Sempervirens Falls – Big Basin Redwood SP

“They’re so big!” Slosh, slosh, slosh. “Oh my goodness look at that one we could live inside of it!” If you were following us on our hike this is what you would have heard as we were sloshing our way through Big Basin Redwoods SP! The rains had tapered off and the fog was resting above the trees leaving us cozy below hiking along the muddy trails. We were here to see the Sempervirens Falls but were first greeted by a forest of giants in California’s oldest state park!

Big Basin SP

The first glimpse of our adventure through Big Basin Redwood SP was the drive into the park. The 1.5 lane road winds through redwoods down to the visitor center. Stop in and chat with one of the rangers to get the “must see” list and head on out! Our trail started at the end of the parking lot to Sequoia Trail. You are instantly greeted by the giants! Use their roots as stairs and get ready for a beautiful adventure!

We kept stopping and admiring the the giants. It was magical to be in the forest with the fog barely settled on top of the tree canopy. No outside noises were heard…it’s like we were the only ones in the park. There had been a fire at some point in the park and some of the trunks of the mighty redwoods were burned at the bottom which opened up some shelter that we could both fit inside of and sleep overnight if we had to. That was our plan if the rains decided to pick up again! Not the sleeping but waiting out the storm inside of one of the trees. The hubs and I have seen some redwood giants and every time we are in complete awe. Some of these giants were growing before the Roman Empire! Check out the history part of the visitor center to see the transformation of the park and the displays.

The campground would be amazing to stay at! This is now on our bucket list! The spaces are far enough apart to have a little privacy in some areas to enjoy the peacefulness of the forest. The trail runs through the campground. When you reach the other side you can either drop down to the road or stay on the trail. The hubs and I opted to stay on the trail and take the road on the way back.

Sempervirens Falls

Sounds of the waterfall filled the forest before we reached it. Since it had just rained it was flowing nicely. Carefully crossing the road we noticed there is a 15 Minute parking sign…What?! You can drive to the falls?! What is the fun in that? Take the easy and short hike to the falls instead! Eagerly walking down the path to Sempervirens Falls we were rewarded with a beautiful 10 foot waterfall with a backdrop of ferns and trees. Sempervirens Falls may not be the most impressive waterfall we have seen but it was one of those that made your jaw drop in awe of the beauty you were standing in the middle of.

The viewing platform was situated perfectly to enjoy not only the falls but the surrounding area and creek flowing through as well. The hubs and I took our time enjoying the feeling of being there…until a bunch more people showed up. So we shared the space and then headed back up to take the road back to the visitor center.

The Road

Not many cars were on the road (I am guessing during the summer this is not the case) which allowed us to stop at every tree that would have taken at least 4 people to give a proper hug. There were so many! The ferns were flourishing alongside the road where water was trickling through. The redwoods were all so healthy and mighty. We felt protected and at peace. It was nice to be on the road and not on the muddy trail fearing my booty would gravitate toward the mud and also to get to see a different view. 🙂 After a little while there is a pedestrian only trail that runs along side the road. We could hear the creek flowing below as we walked along. We truly did not want this day to end and kept talking about going back for a longer visit next time!

Leaving Big Basin Redwood SP

After wandering around the visitor center we hopped back in the car and headed down to the coast. We enjoyed the winding roads that lead through the forest to expansive views of the coast! Our next stop was Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Make sure and have your directions already set before you head out because there is little to no cell reception in the park.

Sloshing Our Way Thru the Forest of Giants to Sempervirens Falls - Big Basin Redwood SP | Hike Then Wine

follow the signs!

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Whale season is upon us and Pigeon Point Lighthouse is a wonderful place to view the migration! We showed up and were immediately seeing whale spouts not too far off the point! We stayed there and enjoyed the views and the extended calmness before heading north to home. We had been to Pigeon Point before so we skipped the museum and gift shop but it is well worth the time to walk around it. Did you know Pigeon Point has a hostel you can stay at?? This too is on our bucket list!

Hike Details:

Parking=$10, flushing toilets at the visitor center and campgrounds, mostly shaded, 3.5 miles, 130 ft elevation gain, no dogs and a crumb free forest. Nearest food area is Davenport (on your way to Pigeon Point). We used the  trail description from Redwood Hikes and checked the Big Basin Redwoods SP website for updates on trail closures.

Fun tidbit:

Sequoia sempervirens is the sole living species of the genus Sequoia in the cypress family Cupressaceae. Common names include coast redwood, coastal redwood and California redwood. Wikipedia

Things We Love:

We both have Osprey backpacks that we absolutely love day hiking in! The colors are great, the fit is wonderful, and the ventilation on your back is priceless! The bosslady owns the Osprey Sirrus 24 in purple. The hubs owns the Osprey Stratos 24 in blue. The bosslady was a little aprehensive about carrying a pack due to the amount of sweat and heat she puts off but these have such good ventilation along the back it doesn’t bother her to wear it. The rain cover came in handy on this hike with a light rain we put our cameras in our backpacks and kept on going. All of the pockets on these backpacks help keep items organized and handy. A water bottle pocket on both sides of the backpack allow for extra hydration or if we don’t use our bladders on the inside for short hikes we can carry just the water bottle. These are so comfy and make carrying all of our essentials so easy on our hikes!




