Looking for a great trail in The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, California? AllTrails has 28 great hiking trails, trail running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 16 moderate trails in The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park ranging from 1.7 to 15.8 miles and from 114 to 2,604 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

hiking

forest

nature trips

views

bird watching

wild flowers

walking

wildlife

trail running

no dogs

kid friendly

mountain biking

dogs on leash

river

waterfall

The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park offers rugged semi-wilderness, rising from sea level to steep coastal mountains of more than 2,600 feet. Once the site of logging operations until the 1920s, visitors can still find evidence of logging operations, mill sites and trestles in the park. The land was donated to the state by the Marks family in 1963. With over 30 miles of trails, hiking, jogging, and biking are some of the activities to be enjoyed here. Picnic tables and barbecue pits are available. A trail camp is located six miles from the nearest parking lot. Camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact the park for more information. This park is on land that was clear-cut during a forty-year logging frenzy (1883-1923). When the loggers left the Aptos Canyon, the forest began to heal itself and now the scars grow fainter with each passing year. The Forest of Nisene marks is a monument to forest regeneration and the future - it is a forest in the state of becoming. Dogs are allowed only along the entrance road and in the picnic areas and must be on a leash no longer than six feet at all times. Park open Sunrise to Sunset.

Nice hike along the river, mostly flat. Starts to the left of the road before you reach any buildings. Once the elevation gain starts the hike feels like a lot of other forest hikes in the area, not many views.

hiking
muddy
scramble
12 days ago

What a great hike! The weather was perfect in the mid 60’s and clear skies. I drove past the main parking area and parked just before the locked gate. I started out and passed the Porter family picnic area. The trail is wide and flat here with lots of bikes and dogs. Instead of following the Bridge Creek trail straight to the falls I detoured onto the Loma Prieta grade and very happy I did. Beautiful hiking with narrow trails. Stream crossings both with and with out bridges. I joined the Bridge creek trail again and that’s when the fun started! I passed a small waterfall and continued in mostly in the creek. Had to scramble over rocks and downed trees at several points. It’s easy to lose the trail here so keep yours eyes looking ahead. Got to the falls had a quick snack and enjoyed the solitude. I took the Bridge Creek Trail most of the way back. I detoured again to the Mill Pond Trail and then rejoined the BCT for the final leg back. The entire hike was dotted with muddy spots and you will definitely get your feet wet as you near the falls.

hiking
muddy
scramble
13 days ago

hiking
bugs
muddy
19 days ago

About 11 miles if you do free parking at the street below the entrance.

Keep in mind the trail takes a left halfway through. I managed to miss this and had to back track about a half mile.

The last mile of the trail before the waterfall is the most fun, albeit muddy. The trail traverses across the creek at least 4 times and depending on the water level, do expect your shoes to get a little wet, although I was able to leap frog across most of it.

Quite forest hike. Definitely on the easy side

This is a great trail! I parked in the wrong spot and wandered off the trail twice so my hike ended up being a little over 7 miles. When you first go over the wooden bridge, turn right and park. I started on the 8 verses trail then after maybe the 5th one, you’ll see a little sign that points to the Enchanted Forest. I absolutely loved looking down on the super bloom action at the peak.

Don’t forget to bring cash for the hiking donation!

When you go up from Georges Picnic area and turn right (or go straight), past some water towers, you enter private property. It is owned by Monte Toyon Camp & Retreat Center. This camp is occupied by an Outdoor Ed school during the weeks part of during the school year. If you are on the property during this time you will, without a doubt, be asked to leave by one of the Naturalist. It is part of their protocol to do so. If you want to do this I would do it on the weekend. During the summer, is it still used by WOLF, but it isn't run with the school system so I am not sure if they will ask you to leave. All in all, save yourself the hassle and stay in the State Park.

Because we arrived later in the day, we were only able to do the very short “8 Verses Loop Trail”. That short trail, however, was nice and peaceful. Will hopefully return to do the whole Medicine Buddha Loop

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hike for a rainy day! The trees provide a canopy and keep you covered. It was muddy so make sure you have good water proof hiking boots, lots of beautiful waterfalls along the way! The first part of the hike makes it seem easy like you’re walking on a flat road but it picks up esp at the end! Would rate more easy than mod but it’s a long hike (prob more around 10-11 miles).

Did this hike in the rain and went great! Trial was muddy throughout and water was high, but still manageable. Great view from the top clearing. Would recommend

Great. Hike but easy to get lost! The big waterfall is actually the third one and it is easy to get to the second and think you are there. Last one requires scrambling! From parking 8.4 miles rt. Great water in February!

