 when Portola is slated for closure. There is a trail easement from Portola to Big Basin and after entering the park follow the Hollow Tree Trail to Skyline to the Sea. From HQ Big Basin we took the Sunset Trail to Sunset Camp, went down Berry Creek Falls trail then hit the Skyline to Sea trail for a little ways and took the Howard King trail to the Mt. McAbee overlook then down the McCrary Ridge trail back to the Skyline to Sea. Good view from McAbee overlook. The part from Skyline to Big Basin is part of what is called the Traverse on the trails.com web site.

William Wang
(billwang) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
+ Traverse Hike on 05/09/2012 14:54:48 MDT Print View

I am planning on hiking the "Traverse" hike described by Marc, starting tomorrow morning! We'll do it in reverse - starting at Waddell Beach and ending in Los Altos. We have reservations for Jay Camp on 5/10 and then Slate Creek on 5/11. I hadn't heard Portola SP is closing so soon! We got the idea of the hike in "Camping and Backpacking the San Francisco Bay Area" by Matt Heid, (Wilderness Press) now out of print, I think. Heid has a newer book called 'one-night wilderness' or something like that that probably describes most of the hike. I'll try to report back on this thread when I'm done.

Luke H.
(Scraps111) - F
Water sources on 05/09/2012 19:59:39 MDT Print View

I'm thinking of doing a two night out and back trip starting at Waddell Beach and hiking in to one of the trail camps near Big Basin the first night. Second day I would hike around big basin and then return to last nights trail camp or move to another camp. Day three I would return to Waddell Beach. Something along those lines roughly. But my question is are there consistent water sources along the trail? I saw some info on the internet saying how Waddell Creek was pretty nasty even if you treat the water. Anyone know what this is referring to? Is it particularly nasty or should I just treat it like any other backcountry water source? Thanks

Bruce Tolley
(btolley) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Alternatives to Skyline to the Sea Trail-Waddell Creek on 05/13/2012 17:50:32 MDT Print View

Most of Waddell Creek is downstream of the Big Basin State Park Campgrounds. I would strongly recommend against taking and treating any water from Waddell Creek since I doubt that BBSP has full sewage treatment and all the road run off including oil from cars ends up in Waddell. There are many feeder streams clearly marked on the map from which you can source water.

Luke H.
(Scraps111) - F
Waddell on 05/13/2012 22:02:22 MDT Print View

Thanks so it sounds like I can get by doing the hike and not taking water from Waddell. Do these feeder streams have water most of the year?

William Wang
(billwang) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Water is flowing well but there are mosquitos on 05/14/2012 11:47:58 MDT Print View

Hi Luke,

We hiked from Waddell beach on 5/10 to Jay Trail camp and took water from Berry Creek just below the falls. The falls are flowing quite well right now. As Bruce said, there are many other tributaries that are flowing well right now. Mosquitos seem to have hatched recently. They are plentiful except at night but as of a few days ago they were not yet aggressively attacking any exposed skin to it wasn't too bad. I might be wrong, but I think the trail camps have a one-night max stay, so you'd have to move camps the second night. The hot coin-activated showers and snack bar at BB HQ make Jay camp seem quite luxurious. They just installed bear boxes nearly big enough to sleep in!

We traversed to slate creek in Portola SP and then on to Black Mountain and Los Altos and found plently of water in pescadero creek, slate creek and steven's creek (the later two of which we used).

Enjoy!
-Bill.

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
no need on 05/14/2012 13:59:42 MDT Print View

ive done stts a few times and after the first time i didn't even bring water purification.. just bring 2L for the first 9 miles to the first trail camp and fill up at the spigot there. and then fill up again at the Big basin HQ bathrooms and that should be enough to get you to waddel.
I have always done it in 2 days and stealth camped along the way. if you are planning on more than 2 you results may vary..

Bruce Tolley
(btolley) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Alternatives to the Skyline to the Sea Trail on 05/14/2012 19:08:05 MDT Print View

To Jason's point, you can get potable water at HQ and at Waterman gap. If you want to carry 2 liters, you probably do not need to take water from streams.

Many of the streams are still flowing. Go now!

I am not sure the backpacking camp in Portola SP is officially still open, but the park itself is scheduled to close at the end of August

If you camp there on the way from or to Black Mtn, you most likely will have it to yourself. The stream there runs all year.

Edited by btolley on 05/14/2012 19:09:04 MDT.

Marc Eldridge
(meld) - MLife

Locale: The here and now.
Re: Alternatives to the Skyline to Sea Trail on 05/14/2012 20:09:48 MDT Print View

Slate Creek will be open till June 30 then no more reservations will be made. This was a sigh down by the bridge that crosses Waddell creek


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