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Where else can you find us?

Don’t forget to check out the video of the hike on our Hike Then Wine YouTube channel!

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Sempervirens Falls - Big Basin Redwood SP

5 Favorite Sites to Find Your Next Hike – Northern California

The hubs and I have hiked over 100 hikes in the bay area with total stats of 592 miles with a total elevation gain of 85,259 feet over 862 hours in the past 2 years. Impressive stats? Maybe. We are still finding places to explore and add to these stats! The hubs and I like to find new places to hike every weekend. Living in beautiful northern California allows for us to do a different hike almost every time! Many of our friends that have lived here there entire lives wonder how we keep finding new ones to go to. I’ll let you in on a little secret, it’s called the internet. 🙂

Favorite Sites to Find Hikes

  • The number one favorite site we go to regularly is Bay Area Hiker (www.bahiker.com). We have never gotten lost when following Jane’s instructions! She gives insightful information on the area including the plant and animal life you will see and even has an amazing interactive map to find hikes in your area.
  • 600 Hikes in the Bay Area (gurmeet.net/hiking) has a great site grouped in what you would like to see on your hike from peaks, to waterfalls, to lighthouses, and so many more.
  • We signed up for the Weekend Sherpa (weekendsherpa.com) email which we receive every Thursday morning with ideas on hikes in Northern California.
  • The hubs and I like to volunteer and be involved in grassroots programs and the Bay Area Ridge Trail is one of them! Their interactive site (ridgetrail.org/trail-maps) helps me find which ones are part of the ridge trail project.
  • Finally, which county to do you live in? We are on the email list and also volunteer for Sonoma County Parks (parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov). Check out your local county park website and join in on the fun in your neighborhood!

Start exploring your backyard and then head on out and start exploring all the parks around you! We have enjoyed exploring the bay area regional parks, the California state parks and all the hidden gems our beautiful northern California has to offer!

Research Your Hiking Destination

While I love surprises, I do really want to know what I am in for. The above sites will give you tons of information but I like to know what I am going to see. We often use Instagram as a way to research what is there and also what not to miss! Sometimes when we read the trail descriptions there are options to do extra side trails to see views or find a hidden waterfall and Instagram lets us know if it’s worth the extra energy!

Ask the ranger! If you go to a regional or state park where you check in, ask the ranger what is a MUST SEE at their park. They know the ins and outs of it and are best suited to give you this info. I love our rangers. We have always gained so much insightful information from them!

Check the Weather

I know this might be a given, but check the weather before going! During the rainy season we like to explore waterfalls but I don’t want to be slipping through muddy trails while it is pouring down rain to get there. 🙂 If the trail has little shade, maybe not go when it is a 90 degree day? Our favorite weather app is Weather Underground (www.wunderground.com).

Where to Eat

The bosslady has a ton of food sensitivities which makes us either pack a picnic or research places to eat in the area. We love trying new local restaurants and find that is a good reward after a beautiful hike! Yelp is a great way to see where to go near your hiking destination.

Now go get out there and explore! We look forward to seeing you on the trails!

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5 Favorite Sites to Find Your Next Hike - Northern California

Roy’s Redwoods Preserve – Marin

It was a foggy morning with just a slight chance of rain when we found ourselves among the giants. The hubs and I love to explore Marin County and all her beauty every chance we get. Roy’s Redwoods has been on our list of hikes for a while now so we finally took the opportunity last weekend and it did not disappoint! The preserve is only 293 acres but so worth the effort finding it and hiking around.

Roy’s Redwoods

The drive through the backroads of Sonoma and Marin County are gorgeous as they wind up and down and through the hills often with fog below. The green hills, the dense fog, and all of the familiar bumps in the road are worth getting up and out the door on a Saturday to enjoy the peace and quiet along the trails. We found parking along side Nicasio Valley Road and put on our backpacks and headed into the arms of the mighty redwood giants. There was just enough water in the small creek running through the redwood grove to saturate this area. The fog was hovering above and the cars were zooming by. It was great to see this preserve saved from traffic.

We hopped on Roy’s Redwood Loop Trail heading counterclockwise. This part of the trail was a bit boring as it followed Nicasio Valley Road with only views of the golf course. The hubs and I chatted about our week as we hiked along the gravel trail that wound around and behind a restaurant garden. Crossing a couple of bridges we ended up in a marshy area with some local ducks and a fork in the road. We stuck to the Roy’s Redwood Loop trail and started heading up hill into a forest of bay trees. The green from the trees was so beautiful. The switchbacks led us through moss covered trees and bay trees that kept us safe from the impending sprinkles of rain.

