This is a great day hike with a beautiful waterfalls and tall redwoods, and covers quite a variety of terrain. Even though 11 miles might seem long, the change in elevation wasn't too difficult and most of the well-maintained trail was well covered by trees.
Miles: 11 roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1000 ft
Trail Type: Loop
Cost: $10 entrance fee
The drive in felt like a hike in itself. You get your first glimpse of the towering giant trees on the windy road in, and some of them grow right next to the road.
We started the trail on Sunset Trail hiking counterclockwise.
We climbed up through a redwood grove before descending to the West Waddell Creek crossing. At 3.9 miles, we passed the junction for Timms Creek trail, which can be used as a shortcut instead of doing the entire 11 mile loop). We reached the junction for Sunset Camp at mile 5.5, but we continued straight onto Berry Creek Falls trail. We stopped to have a gourmet lunch of olive, cheese, and dried sausage pita pizza at the Golden Cascades.
After several more miles, we finally reached the prized gem of the hike - Berry Creek Falls! Even though it was mid summer, the waterfall still had a decent flow - I can't imagine what it's like in the spring right after the snowmelt. There was a viewing platform on the trail, and I decided to climb to the bottom of the fall to get a better view of it.
This was one of the lushest parts of the hike. Even though the redwoods covered the sky, the forest floor was still covered with grasses, bushes, and ferns.
After returning to the park headquarters, we set up camp at Blooms Creek Campground, and the next day we decided to hike the Redwood Trail, which was only 0.7 mile long before heading home. This trail takes you by the tallest and oldest redwoods in the park.
Some of the points of interests were Mother of the Forest (tallest tree in Big Basin), Chimney Tree (it has a hollow trunk), plenty of fallen trees, and the Father of the Forest.
Be careful of banana slugs! We saw many of them and had to dodge a couple or else we would have stepped on them. Good thing they are bright and yellow!