A redwood route for a hike with a tyke

Redwood Loop Trail in Big Basin in California has a pretty-wide path making it a great place for kids to hike through. This hike also show you some of the tallest trees of the park.
Redwood Loop Trail, Big Basin, CA

When you’re a parent, especially of children five and under, hiking is an activity you push aside thinking of the  hassles and the dangers that may come your way. Add to that the burden of those mom bags (crammed with snacks, diapers and extra set of clothes among other things) and the thought that the little one(s) just might demand to be carried half way through the trail. When you are at this stage of  life, you often find yourself wishing for a trail that is toddler-friendly, better still — a stroller-friendly one.

Hark! Moms and Dads– if you have little children you would love to take on a hike, or are looking for a place to introduce your young ones to hiking, here’s a tried and tested hiking suggestion:

Redwood Loop Trail, Big Basin, CA

Trail –The Redwood Loop Trail
Place — Big Basin State Park, (Santa Cruz County) California
Distance — Half mile
Time needed — 45 minutes to 1 hour
Best part — it is stroller friendly (wheelchair friendly too)

A few months ago we were at Big Basin. It was our second trip there; the first one with an energetic preschooler who could do with some physical activity. Initially our plan for day was to drive up to Big Basin gaze at the super tall coastal redwoods that this place is blessed with, have a picnic lunch, stroll around a little bit and drive back home.

However, when we walked up to the registration center, we found ourselves looking for other family-friendly things to do in Big Basin. The person who manned the counter thought the Redwood Loop Trail might be perfect for us, as the path was pretty wide and it would be great for kids to run about. He also promised that we would see some of the tallest trees of the park. We decided to give it a try. After a visit to the museum and a lunch we set out on what would be our little one’s very first hike.

The Redwood Trail began just left of the entry to the parking lot and was marked with a tall red pillar. There were smaller stumps with numbers on them that marked the way as we walked into the wilderness and out of sight of the other visitors. It was a walk to be one with nature; to look about and above and see the towering coastal redwoods, listen to the sounds of the wilderness and take in the damp forest floors. We saw some tree trunks wrapped in rich lichen and listened to the gurgling of water from the streams — some visible and some hidden among the thick wild brush.

Redwood Loop Trail, Big Basin, CA

At one point we even heard a woodpecker and strained our necks trying to spot it; this was our golden opportunity to show the preschooler the bird and what it did best. After what seemed like five minutes and walking around a bend or two of the trail, I finally spotted the little bird perched high up on the trunk going Tuck, Tuck, Tuck!

The Redwood Loop Trail showed us some trees that stood out from the rest: some extra tall, some partly charred yet very much alive-and-kicking, some with hollows, and one without a top even. Then there were some of those trees that are prime landmarks of the park — like the Father of the Forest and Mother of the Forest.

Redwood Loop Trail, Big Basin, CA
 Father of the Forest Redwood Loop Trail, Big Basin, CA

Mother of the Forest, Redwood Loop Trail, Big Basin, CA

By the end of the half mile hike I was convinced that at the Redwood Loop Trail, categorized among the ‘easy hikes’ of Big Basin was one of the best places for a hike with small children.

NOTE: Big Basin does have several other trails. A couple of easy ones, and some moderate and strenuous hikes too. Some have waterfalls and ocean overlooks on the way and there’s one trail that goes all the way down to a beach on the Pacific Ocean. The lengthiest one is a 12.5 mile/20km (one-way) trail.


Other posts on Redwood destinations in CA:
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22 Comments on this post.
  • Arti
    21 September 2013 at 8:49 am
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    Such a beauty and how wonderful to see these friendly hikes for toddlers. I am glad for your lil one, I can almost hear his giggles and laughter echoing through the trails. 🙂

    • dNambiar
      21 September 2013 at 3:59 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Yeah, it was perfect for our little one. I ended the day feeling really satisfied. And the trail was wide enough for him to run to his heart's content. Great trail… so happy we did it. 🙂

      I hope you are doing well, Arti. 🙂

  • R Niranjan Das
    21 September 2013 at 3:28 pm
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    • dNambiar
      21 September 2013 at 4:06 pm
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      That would be like baby steps for seasoned hikers like you. This trail is mostly flat.
      But it's a nice place. These are some of the tallest trees ever and Redwood happens to be California's state tree too. 🙂 Oh and there are moderate and strenuous hikes you can do here at Big Basin.

  • jaish_vats
    21 September 2013 at 4:51 pm
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    Beautiful and serene place!

    • dNambiar
      11 October 2013 at 4:03 pm
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      It is serene; with just the sounds of birds chirping, a woodpecker pecking away, rustling leaves and streams flowing. It was a very refreshing walk. 🙂

      I hope you are doing well, Jaish. 🙂

  • Kusum Sanu
    22 September 2013 at 4:15 pm
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    Big Basin?! Lovely post on one of my favorites! Berry Creek Falls are fantastic though a long hike.

    • dNambiar
      11 October 2013 at 4:04 pm
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      Totally your kind of place, right? 🙂
      Will have to wait a while to do the long hikes. Shall keep the recommendation in mind. Thanks Kusum.

  • Swati Singh
    23 September 2013 at 10:39 am
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    Mother and father, forest is the rest of the family 🙂

    • dNambiar
      11 October 2013 at 4:05 pm
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      🙂 Yeah, a big happy family of Redwood Trees. 🙂
      Thank you for the visit, Swati.

  • Ramakrishnan Ramanathan
    23 September 2013 at 11:02 am
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    • dNambiar
      11 October 2013 at 4:07 pm
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      Thanks Mr. Ram,
      I would love to read your post on Muir Woods. Shall come by soon. Thank you for the link. Redwoods are gorgeous, aren't they?

  • Saru Singhal
    24 September 2013 at 4:14 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Great, being stroller friendly is awesome for family fun. I went hiking with a family with 3 year old daughter. She was walking/climbing and having fun but her mom was little/over worried. 😛 It was moderate hike near Blue Hills Reservation, Boston.

    Take Care 🙂

    • dNambiar
      11 October 2013 at 4:11 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Hikes with little kids can be quite worrisome. This trail is perfect for a group like that; 'tis so kid-friendly.

      You take care too, Saru. Have a great weekend. 🙂

  • Krishna/കൃഷ്ണ
    25 September 2013 at 6:06 pm
    Leave a Reply

    interesting travel and beautiful photos…


    • dNambiar
      11 October 2013 at 4:11 pm
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      Thank you Krishna. 🙂

  • Rahul Bhatia
    30 September 2013 at 9:27 am
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    A nice place to explore the endless beauty of nature and ideal for family with young kids:)

    • dNambiar
      11 October 2013 at 4:12 pm
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      Yeah, it's where you can hike and take your kids along too. 😉

  • Country Hopping Couple
    9 October 2013 at 1:36 am
    Leave a Reply

    Such a serene place!
    BTW, you've been nominated in my blog for a photo contest. pls check.

    • dNambiar
      11 October 2013 at 4:14 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Oh, it really is.
      Thank you so much for the nomination, Anu. I was thinking of nominating you when 'Travelling Slacker' put me on the list. 😉 So sorry for the late response; been having internet issues. I'll come by and see your Capture The Colour post real soon. Hey, and all the best. 🙂

  • aliasgarmukhtiar mukhtiar
    21 November 2013 at 12:28 pm
    Leave a Reply


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