CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS
Dept. of Parks and Recreation
Sacramento, CA 95811
BIG BASIN REDWOODS STATE PARK
Park - 408/338-8860
Parknet Camping Reservations – 800/444-7275.
Tent Cabin Reservations – 800/874-8368
The park is located 30 miles N of Santa Cruz via Highways 9 & 236.
Big Basin is California’s oldest state park, established early in the 1920’s during California’s drive to save the ancient redwood forest. It protects the tallest tress in the world, Sequoia sempervirens, commonly known as the Coastal Redwoods. Originally known as California Redwood Park, Big Basin was created with 3,000 acres of old growth redwoods. Today, thanks to decades of active acquisition, Big Basin’s 18,000 acres of forest extend to the Pacific Ocean, protecting over 20 square miles of watershed. A wide variety of wildlife inhabit the park, many of which are sighted by visitors. You can see deer and raccoons, chipmunks, woodpeckers and jays, marbled murrelets, foxes and bobcats.
The park offers a living history of the trees. The Sempervirens Room is adjacent to Park Headquarters. The Nature Lodge has exhibits on plant and wildlife. The nearby Redwood Loop Trail guides walks along a short, level stroll through a grove of mature trees. The camp store is open seasonally.
Reservations: Recommended for camping and for cabins within the park. Reservations can be made up to 7 months in advance. Many busy weekends are reserved months in advance. There are 137 developed campsites, 7 trail camps, natural and cultural history exhibits, a general store, and gift shop.
Tent cabins: A concessionaire operates the 36 tent cabins. Call the number above. The cabins have platform beds with pads. The 12’ x 14 ‘ tents sleep doubles. Showers nearby, but bring your own quarters, the park never has enough. Check-out is 12 noon. There are 3 handicapped accessible cabins. They rent for $30 a night or $62 for three or four to a cabin. The store rents mattresses, linens. There is a maximum of 8 in any one tent cabin area (4 in the cabin, 4 in your own pitched tent.)
Hiking: Hike the Skyline-to-the Sea Trail. There are eight different sites between Castle Rock State Park and the Trail’s end at the Waddell Beach, permits are limited. This allows backpackers to have a true backcountry experience. It does mean that reservations should be made in advance (up to 8 weeks allowed). Call 408/338-8860. The park also offers RV hookups, trailer sanitation area, supplies, visitor center, biking trails, guided tours, horseback trails, and windsurfing. Buy a park map in advance from the Mountain Parks Foundation ($1.50), 525 N. Big Trees Park Rd., Felton, CA 96018.
MALAKOFF DIGGINS STATE HISTORIC PARK
23579 N. Bloomfield Road
Nevada City, CA 95959
This historic park was California’s largest hydraulic gold mine, operating at North Bloomfield from 1866 to 1884, until environmental outcry closed it down. Today you can view the huge cliffs carved by the great streams of pressurized water and see the 7,847-foot bedrock tunnel that served as a drain. The park is located 16 miles NE of Nevada City on North Bloomfield Road, a steep gravel road that should not be used by RVs. There are interpretive talks and tours in the summer. Be sure to visit the Chinese settlements. There are 2 rustic cabins for rent at the park, open year around, renting for $25 a night. The cabins can be reserved up to 8 weeks in advance. Each cabin has cold running water that is turned off in the winter, woodburning cookstove, table and benches, 2-bunk beds, ice box and outside table and stove. Each cabin sleeps up to 4 persons. The beds have no mattresses. Try your hand at gold panning at this park.
MT.TALALPAIS STATE PARK
801 Panoramic Highway
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Parknet Reservations for Tent Cabins – 800/444/7275
Marin District Park Office – 415/893-1580
Mountain Play Association – 415/383-1100
Mt. Tamalpais Interpretive Assn. – 415/258-2410
RV camping at Pantoll Campground – 415/388-2070
Note: On the first of each month, campers will have access to an entire month of available tent cabins dates.
Mount Tamalpais State Park is located in the heart of Marin County, just N of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. With its dramatic combination of urban and natural scenery, the view from the 2,571-foot peak is among the most spectacular of its kind in the world. One can often see the Farallon Islands some 25 miles out to sea, and occasionally it is possible to look inland, across the Central Valley to the snow-crested Sierra Nevada, some 200 miles away.
Day use facilities include the Pantoll Ranger Station, located on Panoramic Highway between Mill Valley and Stinson Beach. Pantoll is the starting point for many trails leading to East Peak, Stinson Beach, and Muir Woods. Trail maps, books and souvenirs can be purchased at the ranger station.
There is a day use fee for parking in the Pantoll lot. Dogs are permitted in developed areas only and must remain on a leash at all times. The ranger station is intermittently staffed during the off season. For more information call the ranger station.
