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Skyline To Sea Trail

Castle Rock and Big Basin State Parks

Sunol Regional Wilderness Links:

July 31st - August 2nd, 1998

32.1 miles
3820 vertical feet
17 hours, 7 minutes
Rating: 8/10

Directions:   View Driving Map


Jean, Joe, and I hiked the Skyline To The Sea Trail. I'd backpacked for basically the first time in April -- a nice easy one-night trip. And then I had a two-night backpacking trip in May in Utah. I was excited about doing a 2-day trip so close to home along some beautiful trails. I'd done a hike in Castle Rock State Park and in Big Basin State Park -- along some of the same trails as the Skyline To The Sea Trail, so I felt like I had a little extra knowledge. But nothing could really prepare me for the experience properly...

Friday morning Jean and I drove separate cars up the east side of Highway 9, and then descended Highway 9 toward Santa Cruz. The road was still shrouded in fog even at 11:30am. We continued on toward Waddell Creek. We went through the gate on the right, down the road, to the Skyline To The Sea Trailhead. The trailhead is near Highway 1, 16 miles north of Santa Cruz. The easiest way to get there is via Highway 17 and then 1. Highway 9 is a long, windy, 35 miles with traffic at several towns as you get closer to Santa Cruz.

After self-registering (we'd already paid a $5 reservation fee), we left one car and started the long drive back up to Castle Rock State Park via Highways 9 and 35. We'd return about 51 hours later.

DayDescriptionMilesAscentDescent
1Castle Rock State Park to Waterman Gap 9.61310unknown
2Waterman Gap to Jay Trail Camp 9.51280unknown
3Jay Trail Camp to Waddell Creek 13.01230unknown


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