At the David Hansen trail sign we took the unnamed trail that went up the opposite hill (straight up) to a a grassy knoll. Here we found a half circle of serpentine rocks with some amazing views of San Geronimo Valley below! I would love to sit on one of the rocks and meditate one evening as the sun goes down. The feeling we had while in that spot was amazing. It felt almost sacred. I wonder how many people have gone up there to have a moment of silence and ponder life or say a prayer for a loved one. Heading back down the hill we ran into a nice lady with an adorable pup. She was looking for ticks on the pups head as we approached. This caused the hubs to then start checking himself constantly for ticks. Of course I giggled at this and…of course kharma smacked me for this (more on that later in the story)!

From here we headed up the Dixon Ridge Fire Road.  According to Redwood Hikes, this is a 17% grade. My calves would have to agree with this! It felt like the fire road would never end! The hubs and I gave each other pep talks as we kept going up and up. I had to stop and take my shoe off (the one with the KT tape) to fix my sock that had disappeared into my shoe! The views were what kept us climbing. Every turn had amazing views of the valley below. One of us, not naming names, kept saying “let’s just see what the view is around this corner”. So we kept climbing. I can’t blame this person, it was all totally worth it. 😉

A gate at the park boundary kept us from going any further. Not sure why we would anyway. The views from here were stunning. San Geronimo Valley below us. Mount Tamalpais to the west peeking out from the fog. The Richmond bridge toward the south beyond the rolling green hills. Olema Valley and all her beauty to the north. And the hubs happily taking pictures.  After celebrating making it to the top and enjoying the much deserved rest we started heading back down as sprinkles of rain started to land on us. This was so welcome as we were overheating from the strenuous climb up.

Heading downhill my knee began to remind me how old I am getting! Thankfully neither of us slipped on the steep gravel fire road on the way down with our weak knees and slick trail. Once we got back to the mossy tree marker we headed down into the meadow to say our farewell to he giants. It always amazes me how some areas of redwoods were spared. I feel so grateful to those that felt the need to leave some of the giants behind for us later generations to enjoy. In our video you can see us giving some love and hugs to one of them. It would have taken 4 of us to give it a proper hug!

We checked ourselves for ticks before we hopped back in the truck. I didn’t see any trying to hitch a ride home with us. The hubs is super paranoid about ticks, have I mentioned this? The drive back was gorgeous as the sun had started to peek through the clouds and lit up the fields of mustard on the backroads of Petaluma. As we were chatting about lunch in the truck in downtown Petaluma I felt what I thought was a stray hair tickling my forehead so I reached up to swipe it away and my hand landed on a tick……a tick on my forehead!!! I calmly grabbed it in my hand (it was just crawling) and tossed it out the window and debated on telling the hubs. I thought it would be fun to watch him squirm a bit so I told him and then he proceeded to check himself over again as I shook my hair out the window. I am guessing the tick was in my sweaty matted hair and had enough and wanted to be free which is why it came out only to be thrown out on the streets. Was it the right thing to do? Not sure. The only thing I do know is it was definitely not going to stay on my forehead! At home we stripped down and washed our hiking clothes when we walked in the door.

What are your thoughts on ticks? Would you have saved it? Killed it before throwing it out the window? By the way, we now have a tick remover tool in our backpack for hikes!

Hike details:

Parking=free, portable potty at trailhead, 50% sun, 4.8 miles with the extra hike up to the top, 900 ft elevation gain, dogs on leash. Nearest food area was the cute town of Nicasio. We used the RedwoodHikes trail description and took the extra trails up to the grassy knoll and up Dixon Fire Road.

Map My Walk Stats (No laughing! We enjoy the hikes, we don’t speed hike!)

Hugs and Meditation at Roy's Redwoods Preserve - Marin | Hike Then Wine

Things We Love:

Speaking of ticks. This is the Tick Remover Kit we now have in our backpack. Thankfully we haven’t had to use it yet but this is really the first year we have experienced so many ticks on the trails. If you don’t buy this tick remover kit (we can’t say how wonderful it works because we haven’t had to use it but it does give us peace of mind that we have tools with us), we would suggest buying some sort of tick remover to keep in your pack. Oh and did you know that you can have the tick tested to see if it carries lyme disease? Check out the County of Sonoma page for details or google your local site for testing.

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Where else can you find us?

Don’t forget to check out the video of the hike on our Hike Then Wine YouTube channel!

Are you a Pinterest-aholic too? Feel free to use the pin below!

Hugs and Meditation at Roy's Redwoods Preserve - Marin | Hike Then Wine