Dool Trail - Creeping Forest Trail Loop, Big Basin Redwoods State Park: Redwood Trailhead, San Francisco: Marin Headlands - Mt Tamalpais - Point Reyes, California

Dool Trail - Creeping Forest Trail Loop - 2.4 miles

Big Basin Redwoods State Park: Redwood Trailhead

Two massive coastal redwoods tower over the Creeping Forest Trail

Two massive coastal redwoods tower over the Creeping Forest Trail

Round-Trip Length: 2.4 miles
Start-End Elevation: 1,010' - 1,010 ' (1,385' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +375' net elevation gain (+590' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Dool Trail - Creeping Forest Trail Loop - 2.4 Miles Round-Trip

The Dool Trail and Creeping Forest Trail form an easy and pleasant loop through an archetypal redwood upland forest. The route features old growth redwoods, Opal Creek, and a diverse floral understory. The loop was originally constructed for Park Rangers to lead interpretive nature walks, which are still given today:

From Park Headquarters, take the Redwood Trail for .05 miles to Skyline to the Sea Trail. Take the Skyline Trail over Opal Creek and follow signs for the Dool Trail.

The trail follows Opal Creek for .2 miles through towering redwoods, thick huckleberry bush, and large ferns. It dead-ends at .3 miles, where you may turn right back to Park HQ, or left to remain on Skyline to the Sea Trail.

Keep left on Skyline, which leaves the creek for the Dool Trail (.45 miles : 1,040'). The Dool Trail passes the Sunset Trail (.55 miles : 1,064') and climbs steadily through a mixed coniferous and deciduous forest. Redwood and Douglas Fir are notably tall on this stretch.

The Dool Trail crosses a fire road to the Creeping Forest Trail (1.0 miles : 1,260'). The Creeping Forest Trail climbs steeply then undulates through the Lee Pollard Memorial Redwood Grove (1.5 miles 1,345').

The trail crests past the Lee Pollard Grove and drops gently to a hard left turn (1.7 miles : 1,204'). The Creeping Forest Trail rejoins Skyline to the Sea Trail, which crosses Gazos Creek Road (2.0 miles : 1,040').

Skyline to the Sea Trail continues past the Dool Trail split (2.15 miles : 1,040) back to Park Headquarters to complete the loop (2.4 miles).

Note: The trail will not return to the Redwood Trailhead directly. The trail will end at the east parking area - just a few feet from park headquarters and the main parking area.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N37 10.320 W122 13.357 — 0.00 miles: Redwood Trailhead - Park HQ
  • N37 10.307 W122 13.393 — 0.05 miles: Skyline to the Sea Trail intersection
  • N37 10.297 W122 13.431 — 0.10 miles: Right turn onto Skyline to the Sea Trail
  • N37 10.410 W122 13.416 — 0.30 miles: Turn left towards Dool Trail at 'T' split
  • N37 10.525 W122 13.380 — 0.45 miles: Continue straight on the Dool Trail
  • N37 10.548 W122 13.427 — 0.55 miles: Sunset Trail split - Turn righton Dool
  • N37 10.768 W122 13.720 — 1.00 miles: Cross fire road - Turn right onto Creeping
  • N37 11.037 W122 13.605 — 1.50 miles: Lee Pollard Grove - mature redwoods
  • N37 10.847 W122 13.480 — 1.70 miles: Hard left to remain on Creeping Forest Trail
  • N37 10.567 W122 13.332 — 2.00 miles: Cross Gazos Creek Road - Continue straight
  • N37 10.518 W122 13.376 — 2.15 miles: Dool Trail split - remain on Skyline
  • N37 10.387 W122 13.369 — 2.40 miles: Back at Parking Area - Park HQ area

Worth Noting

  • Opal Creek is named for its naturally occurring opalescence - caused by colorful decaying plant material and minerals which are suspended in the water.

  • At 1.75 miles many redwoods are tilted in the same direction, and broad mounds of dirt are visible - all a result of earthquakes.

  • Established in 1902, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California's oldest State Park, .

  • The park protrects of over 18,000 acres of old growth and recovering redwood forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral, and riparian habitats.

  • Elevations in the park range from sea level to over 2,000 feet.

Climate by Season:

  • Winter: Cold, overcast and rainy. Big Basin receives the majority of its average 48 inches of rain. December through March average temperatures range from highs in the 50's to lows in the 20's.

  • Spring: Cool with showers and morning and evening fog. Average daytime highs in the 60's, lows in the 30's to 40's.

  • Summer: Warm with cool nights. Morning fog in early Summer. Average highs 75 to 95, lows 40's to 50's.

  • Fall: Warm day to cold nights. Occasional early storms with rain. Average highs 75 to 60's, lows 50's to 30. Maybe the best weather of the year.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • To reserve developed campsites, call Reserve America at 800.444.PARK (7275) or visit the Reserve America Web site. The Reserve America site features campsite maps showing the location of each site in relation to parking, restrooms, and other facilities.

  • $35 per night for developed campsites.

  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park features Tent Cabin camping. These charming one-room cabins are managed by a private concession. To make Tent Cabin reservations, call 800-874-TENT (8368).

  • Backcountry camping is available May 1 - October 31. Call 831.338.8861 for backcountry camping details and reservations.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is not permitted in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

Rules and Regulations

  • There's a $10 fee to enter Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

  • The park is open every day year round from 6am - 10pm. Office hours are 9am - 5pm Sunday through Thursday, and 8am - 8pm Friday and Saturday.

  • Dogs are welcome but must be leashed at all times. They're allowed in picnic areas, campground areas and on paved roads only. Dogs are not allowed anywhere at Rancho del Oso or on any other trails or interior roads. They must be kept in a tent or car with appropriate ventilation at night.

  • Swimming is not permitted anywhere in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

Directions to Trailhead

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located about 65 miles south of San Francisco, 25 miles from San Jose, and 21 miles from Saratoga.

From San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Saratoga

Take either the 101 or 280 Highway south to the 85 freeway south. Exit 85 at Saratoga Road. Turn right and head west on Saratoga Road to a traffic signal and Highway 9. Turn right on Highway 9 through the town of Saratoga and into the mountains. Stay on Highway 9 for 12 miles to Highway 236. Turn right onto Highway 236 for 9 miles to Park Headquarters.

From Oakland, Fremont and San Jose

Take the 880 freeway south, which becomes Highway 17. As you head towards Santa Cruz and come down from the summit, you will see a sign on the freeway for Big Basin. The actual road name is Mount Hermon Road. Exit the freeway here and stay right onto Mount Hermon Road. Stay on this road through the city of Scotts Valley. Mount Hermon Road ends at an intersection with a signal (Graham Hill Rd.). Turn right at this light. You'll immediately come to another lighted intersection for Highway 9. Turn right on Highway 9 for 15 miles. You'll be traveling through several mountain towns to the town of Boulder Creek. In Boulder Creek there is one stop sign. Turn left onto Highway 236/Big Basin Way for 9 miles to Park Headquarters.

From California Highway 1, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay

Take Highway 1 to Santa Cruz. Take Highway 9 north for 15 miles. You will pass through several mountain towns to Boulder Creek. In Boulder Creek there is one stop sign. At this sign turn left onto Highway 236/Big Basin Way. Stay on this road for 9 miles to Park Headquarters.

Contact Information

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
21600 Big Basin Way
Boulder Creek, California, U.S.A.
Phone: 831.338.8860

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