The first California State Park, it opened in 1902 to protect old growth forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In the beginning it was known as California Redwood Park and changed its name to Big Basin Redwoods State Park a few decades later.
Many of the old growth redwood trees here are over 1,000 years old. Wow!
Much of the credit for the creation of the first California State Park goes to a San Jose photographer named Andrew P. Hill. All of these years I had heard of Andrew Hill high school in San Jose and never thought to ask who he was. Now I know. Andrew Hill was amazed at the sight of the old redwood trees, tallest trees on earth and able to live over 2,000 years. Through his photography and connections, he supported the preservation of these special forests. He led excursions of influential people to the trees that led to the funding and legislation that secured our first state park. Today, there is approximately 3% of the old growth redwood forests remaining in California and most of that is now on protected state public lands.
The park is beautiful. The trees are beautiful. The guided walk we went on added so much to the entire experience. I found myself trying to identify trees afterwards and seeing new things around me as I contemplated the life cycles of the rain forest. Also cool, I now know what a huckleberry is and what it tastes like.