Sempervirens Falls

Amanda Krauss at Sempervirens Falls

Amanda Krauss at Sempervirens Falls

Discover Sempervirens Falls at Big Basin Redwoods State Park

by Amanda Krauss, Tribute Program Manager

On one of my first visits to Big Basin Redwoods State Park I went to Sempervirens Falls. The 20-foot waterfall was gently flowing over the stone wall surrounded by moss covered tan oaks, Douglas firs and coast redwoods. I stopped and listened to the quiet sound of the water, reflecting on this hidden gem.

This spring you will find Sempervirens Falls flowing with the water from the winter rains collected in Sempervirens Creek. While you are there be sure to take a minute to look at the rock face to see the five-finger ferns (Adiantum aleuticum) that cover it. And keep your ears open for the chirping of dark-eyed juncos under the huckleberry bushes.

Five-finger fern, photo by Scott Peden

Five-finger fern, photo by Scott Peden

The five-finger ferns are an interesting fern found in the Santa Cruz Mountains. They grow in a finger-like pattern with five stems growing out from a base stem. You will see them only in very moist areas, usually near creeks.

Dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis) are a common bird spotted in flocks in Big Basin Redwoods State Park year round. You will most often see them hopping, scratching and chirping in the undergrowth of the forest. They are a medium-sized dark-brown and gray bird with a dark cap. Besides the dark cap, another good field mark would be the white feathers that you will see in their tail as they fly away from you.

Getting to Sempervirens Falls is just a short 1.7 mile hike on the Sequoia Trail where you can enjoy many large coast redwoods towering above. Cross over Sky Meadow Road and walk about 30 steps down to the viewing platform. Or you can get to the falls by biking or driving on Sky Meadow Road, parking in the spot just before the falls.

Dark-eyed junco, illustration by Amanda Krauss

Dark-eyed junco, illustration by Amanda Krauss

Whichever way you travel to the falls, be sure to bring a picnic and take some time to view the nearby Slippery Rock and the Founders Monument that declares Big Basin Redwoods as the first State Park.

If you can’t make it to the falls you can view my video below.

Stop and say hello if you see me in the forest.

Amanda Krauss
Tribute Program Manager


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This article was originally published in Sempervirens Fund’s Mountain Echo, Spring 2015 newsletter (PDF). Find more trails on our Hike, Bike & Ride page. Please visit our Publications page for additional newsletters and more. Or give now and receive our newsletters in your mailbox.