Big Basin Waterfall and Mt McAbee Loop

Berry Creek Falls
Berry Creek Falls

A new house purchase has had me quite busy lately so I’m a week late on this post, but better late then never, right? ¬†With all of the recent storms we knew the waterfalls in Big Basin would be great, so we took the first good-weather opportunity to get out there and hike.

Our route was decided upon at the park headquarters once we learned that the Skyline to the Sea trail was closed due to downed old-growth redwoods and washed out bridges. We decided to take the Sunset Trail to the waterfalls (about 6 miles), then come back via Mt McAbee, a ~1300 foot climb from the creek. In all, about a 12 mile loop with around 3000 feet of gain. A good, but not killer, workout.

The trails were muddy and covered in a lot of fresh fallen trees and branches which made the going slow at times. The air smelled fresh and the wildflowers were just starting to peek out – we saw milkmaids, trillium, and adderstongue.

The highlight of the day were the waterfalls and cascades along Berry Creek. They were rushing with the water from all of the recent rains and made for some great photography, even with my little camera.

If You Go

You can approach the falls via many different trails, but all will require a day’s commitment unless you are moving at a trail runner pace (hmm, I bet the trail from Waddell Beach would make a nice run – maybe next time). See the links below for a map.

Check with Park HQ on trail conditions – some are very muddy, others have a lot of fallen trees, and others are just fine. The info we received was a bit outdated – it turns out that the Skyline to the Sea trail was passable that day, but we didn’t hike it.


Big Basin Waterfall and McAbee Loop