Into the Wild
Deep in beautiful Big Basin Redwoods State Park is a series of waterfalls that even Indiana Jones would be keen to find. Discover them by taking the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, a solid 11-mile loop (round-trip) that leads through towering redwoods, across multiple wooden bridges, and past fern canyons to the marquee highlight: three raging waterfalls, all within a mile of each other. First up is the photogenic park favorite, Berry Creek Falls; its 70-foot drop is spectacular after the recent rains. Take a breather on a wooden platform bench, then continue along the creek-side trail to Silver Falls. You can get up close to this one, feeling the mist while climbing the wet and muddy rock stairs that hug its slope. Last up is Golden Cascade Falls (pictured), a multi-tiered rushing watercourse that gets its deep orange hue from the rock minerals. Grab a seat on the trunk of a giant fallen tree and savor your waterfall hat trick.
To complete the 11-mile loop: From the Visitors Center, start on the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail. After about 4 miles, turn right on Berry Creek Falls Trail. Follow this past all three waterfalls, then turn right on Sunset Trail, which takes you back to the Visitors Center. Allow at least six hours to complete this loop.
For more Bay Area waterfalls, see this issue of WeekendSherpa.