Explore the most popular hiking trails in The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

28 days 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.

29 days 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.

Beautiful, well maintained trails and a decent workout. My dog loves it too, especially since no bikes allowed on these trails. Nisene Marks holds a special place in my heart, it is just magical.

Great workout. This is a good loop to avoid the bikers and general traffic of Aptos Creek Fire Road on the way to Sand Point Overlook.

I always love West Ridge Trail, which is beautiful and well-maintained, but if you’re going to do this loop, you might as well take Bridge Creek Trail all the way to Maple Falls, it is worth the extra mile or two to have a highlight on the hike. There aren’t many viewpoints or good picture spots on this particular loop without adding in that spur.

Trail is slightly confusing or maybe I was confused but overall was an amazing hike. Definitely moderate, not easy and it’s fairly long but worth it. Scenery was absolutely stunning but there is lots of poison oak.

Loved this little trail! Didn't do much research beyond how far of a drive it was, trail distance and elevation gain so the stream crossing and solitude was a very pleasant surprise! Also met some really nice hikers and mountain bikers who came up the other side.

NOTE: there is little to no cell service here. I didn't take a screenshot of the map but fortunately my friend's phone worked. Personally the trail would have been a bit confusing for me without a map with all of the offshoots.

Will definitely come back to explore some of the other joining trails!

This park is just the best. Even on days when you don’t have very much time you can hike a few miles and feel secluded in a beautiful natural setting. If you have the time for an extra not even 2 miles—or if you drive in and park in the area by the last gate—the last push on Bridge Creek Trail to Maple Falls is absolutely worth it. Lots of creek crossings and some climbing over fallen trees makes for an exciting final leg, and the falls is flowing enough as of mid October to stand under and get refreshed for the trek back. I have been hiking with my dog here off leash for years and years and never once gotten in trouble or had a bad experience with other park users.

If you are hiking with young children, drive all the way to the top. There is a parking area there, and you will be as close as you can get to the Small Loop trailhead. Otherwise, you will be sharing the road with mountain bikers flying up and down, and also adding mileage to the hike, which will affect your kids’ threshold, if they are anything like mine! Otherwise, a nice, easy hike for kids.

Great trail. We decided to park at the Safeway and hike up through the residential neighborhood entrance way. We did the loop and got about 15 miles in. Lots of cool little spots to hang out. I didn’t come across much in the way of good photo spots. Keep your heads up for mountain bikers! We had some on Sunday but they were always very courteous and let us hikers safely go by.

I would recommend downloading the map. My friend and I went on a few paths off the regular trail. You get random service areas too (on Verizon). And even some areas would allow me to use GPS on this app and it could find me pretty well. Bring water too!

lovely redwood home with opportunities to branch to other trails if you want to keep going.

1 month ago

Decent. Love the pine aromas as you pass the stands of fir

Love it! Pup celebrated her 12th birthday up & back!

Loved this trail. Shaded, with shallow streams (in September) that you can cross by stepping on stones.
I talked to the guy at the Olive Springs Quarry across Olive Springs Road from the gate to Hinckley Basin Fire Road, and he told me that even though the signs say no trespassing, you can hike and bike there, but don’t block the gate with your car.

Hiked this yesterday with Sierra Club group. There was fog in the morning, which burned off, in the afternoon. There were a few nice vistas, the overlook at the top the most impressive, with 2 benches. Lots of poison oak but I had gaitors. One guy got stung by a wasp, which we were informed are active, this time of year. It was a strenuous hike, with gradual inclines. Bring at least 2 quarts of water, as there is none there. Many steep dropoffs along path make it somewhat dangerous. Moist, cool sea breezes made it comfortable. No good stopping points, other than at the top.

on Terrace Trail

2 months ago

Wanted nice views and to be able to take my dog. Followed the creek, did hit some fallen trees but nothing to crazy. If your dog likes to swim, it will love the creek. In the beginning there’s a part where the creek is pretty full and my dog just kept running in it.

Kept to the trail areas closest to temples. Love the area so much!

Great hike! Shaded, longish, good incline and dog friendly! My new favorite hike

It was worth it to get there early: get a good parking spot and beat the crowd to the falls! It was a lovely hike, and I was lucky enough to get a bit of solitude at the falls. There was a decent bit of water, even though it's been a while since the last rain. I'll definitely be coming back!

Great loop and a good challenge on the incline of you’re running. I go here regularly with my dog. If you don’t want to hike the full 6 miles you can go for a nice walk and turn around whenever you feel like. Trail goes along the creek and there’s no incline for the first mile.

Near the top is where the poison oak gets REALLY BAD, to the point where you can’t avoid even if you walk slowly and sideways. Wear pants/bring a long sleeve.

on Porter Trail

3 months ago

Some downed trees and 2 notices of active bee-yellow jacket nests. 2 easy stream crossings. Weeds encroaching on trail. Check for ticks!

the old railroad portion was beautiful!

The dirt road in was not rough at all. You do have to get there early as parking near the gate was almost full around 10:30am. From the parking lot, we walked straight to the gate where the trail begins. We took a wrong turn at the Porter House Site, veering down and to the right instead of staying left and continuing uphill on the Loma Prieta Grade. Thankfully, we ran into someone who brought their map that the ranger gives you at the park entrance (entrance fee is $8). We crossed the creek 12 times on the way in. The trail was a little muddy in a couple spots but it’s not bad. There were a few places where we had to scramble over rocks. The falls are about a mile past the Bridge Creek Historic Site. Definitely plan on getting into the water and under the falls—super refreshing even if it’s a little chilly!

All in all, we had a great time on the hike and it was a mostly shaded trail. Do bring bug spray as there are a decent number of mosquitos and watch out for poison oak.

Absolutely beautiful! Lots of rich lush foliage. Stays cool in the summer and plenty of shade for pleasant hiking. The array of birds and babbling creak provides a very peaceful atmosphere. Make sure to keep an eye out for poison oak.

Lots of poison oak. Thankfully I was warned how bad it was that I ended up turning around near the top of the hike. Couple of hikers who were wearing pants (I had shorts on) said it was so bad you can’t not help but brush up against it.

It was a beautiful and peaceful trail. Only issue, and probably my bad for not getting a map, is what should have been an easy 5.5-6 mile loop ended up being just over 9 miles. Yup not clearly marked and we went off the trail! My advice...make sure you get a map. Other then that will definitely do it again (with a map)

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