The Bootjack Picnic Area: Located on Panoramic Highway, a quarter mile E of Pantoll. It has tables, barbecues, piped drinking water and flush toilets. There is a day use fee for parking in the Bootjack lot. Bootjack's group area can accommodate up to 65 people. For reservations call 415/456-3218.
East Peak Summit:: Accessible by car and features one of the most magnificent views of the Bay Area. Located on East Peak are a visitor center, refreshment stand, phone, picnic tables, and a fully accessible restroom. There is a day use fee for parking in the East Peak lot. Fires and barbecues are not allowed.
Cushing Memorial Theater: This is a beautiful cultural stone amphitheater that was constructed by the CCC during the 1930’s. With seating for up to 3,750 people, the "Mountain Theater" is a popular location for weddings and a variety of special events, including the traditional Mountain Play that has been held each spring since 1913. For reservation information call 415/456-5218.
Hiking Trails: Mount Tam is one of the greatest attractions in the 6,300-acre park. More than fifty miles of trails lie within the park and connect to an even larger system of trails (200 miles) on adjacent public lands. Dogs are not permitted on State Park Trails or in undeveloped areas. Dog regulations are strictly enforced. Horseback riders and bicyclists should also be aware of trail restrictions. Horses are allowed on all fire roads, paved roads and on certain, clearly designated trails. Bicyclists are allowed on certain trails only.
STEEP RAVINE ENVIRONMENTAL CAMPGROUND
Ten rustic environmental cabins, called the Steep Ravine Cabins, are offered to the general public at this park, located 1 mile S of Stinson Beach on California Hwy. 1. The cabins, which are located on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, can be rented year around. Each cabin has a woodstove, table, benches, sleeping platforms and barbecue. There is no running water, showers or electricity. Primitive toilets and water faucets nearby. There is a 1-vehicle and 5-person maximum per cabin. Parking for all cabins is close by. Reservations should be made 8 weeks in advance, or as late as 10 days before arrival. Unreserved cabins are on a first-come, first-served basis. You will certainly enjoy this site; there is no other like it in all of California. . Cabin #1 is wheelchair accessible, including toilets.
The cabins are uniquely named: William Kent, Dipsea, Thaddeus Welch, Rocky Point, Willow Camp, Webb Creek, Hot Springs, San Andreas, Farallon and Whale Watchers.
Rates: $30 per night, per cabin. Only one cabin can be reserved at any one time.
PFEIFFER BIG SUR STATE PARK
Park - 408/667-2315
Big Sur is relatively small, yet there are spectacular views from the 800-acre state park. The park covers acres of redwood, conifers, oaks and open meadows. There are 218 campsites that are always popular, or the Big Sur Lodge for those wishing not to camp. The lodge is 28 miles S of Carmel on Highway 1.
Activities: The park features hike and bike campsites, food service, RV hookups, and a trailer sanitation station. In January watch for the Gray whale migration off shore. In April the Big Sur Marathon and Big Sur Jazz Festival walk is 25 miles starting in Carmel. Take a tour of the Big Sur Lighthouse. The park rangers present summer Eco tours and workshops.
BIG SUR LODGE and Conference Center
P.O. Box 190
Big Sur, California 93920
408/667-3100; Fax - 408/667-3110
The lodge is nestled in a forest of redwoods, 28 miles S of Carmel in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. There are 61 lodge cottages with or without fireplaces or kitchenettes. All have a deck or balcony. Some units sleep up to 6 persons. No phones, TV, radio or alarm clocks in the rooms. No pets allowed.
Trail’s Head Cafe: Offers varied California-style cuisine with local vintage wines. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Children menus available.
General Store: The spot for food and picnic items.
Conference Facilities: Call the professional meeting plans for your conference up to 80 people.
Kitchen Suite $99-$159
Kitchen Suite w/Fireplace $109-$179
Rates vary, depending on the day of the week, season, holidays and special events in the area. Call for exact rates. Rates include admission into the park. Deposits required to hold a reservation. Check-in is 4 pm and check-out is 12 noon.
PICACHO STATE RECREATION AREA
619/339-1360 or 293-3052
Eight miles of the lower Colorado River serve as this recreation area’s eastern border. Picacho was a gold mining town with 2,500 citizens 100 years ago. The park is seldom used during the hot summer months, but the rest of the year it is a good destination for boaters, hikers, anglers and campers. To reach Picacho, take the 24-mile, mostly unpaved road N from Winterhaven near the Mexican border.
The park features a hotel with picnic area, trailer sanitation station, boat-in campsites, boat ramps, fishing, guided tours, hiking trails, and swimming.
