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Route to Big Basin Redwoods SP

San Francisco...
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3,193 posts
49 reviews
Route to Big Basin Redwoods SP

I'm looking for advice on the best driving route from SF to Big Basin. Specifically, I want to avoid winding roads unless absolutely necessary - I'm willing to take a longer, straighter route if possible. I prefer the back of my car (where my toddler sits) to be vomit-free!

Google Maps is suggesting 280 to Sand Hill Rd then Skyline Blvd as the quickest option. Alternatives are 280 to Stevens Canyon Rd or 101 to 85 (I usually prefer to take 280 rather than 101).

Thanks in advance.

25 replies to this topic
San Jose, California
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for California
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120 reviews
1. Re: Route to Big Basin Redwoods SP

The 1st option is probably the one I'd take. Skyline Blvd is relatively straight, so you are probably good there, but Hwy 84 and Hwy 9 are pretty curvy, so be prepared for that - this route will minimize your time on those roads though.

I wouldn't go up Stevens Canyon Rd because that will put you on Hwy 9 sooner, which is curvy.

Santa Clara...
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24,309 posts
25 reviews
2. Re: Route to Big Basin Redwoods SP

You can take 280 to Cupertino and then back up to 9 like this:

https://goo.gl/maps/mn669tvGnMr

Not much longer if any then any of the other routes.

We usually from home in Santa Clara obviously but drive through the village of Saratoga up the hill to Big Basin. I am a easily motion sick person and did ok the last few times we went. A few years ago I had to drive myself. But last month, I was sitting in the back with the baby and while I got a little nauseous part of the way, I made it there and back fine. Have fun!

Good food in Saratoga if you are looking to eat on your way home.

Long Beach...
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7,739 posts
3. Re: Route to Big Basin Redwoods SP

Big Basin Hwy between Castle Rock and Big Basin is really curvy. And that area of 9 was challenging too. (My kiddo vomited-- bring gallon sized zip top bags!). Big Basin Hwy between Boulder Creek and the park, wasn't as bad (kiddo didn't vomit.).

I wonder if going down the coast would be better? (Honestly I don't know- I was surprised at the all the turns.)

We really enjoyed that park though. Banana Slugs were a hit.

Edited: 17 October 2018, 19:17
San Francisco...
Level Contributor
3,193 posts
49 reviews
4. Re: Route to Big Basin Redwoods SP

Thank you all for your input, it is much appreciated. So it sounds like 9 is not going to be much fun in the back seat... What about taking 280/85/17 as in the link below, would that make sense? It seems to take not much longer time-wise but it cuts out 9 altogether...

https://goo.gl/maps/xy8VgyCtQiv

Santa Clara...
Level Contributor
24,309 posts
25 reviews
5. Re: Route to Big Basin Redwoods SP

No to that route JR. We tried Bear Creek Rd a few months before and it was awful. Barely wide enough for two cars to pass. You have to go on 9 at some point, either from Skyline or Saratoga.

This is why we warn folks about going there. But it is lovely once you get there. We hike to the waterfalls and back with the baby in a hiking pack. Well my husband did - 10+ miles.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
3,193 posts
49 reviews
6. Re: Route to Big Basin Redwoods SP

>>> We tried Bear Creek Rd a few months before and it was awful <<<

Haha, I thought I had found a great solution, so glad I asked! So it sounds like either stick with the original suggested route from Google Maps, or else go a bit further on 280 to Cupertino and go the way you suggested. Again, thanks all!

San Francisco...
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7. Re: Route to Big Basin Redwoods SP

JRC you are a brave guy-- I hope Puter comes along and tells us how the route is from Highway 1. I've done it via 17 and via the route Chinita provides. It is fun until past Hakone Gardens but then all bets are off. The route from 17 -- guaranteed to have that "'mit" :-(

There was a boulder creek brewery that had great beer and fries worth all that mit but it was closed after a fire 2 years or so ago. But Big Basin is fun.. Camping there is also fun. we did that many moons ago

San Jose, California
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for California
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8. Re: Route to Big Basin Redwoods SP

I'm not Puter, but I have driven the route from Hwy 1 more times than I can count. Its curvy. You can take Graham Hill Rd up to Felton, which is relatively straight, but once you are on Hwy 9, it is curves all the way up to Boulder Creek and into the park. I don't think you'd gain anything in terms of finding a less curvy route by going over to Hwy 1.

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Route to Big Basin Redwoods SP

Thanks NM. Did you visit that brewery by any chance?

Long Beach...
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7,739 posts
10. Re: Route to Big Basin Redwoods SP

That's what we did. Santa Cruz to Big Basin-- kiddo was OK. Big Basin to Saratoga-- kiddo vomited right before Hakone Gardens. (We pulled off of the road right next to the garden to clean up.). Bring crackers? Maybe plan on stopping?

In regards to Big Basin Hwy/236-- I think entering the park from Boulder Creek (south east entrance?), is less curvy than entering to park from the North east (waterman gap?) entrance. The northern part of the road is very twisty and slow going.

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