Berry Creek Falls Hike

The Berry Creek Falls loop has been on our “to hike” list for a while now, pretty much ever since the first time we went to Big Basin State Park last June. It’s rated as a strenuous, 11-mile hike with about 2,000 feet of total elevation, and we’ve overheard park rangers telling others to set aside 6-8 hours to complete the full hike. If you’re curious, you can read a lot about this hike at the following links:

http://www.redwoodhikes.com/BigBasin/BerryCreek.html (beautiful photos)
http://www.bahiker.com/southbayhikes/bigbasin/waterfallloop.html (bahiker.com is the bible of Bay Area hikes)
http://www.everytrail.com/guide/berry-creek-falls-loop-at-big-basin-redwoods-state-park (detailed walkthrough with step-by-step instructions)

We finally decided to embark on the hike this weekend. We had a huge breakfast (pancakes & bacon!), packed sandwiches and fruit, and arrived at Big Basin at about 11:45. After finding parking, it was off to the races…er….trails!

STRENUOUS HIKE!
WARNING…STRENUOUS HIKE!

Overall I would rate this hike as strenuous only if you were trying to complete it in less than 6 hours, or without plenty of water & food. We brought a pack full of food and two camelbacks full of water, and fairly easily finished the hike in 4 hours, which included a 30 minute lunch break at the base of the falls, and plenty of stops for photos, along with a few 5-minute water or dumping-stuff-out-of-shoes breaks. Don’t get me wrong, we were pretty sore and tired after completing the hike, but If you took more breaks and used the full 6 hours I think it would actually be a fairly leisurely, nice hike with lots of beautiful views and of course, the stunning waterfalls.

Scroll down for tons of photos from our hike today, and more comments on the strenuous-ness 🙂

Panorama of the Sunset trail.
Panorama of the Sunset trail. (click to make bigger!)
At what we thought of as the "top" of the Sunset Trail.
At what we thought of as the “top” of the Sunset Trail. (click to make bigger!)
Us in front of Golden Falls - about 2.5 hours into the hike, and after a stop for lunch.
Us in front of Golden Falls – about 2.5 hours into the hike, and after a stop for lunch.
Does this count as a waterfall?
Does this count as a waterfall?
You really needed this cable to keep yourself steady in this section!
You really needed this cable to keep yourself steady in this section!
Stone steps down from the waterfalls (Nick at the bottom).
Stone steps down from the waterfalls (Nick at the bottom).
Stone steps up to the falls.
Stone steps up to the falls.
Silver falls from down Berry Creek.
Silver falls from down Berry Creek.
Berry Creek Falls! We made it!
Berry Creek Falls! We made it!
Celebration selfie :D
Celebration selfie 😀
Beautiful views on the Skyline-to-the-Sea trail back to park HQ. This is Berry Creek Falls from a distance.
Beautiful views on the Skyline-to-the-Sea trail back to park HQ. This is Berry Creek Falls from a distance.
One thing I love about Big Basin is that there are often trees across the trail that you have to clamber over or under.
One thing I love about Big Basin is that there are often trees across the trail that you have to clamber over or under.
...or simply push out of the way!
…or simply push out of the way!
Saw a four-leaf clover and pointed it out to a little girl who was super excited.
Saw a four-leaf clover and pointed it out to a little girl who was super excited.
More loveliness along the Skyline-To-The-Sea trail.
More loveliness along the Skyline-To-The-Sea trail.
Another tree - this one, we had to climb over using the branches at the right of the photo as footholds! Now I see why they called this hike "strenuous"...
Another tree – this one, we had to climb over using the branches at the right of the photo as footholds! Now I see why they called this hike “strenuous”…
MADE IT! High five to us!! We actually even had another mile or two to walk back to the car from here, but our spirits were pretty high!
MADE IT! High five to us!! We actually even had another mile or two to walk back to the car from here, but our spirits were pretty high! (Even though I look sad in this picture this is actually my “badass” face)

 

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