Big Basin Redwoods State Park partially reopens July 22

Big Basin State Park, the oldest state park in California, reopens partially on July 22. (Photo credit: Big Basin Redwoods State Park)

Big Basin Redwoods State Park will reopen with limited public access on July 22, almost two years after the CZU Fire unleashed extensive damage.

The park requires reservations for limited day-use access and will be open from 8 a.m. to sunset. Entry is $8 including the $2 reservation fee, and 45 reservation spots will be available daily.

Most of the park remains closed to the public due to fire-related safety precautions, but the Redwood Loop Trail, Dool Trail and other small sections of the park will be available for visitors. An interim visitor center will be open, as the CZU fire destroyed all the park's facilities.

In August 2020, the CZU Lightning Complex Fire burned over 97% of the park, burning about 18,000 acres and destroying most structures.

"The changes to Big Basin are profound, but the forest is starting to recover and it’s amazing to witness," said California State Parks Santa Cruz District Superintendent Chris Spohrer in a statement. "We’re excited to be able to welcome visitors back on a limited basis as we near the two-year anniversary of the fire."

A video, produced by the Mountain Parks Foundation, documents the fire and the changes that have taken place at the park in the past two years.  "The video was very cathartic to create, it was very difficult to experience the fire," said Elizabeth Hammack, a state parks interpreter and co-creator of the video. "I, along with our historian, realized that this is history. This is part of Big Basin's history and we need to document this story," Hammack said.  

Acquired in 1902, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California's oldest state park. The park has about 18 miles of hiking trails, and offers guided walks for environmental learning. Mountain bikes are permitted on some roads.

"Managing parks for a healthy future for environmental systems as well as humanity could not be more important at this moment in history," said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero in a statement. "We welcome all Californians and visitors from around the world as we enter the next era for this iconic and much beloved state park."

Reservations will be available online or by phone (831) 338-8867.