This is a great trail! Aside from the distance I’d rate it as easy - barely any elevation gain. The forest is gorgeous and the trails are amazingly well maintained. A little buggy tho I didn’t wear bug spray and didn’t get bitten. The only annoying thing is about half the trail is on a road that’s wide and heavily used by bikers. But the most far away third of the hike is empty and is stunning. Would be perfect for trail running as a lot of people were doing.

found it by accident. wonderful trail

Definitely was an adventurous trail! Views were alright but it was fun. A bit longer that I thought it’d be but was fun.

Absolutely beautiful hike. We parked about a mile away (to avoid paying because we left wallets..oops) and so that added a little more than I would have liked. But it was beautiful and getting to the falls was so worth it! Wear good shoes! Your feet will thank you!!

About 2 miles in there is a private residence on the right side of the trail (near the park boundary). Folks residing there fired over 500 rounds of ammunition during my hike. Felt super unsafe as I can’t say if the shooter knew there were other people nearby. Turned around and won’t be back.

Great hike. A bit longer than advertised right now as you have to hike a mile or so from where you park on Aptos Creek Road (the non-paved portion was inaccessible by car, I think that opens up in the summer). Clocked it around 9 miles.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail really only makes sense as part of a longer loop. Nice little well-maintained single track, super duper easy, but it is neither dog or bike friendly so pretty pointless. The creek is on the other side of the fire road.

walking
4 months ago

A walk down a nice, flat, wide fire road through a beautiful second and third growth redwood and oak woodland. You’ll share this walk with lots of bike riders and other walkers. Dogs are allowed on leash, but I have let mine off on quiet days. There are lots of points where you can walk spurs down to the creek. Loma Prieta Grade is flat and and easy as well. Nice place to take your non-hiker friends for a good walk.

hiking
4 months ago

I think this (and Old Growth Loop) is one of the best loops in the park for kids/families/newbies to the park in general. You get the best creek crossing and a picnic table next to it to enjoy the area with lots of little loops and places for kids to explore. The hike itself is not too strenuous uphill and the old downed tree is really cool. You get a good sample of the foliage and scenery this park offers. Be careful with the creek crossing in the wet season. Rain boots are a good idea, especially now. The fall colors are beautiful and the forest smells amazing. (11/2018)

hiking
4 months ago

I think this (and Oak Ridge Loop) is one of the best loops in the park for kids/families/newbies to the park in general. You get the best creek crossing and a picnic table next to it to enjoy the area with lots of little loops and places for kids to explore. The hike itself is not too strenuous uphill and the old downed tree is really cool. You get a good sample of the foliage and scenery this park offers. Be careful with the creek crossing in the wet season. Rain boots are a good idea, especially now. The fall colors are beautiful and the forest smells amazing. (11/2018)

hiking
4 months ago

This little out and back could easily be made into a loop that is still doable for kids. Good section of forest with interesting scenery for such a short spur. Also, this is one of the best spots on the creek to hang out/play/explore for kids and dogs alike. There is a picnic table on the far side of the creek. Be very careful crossing the creek in the wet season, it can get very deep in places.

hiking
4 months ago

This is the easiest free or “back” entrance to the park, and it’s a nice little trail. Plenty of parking on Vienna/Danube/Wiltshire Dr. It connects to Terrace Trail which is a great little loop. I like to bring my dog this way so I can have her off leash and let her play in the creek, and avoid being seen by any park rangers.

hiking
4 months ago

I did this as a part of a longer loop around all of lower Nisene Marks. The elevation gain is not too intense on this part and you have a great creek crossing in the beginning, so I think it would be fun for kids/families. I see a lot of them by this part of the creek. My dog also loves splashing in the water. There is a picnic table on the far side of the creek. The water is already pretty deep after only the second rain of the season, so I could see it becoming impassable after heavy rains. The fall colors are very pretty now and the forest smells amazing!

hiking
5 months ago

A super easy and beautiful hike that winds along Aptos Creek under the shade of bay, oak, laurel, and redwood trees. Park at the Safeway and cross the street into the culdesac (the road that is straight ahead out of the shopping center lot) to walk straight down to the trailhead. You can access Aptos Creek Fire Rd. and lots of other trails in lower Nisene Marks via this route without paying to park.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful and easy hike!

Drive up the fire road until there is a gate blocking the road, and use that parking area to save a bit of walking. The falls is absolutely beautiful; keep going, you’ll know when you get there, as you can go no further. My dog really enjoyed playing in the creek and hiking the trails without worrying about bikers. The last mile to the falls is slightly more technical terrain, very fun. When I went in mid October the falls were strong enough to stand under and cool off for the return trek.

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