CA Coastal Treasures for the MTB: Part 2
Skyline to the Sea Trail
The drive along highway 1 to get to Waddell Beach is inspiring enough, but adding the ten mile mountain bike ride, the promise of Berry Creek Falls, banana slugs, mushrooms, and newts, heightens the adventure.
Five miles of fire road that sometimes thinks it is turning into single track, leads up to the bike racks in Big Basin. The five mile ride there is an easy peasy 788 feet of climbing, so bring the kiddos and bike locks along. When you reach the bike rack, there is an extra mile of hiking that will take you to the infamous Berry Creek Falls that is located about a quarter of the way up the Skyline to the Sea Trail–a through hike, not for the faint of heart at 33 miles long (one way).
The ride follows Waddell creek and is a wet chilly ride in the fall, winter, and spring–even in the drought so packing layers is a good plan.
Mountain biking is certainly the easiest and most pleasant way to reach Berry Creek falls. I’ve gone on foot before, and the journey was a 12 mile hike that took all day. One the bike, it is a 3 or 4 hour adventure at most. On the trail you’ll find day hikers, day bikers, and through hikers carrying large packs for their overnight at the campsites near the beach.
On one of my journeys to Berry Creek Falls, I also met 33 banana slugs, 3 rabbits, 5 newts (though one of them was crushed), and several local mushrooms–which are protected by the State Park system. The “Slow Newts Crossing” sign is no joke; they are slow and cross your path all the time.
The 18,000 acres of Big Basin Redwoods State Park is credited to be the oldest State Park in all of California with a birth date in 1901, and therefore it has some of the oldest and tallest trees around! It’s clear when you’re in the forest how grand these giants are as they tower overhead and provide shade year round for the salmon the swim upstream to spawn in Waddell Creek.