RICHARDSON GROVE STATE PARK
Cabin Reservations – 707/247-3415
Park – 707/247-3318
Eel River District Headquarters – 707/946-2311
Many families have been visiting the "Grove" for many years. The 1,500-acre park was named for Governor William Friend Richardson. The park is 200 miles N of San Francisco. Originally home to the Sinkyone Indians, it became a park in 1922. The Lodge is under the oldest trees in the park, and it was completed in 1931. The octagonal One-Tree Room was constructed entirely from lumber milled from a single redwood tree, The 1200 year old Walk Through Tree adjacent to the building was once a post office.
The South Fork of the Eel River slices through the park, offering its waters to swimmers in summer and steelhead anglers during the fall and winter. The park is located 8 miles S of Garberville on U.S. 101.
The cabins are small, rustic, but clean. Each has a bedroom with queen-sized bed and kitchen, with 2 burner stove sink, ice chest and a bathroom with hot showers. They are equipped with bedding, linens, and basic cooking utensils. They are comfortable for 2 adults and 1-2 children. Rates: $60 night for 2 and $8 for each additional person. No more than 4 to a cabin. They cabins are open from April through November. There is a picnic table and BBQ grill at each cabin.
The park also offers food service, picnic area, supplies, visitor center, exhibits and nature programs, hiking trails, guided tours, and swimming.
SAN MATEO COAST State Beach
State Beach Information – 415/726-8819
Located along Highway 1, between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, travelers are greeted by a series of beaches such as Gray Whale Cove, Montara State Beach, Point Montara Light Station, and Half Moon Bay, which is actually four smaller beaches with a total of two miles of sandy shore.
South of Half Moon Bay lies San Gregorio, Pomponio, Pescadero, and Bean Hollow state beaches. Most beach areas have parking lots, picnic tables and rest rooms facilities. The magnificent Pescadero March Natural Preserve provides excellent bird-watching opportunities. For marsh and tide pool walks call 415/879-2170. Bean Hollow has a self-guided nature trail.
Two lighthouses are located along the state beaches, operated by the American Youth Hostels. They offer overnight accommodations. They are:
POINT MONTARA LIGHT STATION - (See Lighthouse Section)
PIGEON POINT LIGHTHOUSE HOSTEL - (See Lighthouse Section)
MARCONI CONFERENCE CENTER State Historic Park
Take U.S. 101 N from San Francisco to Tomales-Petaluma Road, then S on Highway 1.
In 1914 the Marconi Wireless Receiving Station, part of a plan to establish a worldwide wireless communication system, was set up overlooking Tomales Bay N of San Francisco. The 62-acre wooded hillside site was later acquired and renovated by the California State Parks Foundation and given to the State Park system as a conference center. The center offers flexible meeting space up to 70 persons.
Lodging: There are 40 comfortable accommodations with 87 beds, in smoke-free rooms located along the shore, private baths, desks, and great views. Personalized service allows you freedom. The lodge has a lounge area, games, books and film libraries and beverages. Lodge capacity is 97 persons, with a minimum group size of 7.
Rates: Standard - $66, Deluxe - $90; Triple - $100
Doubles $90 per person $100 per person
Single $145 $160
Sales tax extra, and includes 3 meals starting with dinner. Check-in is 3 pm, check-out 10 am, or noon if having a meeting.
Complete meeting Plan Rates
Standard - $105 Deluxe - $130 - Triple - $150.
Single $180 $220
Complete meeting plan includes all food and beverages that are pre-determined, specific audio/visual equipment. The plan does not allow substitutions.
Conference Reservations: Require a booking deposit and completed Conference Contract. Additional deposits required prior to conference. All conference business is handled through one account. Consult with Marconi Conference planners on other details.
Activities: Jogging trail, hiking, volleyball, badminton courts, horseshoe pits, bicycling on country roads, birdwatching, and fishing in Tomales Bay. Nearby are Point Reyes National Seashore, Sonoma Valley wine country, historic Petaluma, Tomales State Park, golf courses and riding stables.
Enjoy specially prepared meals in a nicely appointed dining area with views of the Bay. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served.
Other California Resources
PIT RIVER LODGE
Pit 1 Powderhouse Road
Fall River Mills, CA 96028
The Pit River Lodge was originally built in 1921 as a lodge for Pacific, Gas & Electric executives, and is located upon 44 acres of beautiful forest land near the Pit River. It is now open to the public. The lodge is considered to be one of the finest examples of early century craftsman-style design and features 44 acres of Pit River frontage, RV parking, cottages, single and double occupancy rooms, and a large suite.
The dining room offers a variety of fine cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.